Thankfully 2021 is nearing an end! My personal and professional wish for 2022 is that we don’t live in unprecedented times and that small business can get back to doing what they do best, serving their communities without the constant threat of lockdown or changing regulations. But we’ll still need to plan and be ready just in case.
The New Year will see a very changed business landscape. Some businesses that struggled through multiple lockdowns won’t recover at all whereas other businesses that changed their model may leave old revenue streams altogether and concentrate on their new ones.
With the borders still closed and working visas tightly held, there is a smaller pool of labour available across all sectors, which will see the costs to find and retain staff go up significantly. We are also hearing about ‘The Great Resignation’ that reports 40 per cent of the workforce are preparing to resign shifting the balance of power from employers to employees.
The demand for short term lending, and particularly from newer fintech lenders, is high and only expected to rise over 2022 as people are looking for working capital options to fund themselves either in their recovery or to grow their new and diverse revenue streams.
So how can you nail it?
Plan, plan plan! Make sure you review all the COVID safe and keep on top of regulations even as we ease into our freedom. Always be ready in case of future lockdowns. Take your learnings from this year into a best practice model that can be rolled out anytime.
Look after your team
Make sure you’re engaging your team (especially in the hospitality space) and are meeting market rates for pay. Rumour has it the large entertainment groups are scouting new staff and luring them away with pay rises. As the state and international borders open, working holiday visa holders will become crucial sources of labour for our work force. Make sure you know how to recruit in this space and manage the visa paperwork.
Make cashflow forecasting your priority
Work with your accountant, bookkeeper to financial advisor to audit your cashflow history and plan ahead. Check out if you have legacy debt from this year, for example rent that wasn’t paid during shutdown or ATO bills that you need to cover? Are you maximising your revenue capabilities with the restrictions? Will you need to increase your hourly pay to keep staff? Did you lose all your stock in 2021?
If you rent or own an office space, what are you planning to do with that. Is your team happy to return on a full time or part time basis or not at all? And how do you balance the risk and reward of cutting rental overheads with a fully remote team? What does that mean for collaboration and team culture?
Look at funding options in advance of needing them
Working capital is key to your business operating and if you can put something in place for example a line of credit before you need it then you will have a better chance of getting it approved in a timely manner.
Get better systems in place
If you have the time, review your systems for example booking systems; rostering etc and make the jump to something more functional if you need it. This will give your customers a better experience from the start of their journey with you and for staff, make it easy for them to see when they are working or not from their smart phone.
It’s been a tough year so with a little planning you can make things easier in 2022 for you, your staff, your clients, and customers.