By Maxime Croll, Sr. Director at ValuePenguin
Is your business in good shape for the upcoming year? If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve probably contemplated this question more than once as 2022 comes to an end. And you’re right to do so: Between the daily challenges of entrepreneurship and a potential recession to plan for, “New year, new you” can feel like a challenging mindset to take into 2023.
But none of those obstacles are insurmountable, especially if you set the right goals and keep a healthy mindset. As the global economy heads toward a possible recession, businesses around the world are readjusting their financial strategies for the upcoming year. Here are a few strategies that can help you enter 2023 with confidence.
Increase Your Emergency Fund
Just like you’ve probably done for your personal finances, it’s a good idea to build up your cash buffer for business emergencies. Is it likely that your rent rate might go up next year? Save for that possibility. Will you need to hire more employees or pay them more in the coming year? Stash away what you can to prepare.
As women, we face unique challenges in society that unfortunately still fall on our shoulders the majority of the time. If you’re a parent of a young child, you’re probably all-too-familiar with the dreaded daycare notification that your child will need to stay out of school for the next few days or weeks due to another disease outbreak. Or you may need to curtail your operation hours to accommodate changes in school pickup times or to help out a family member.
Regardless of the reason, keeping some funds aside for a rainy day will make these operational interruptions a little less stressful. Not sure where to find some extra money to save from the budget? The next idea can help you cut costs right now without breaking the bank.
If You Haven’t Already, Go Paperless
Offer your customer email receipts instead of printed copies, and keep digital records of all of your transactions and important documents instead of printing them out on paper.
Not only will you save on paper and storage costs, you’ll also have the peace of mind that you have access to any document you need, anytime you need it—and from anywhere in the world, should you become successful enough to run your business from a beach in Fiji.
Just make sure you implement an efficient naming and filing system that will help you or your employees find what you need; date-name-category-brief description is a format that’s worked well for many small business entrepreneurs.
Plan Ahead for Inflation
Everything costs more these days, but you may not want to pass those costs along to your customers. If your specific industry hasn’t yet been hit by steep price hikes, consider stockpiling supplies or inventories that you may need.
If you need to take out a business loan, look for opportunities geared toward women and consider all of your options. For instance, opening a new credit card with an introductory offer of 0% APR interest can help you avoid interest payments that start immediately on a traditional loan.
Alternatively, take a hard look at your operations to see where you can minimize expenses. Can you combine deliveries, or streamline workflows to eliminate unnecessary overhead? Do you have any manufacturers or wholesale suppliers that would be willing to negotiate their rates with you?
Analyze Your Margins
The last bullet point flows nicely into this next suggestion: When analyzing your margins, take a look at redundant or repetitive tasks that you could streamline into a single action.
Do all of your transactions take place in one application, but your accounting goes through another system? See if you can find a way to connect the two.
Have you checked your monthly expenses and do you know what every line item is costing you? If your Internet bill has gone up by $50 per month over the past year, take some time to call your service provider to ask about the increase (or have an employee do so on your behalf). You may qualify for a discount, or be able to add on additional benefits or services in exchange for that rate hike.
Alternatively, another way to boost your bottom line is by raising your product or service prices to meet your increased hourly costs. This may feel scary, but many of your customers may already be anticipating an increase, just as you are preparing for your 2023 financial goals right now.
The right clients will understand and see the value in what you have to offer, and the ones who quibble over pennies will drop off, freeing you to pursue new customers or expand your business in other ways.
Make Sure Your Business and Personal Finances Are Completely Separate
This last point should go without saying, but it’s imperative to keep your business and personal finances separate, in the very worst-case scenario that your company goes under and your debtors leverage your personal assets to recoup their losses. This should be simple with the help of business specific credit cards and bank accounts.
Invest in the Future of Your Business
If you already know that 2023 will be a slow year for your company, try reframing your perspective: This is the perfect time to expand, invest, re-evaluate or pivot.
Have you been thinking of investing in education or training for yourself or your employees? Do it in the upcoming year, and ask your accountant if tuition costs count as a write-off.
Considering a new business concept or strategy? Try it out in 2023, and ask your best customers for feedback on what worked and what didn’t.
Hoping to purchase a storefront? Interest rates may be higher than you’re used to, but that also means real estate prices are a lot more negotiable than they have been for the last few years. Get with an experienced commercial realtor and a lender that’s friendly toward small businesses to discuss your options. Chances are, you may have a lot more opportunity at your fingertips than you think.
About the Author…
Maxime is a Sr. Director at ValuePenguin focusing on the insurance industry. Previously, she was the director of product marketing at CoverWallet, a commercial insurance startup, and helped launch NerdWallet’s personal insurance business. Maxime has contributed insurance and business insights to Forbes, USA Today, The Hill and many other publications.