It’s safe to say that 2016 was a bit of a mixed bag. From Donald Trump’s shock US election win, and the subsequent hit to the Rand, to the Springboks’ worst year ever. 2016 had its fair share of upsets — it’s even merited its own meme.
In South Africa though, the outlook for 2017 is cautiously optimistic. The Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is even projecting GDP growth of 1.3%. Small businesses will play a vital part in this recovery. It’s essential they’re prepared for the coming year, whatever it brings.
Fortunately, there are encouraging signs. According to research from Xero and World Wide Worx, 58% of small business owners expect to grow in 2017, and half intend to grow sales. Here are three tips to help you successfully weather 2017, and ensure that nothing stands in the way of your success.
Review your business plan
The most profitable businesses plan ahead. They define their targets, they pursue them relentlessly, and they regularly monitor their progress. But they also remain flexible enough to change direction if necessary.
If you’re looking to start 2017 on the right foot, it’s vital to create a clear plan for your company’s growth. This plan should contain defined goals and milestones. Your plan should also have enough room to account for unforeseen variables and changing circumstances.
Update budget and cash flow forecasts
Establishing a budget before the new year gets underway is an essential strategic move. Knowing where your resources are and how to allocate them will give you a considerable advantage. Without solid budget forecasts in place, it’s easy to just throw money at problems as they arise, and inevitably wasting it in the process. Plan ahead and you can avoid this.
If you have forecasts in place already, it’s a simple matter of updating them using insights and data compiled in the previous months. Whatever you do, stay on top of it. A healthy cash flow can make the difference between weathering unforeseen events and being swept away by them.
Make sure you’re ready for the tax year end
Finally, while the calendar year may be over, you’ve got a little while before the end of South Africa’s tax year on February 28th. There’s a fair bit of work involved in getting up to speed. However, if you take care of it in advance, you can save yourself and your business a great deal of frustration.
Firstly, confirm your tax deadlines and determine whether or not you’ll need an extension. Then, check your cash reports to find out how much cash you have in hand. You’ll also want to pay all vendors and contractors in full before the end of the period. Review past and present payroll information, withhold the required tax from your employee bonus payments, and use cloud accounting software to gain accurate estimates of how much you’ll need to pay. It may also be worth consulting an expert accountant or bookkeeper to see if there’s any way to mitigate your tax payments and avoid any compliance issues.
These aren’t the only steps, but they’re a good start. Xero’s year-end checklist will walk you through the rest. As you take your business into 2017, be positive, prepared, and forward-thinking and you won’t go far wrong.
Guest post by Marnus Broodryk, Shark Tank SA investor and CEO of The Beancounter – a Xero Gold Partner.