New Financial Year – Get your business on track


With April marking the financial year end for many firms, business owners have been looking forward and using the start of the new fiscal calendar as an opportunity to take stock and reset their focus. Darren Cottenden, RMD for Manchester based eCapital Commercial Finance provides his advice on the key areas to be focussed on to give businesses in the region, a kick start for the new year.

Revisit your business plan

It would be fair to say, business owners have had a lot to contend with in recent years from the pandemic, a lack of talented people, inflationary pressures, supply chain issues, rising interest rates and all set against a backdrop of continued uncertainty! But we all know that UK businesses are resilient and despite these ongoing challenges, we remain upbeat about the opportunities in front of us. The beginning of a new financial year is the perfect time to revisit your business plan – is it still relevant? Does it need to change? Are you capitalising on the areas of growth? Do you need to stop doing something and change direction? Whatever the answers, having a clear direction will help focus your actions.

Optimise the funding available

With operational expenses increasing, it is essential that your business has access to a flexible source of funding. Post pandemic, many firms will already have loans that have been utilised and are now in the process of being repaid which can cause additional strain on cashflow. Business owners need to look further afield once more at the range of funding options open to them to ensure they have the cashflow they need to meet new and ongoing liabilities whilst having the sufficient funds to invest in future growth.

Set realistic but challenging goals

Now is the time to make sure you know where you are and where you intend to be. Set your business goals so you and your team know what you are trying to achieve. These may be short term goals of up to 3 months, if your business is particularly feeling the impact of the current economic tailwinds but you may be able to consider a longer term, say 1-3 years, if your business has a surer footing and can continue to see a healthy supply of new business. Above all, make them realistic but challenging at the same time.

Focus on marketing

Engaging and retaining customers is your number one priority – making sure they know who you are, that your offering is competitive and making sure that they can find you, can ultimately make the difference between your business being a success or struggling to make an impact. Ask your customers if your product/solution continues to service their needs and what could you improve? What are your competitors doing that is different? Is your pricing competitive? Is your website up to date and fresh content added frequently which is helpful to your customers and adds value? Are you engaging customers on social media – make sure they are the right channels not just the ones you prefer to use? Use your databases to contact customers and tell them about special offers or new products.

Think digital

Businesses and consumers have increased their adoption of digital technology in recent years whether to purchase goods, communicate with colleagues and customers, or promoting their business online. You need to ensure your business is keeping pace with this change and are connecting with your customers in the way they want you to. Ask yourself if you can do more, what are your competitors doing on their websites or social media channels.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Communication is so vital and none more so than over the past few years. Businesses and consumers alike have been through extremely tough times, and they continue with the impact of rising inflation on the cost of living, household budgets and the ripple effects across the wider economy. Showing empathy towards our customers, suppliers and employees and keeping lines of communication open so they know what you are doing and that you are considering their needs, will help build mutually beneficial relationships.

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