The holidays are a stressful time for businesses. While some are fighting their way through a holiday rush, others try to keep revenues flowing and costs covered through a slowdown as clients and employees go on holiday. For business owners, though, that isn’t everything. Employees face serious stress of their own, as they attempt to manage their finances, holiday plans, and work and family obligations.
Maintaining steady cash flow is a difficult job, especially for businesses who are still relatively small. Sooner or later, businesses inevitably find themselves short on funds. To deal with this, business owners often turn to loans. Choosing the right kind of loan, however, is a crucial issue that might get less experienced business owners into trouble. Not all loans are created equal, because they’re not all meant for the same kind of cash flow problem. Moreover, businesses can’t always qualify for a loan, which can make things difficult right when the stakes are highest.
Late payment times have plagued small businesses for decades, with many experiencing serious cash flow difficulties as a result of unfair 60 or 90 day payment terms. In recent years, the problem has caught the attention of the government. The ASBFEO has conducted an inquiry into the issue, and made a number of recommendations to deal with the problem. The federal government, some state governments, and a few major corporations have greatly improved their payment times as a result, but the overall outcome for small businesses has been somewhat lackluster thus far.
Businesses all over the world steadily grow and try to compete against each other every day. While taking the slow and steady approach is certainly viable, it’s not what most entrepreneurs set out to do when they first launch their operations. Entrepreneurs typically understand the value of taking calculated risks, and of making an impact. Rather than simply surviving, they dream of disruption; of building a business that seemingly comes out of nowhere to permanently change an entire industry, and to leave its mark on society.
Mental health issues like depression and anxiety can have far reaching consequences for a business’ productivity, its ability to innovate, and its competitiveness. Dr Tyler Amell of CoreHealth Technologies, speaking recently at the 2018 Australian Rehabilitation Providers Association (ARPA), stressed that mental health issues have big implications for a business’ bottom line. Poor mental health can increase absenteeism and employee turnover, and reduce productivity.
The holidays are a critical time for businesses of all kinds. Retail businesses in particular often rely on the holidays for a considerable portion of their annual revenue. Businesses in industries that aren’t associated with the holidays, on the other hand, might experience a sharp drop in revenue as employees and clients go on holiday, and just as holiday bonuses need to be paid out.
In Australia and around the world, phoenix companies are a persistent problem that has proven to be a particular threat to small and medium sized enterprises. While the government has repeatedly taken steps to crack down on the issue, those new checks have done relatively little to slow phoenix operators. Small businesses, who typically find themselves most frequently victimised by non-paying phoenix companies, have little ability to fight back. The revenues lost to phoenixing can slow their growth, or cause more serious problems, which is bad for the Australian economy as a whole.
In order to grow, new businesses need more than just an innovative idea and sufficient funds to get it off the ground. Growth and success are built on trust relationships, and the most successful entrepreneurs are ultimately those who build and maintain those relationships best. This is true in every relationship a business has, including those with employees, suppliers, customers, and ultimately investors.
At the age of 33, and with an estimated net worth of $2.3 million USD, Kathryn Minshew, the founder and CEO of career portal The Muse, doesn’t fit the profile of big Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Rather, her career resonates with the experience of many young entrepreneurs today, and offers us unique insights that we can apply in our own businesses.
Entrepreneurs are inherently risk takers. They know that successfully creating a new business, standing out in a competitive industry, and eventually growing to prominence all depend on finding ways to stand out, and to provide new and innovative solutions to customers. It’s not a simple endeavour, of course, to leverage this knowledge to reach entrepreneurial success. Developing those solutions requires research, experimentation, and time. Innovative businesses need innovative employees, expertise, and the resources to test and implement new ideas. All of these things cost money that many businesses don’t have to spare unless that investment produces returns within a reasonable timeframe.