The Holiday Hustle: Take control of your business's cash flow this festive season
Johannesburg - As most South Africans prepare to unwind and take a break over the festive season, the country’s entrepreneurs - hardworking as ever - are getting ready to ramp up, unlocking reserves of inner strength, as they urgently prepare for the year’s final push.
For many SMEs, the festive season is the busiest, and most difficult, but also the most prosperous time of the year. It’s effectively the launch pad to start off strong in 2024.
A key survival strategy is to rapidly adopt the latest tech tools, to save both time and money across the board. The world of tech has advanced at a phenomenal pace this year in several key areas, including generative AI, AR / VR and Datalytics. As a business owner, you need to stay ahead of the curve.
Now’s the time to use all the tools at your disposal if they help drive better business outcomes. Prioritise updating your digital arsenal as we head into the holidays. Get to know the latest tech-enabled best practices when it comes to financial management, advertising, communications, security, and overall operational efficiency. Work smartly with a financial partner who can give you the capital and breathing room to fortify your business against stock delays, late customer payments, and any other unforeseen expenses, throughout the end-of-year period.
It kicks off with Black Friday, which has been growing in significance as a revenue driver every year since COVID, with the majority of participating spenders in the 18 – 34-year-old age group.
What does this mean for you, the everyday South African entrepreneur?
“It means that right now there’s an opportunity to augment your current offerings, and better cater to this key market when it’s hungriest and most active. Furthermore, you can capture their attention by adapting to how the younger generations like to shop. For example, now is an optimal time to polish up your mobile store’s UX; revamp your website; run a time-limited Black Friday landing page with a special discount offer; or plan an amazing social media campaign,” says Tom Stuart, chief marketing officer at Lula.
Ensure that you have enough stock and operational supplies to withstand the onslaught of Black Friday and holiday gift-giving. That’s the first step to capitalising on the November and December consumer rush. Now’s an ideal time to take advantage of discounted bulk buys:
You can ensure you have adequate stock on hand to cash in on the year-end rush and get better profit margins. Be proactive about this, and act swiftly as some suppliers’ discount specials might come to an end, or – even worse – their products get price-spiked to balance against massive seasonal demand.
Also, some suppliers may be planning year-end closures of their own that you’d need to work around.
“A business credit provider can get you the capital you need to stock up before it’s too late. Inventory, stock, or equipment financing will let you keep the shop floor full and looking its best throughout the busy time, even if the business doesn't have sufficient cash reserves of its own. Unlike traditional banks, today’s business credit partners are nimble enough to get you funded quickly, often getting the capital into your business current account the very same day you apply,” says Stuart.
Plan smartly for 2024 and balance the need to cash in over the holiday rush with your long- and mid-term business goals. Don't just go all-in hoping to make a quick buck over December. Don't postpone large expenses for business essentials. But weigh your options carefully, and only invest in things that you really think are going to maximise your profits.
That brings us to the importance of tracking your business’s cash flows smartly over the crazy season. Innovative new digital tools solve this problem in a way that’s specifically catered to SMEs’ specific needs. Business cash flow management apps that are integrated with your other financial services present a great way to keep an eye on things.
These apps put the real-time birds-eye overview of your business’ cash flow right in your hands, giving you the insights you need to stay on your toes and make smart business decisions amidst the chaos of the silly season.
“As the curtain closes on a tumultuous 2023, SA’s SMEs must gear up swiftly, and steel themselves for a possible bumper end-of-year period, a time of both challenges and hard work, but also an opportunity for genuine growth,” says Stuart.