How to Bring Your Business Out of a Financial Dip

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Get your start-up back on the right track.

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Like anything worth doing (kids, travel, Saturday brunch), businesses have a whole heap of costs you might not have anticipated when saying ‘yes!’ to taking the leap. But once that momentum starts, it’s hard to stop. And while you should definitely keep plugging away if your venture is heading in the right direction, your finances might not always follow. If you’ve been chugging along happily only to realise that your bottom line took a break back around the corner, here are a few ways you can drum up a little financial fitness:

Crowdfund your next venture

If you’re not sure what your next source of income will be, why not test interest in your product (and get money upfront) with a crowdfunding venture?

Not only do you have to provide the product or service until after the project is finished, which is a time that you set, you’re actively testing the market (free customer research!).

Hold a pop-up shop

If you’re in the business of providing a product, a pop-up shop for one day or weekend can generate some serious energy around your brand. For YEVU Clothing, for example, founder Anna Robertson’s rare pop-up stores were popular, stock would be sold out by end of day. Let all your customers know through social media channels, give them a healthy incentive to buy more (a 10 per cent discount on multiple buys) and you’re off – the only costs will be your time, the one-off fee for the space and, if you want to enable quick convenient payments, the cost of a reasonably priced Square reader.

Talk to your suppliers

For perfume entrepreneur Laura Slatkin (whose company Slatkin & Co. which she owned with husband Harry at its height, made an estimated US$20 million in sales in 2005), when she wasn’t sure she was going to be able to pay her bills on time, she kept them in the loop straightaway.

“I’d have to call the vendor and say, ‘OK, I need to buy, like, $100,000 worth of holiday oil from you now’… and we’re not getting paid by our stores until November, December,” she told Collective Hub. “So, I would make up these little payment plans and I would stick to my payment plans, like, ‘I’ll give you $1,000 in June and $1,000 in July… They all trusted me because I communicated with them. If I couldn’t make my payment, I would call them and say, ‘I can’t make it this [time]’. That’s how we did it.”

Be honest with your suppliers about when you can make a payment, and stick to it. If not, let them know – you’ll need their support.

Know what you need

Do you even know where your company is going wrong financially? It might be time to get back to basics. Check out the helpful resources at the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science to strip back all must-haves for your small business – this collection of checklists is particularly helpful.

Downsize cleverly

Do you need to pay for a co-working space right now, or would the library do for the next few months? You may find, once you look closely, that there a few things you can go without. While a fridge stocked with a supply of soft drinks and a pantry full of chocolate bars might seem like much appreciated start-up perk to offer, opt for something that provides more mileage for body and brain (such as a yogurt-based Chobani Mezé Dips and some carrot sticks).

“When in doubt, go without,” is a mantra from recruiting and HR exec Chris Hoyt that perfectly suits any business thinking lean when it comes to their operating costs. Consider all aspects of your business, and if you’re not sure, get rid of it. You’ll soon discover how easy it is to do business without that efficient (NB: expensive) phone system.

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