Evaluating Business Finances 

Evaluating Business Finances

SME Strategies to Help Thrive in Today’s Economy

As inflation presents ongoing challenges, small businesses have the opportunity to adapt and thrive by taking a proactive approach to enhancing operational efficiency and innovation. Rising costs prompt a strategic focus on ensuring sustainability and resilience, and by proactively adjusting their approaches, businesses can navigate economic fluctuations with resilience. 

While the latest Consumer Price Index data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows signs of inflation tempering, major inputs for small businesses have experienced increases. In the last 12 months, cost for insurance and financial services rose more than 8 per cent, while electricity prices increased 15 per cent. Rent prices rose more than 7 per cent, indicating a tight rental market and low vacancy rates across the country  


Evaluating Business Finances

Effectively managing your small business finances amid rising costs requires thoroughly analysing your financial reports to understand how inflation affects your revenue and expenses. This begins with maintaining good bookkeeping habits and ensuring that your financial reports are detailed and accurate. 

There are 3 major financial statements to understand:

  1. Profit and Loss Statement: This statement details profitability over set periods like monthly or annually, showing revenue from primary and secondary sources, and all operational expenses. 

  2. Balance Sheet: A snapshot of the business’s financial stability at a given time, listing all assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity to demonstrate how resources are balanced. 

  3. Cash Flow Statement: Tracks liquidity by reporting cash inflows and outflows from operations, investments, and financing, crucial for assessing cash availability for business needs. 


Improving Your Bottom Line

To try to enhance revenue, you may consider a mix of strategies that leverage both new and existing channels:  

  • Expand Online Presence: Use social media platforms to engage with new demographics and increase visibility. 
  • Marketing Expansion: Extend marketing efforts beyond your local area through digital campaigns or partnerships with businesses in other regions. 
  • Promotions and Discounts: Introduce time-limited discounts, loyalty programs, or special offers to attract new customers and encourage repeat business. 
  • Market Research: Conduct detailed market research to identify unexplored or under-served markets for potential expansion. 
  • Product and Service Diversification: Explore adding new products or services that meet the evolving needs or interests of your target market. 


Lowering expenses may also improve your bottom line without compromising the quality of your offerings: 

  • Renegotiate Contracts: Review and renegotiate terms with suppliers and service providers to try to obtain better pricing or payment terms. 
  • Switch Suppliers: Consider changing suppliers or service providers if more cost-effective options are available that maintain the desired quality level. 
  • Eliminate Non-Essential Spending: Audit current expenses to identify and eliminate non-essential spending. 
  • Employee Training: Invest in training employees to enhance productivity and reduce costs related to inefficiencies or errors. 


Implementing these strategies requires careful planning and monitoring to ensure that efforts to boost revenue or cut costs align with long-term business goals and sustain or enhance customer and employee satisfaction.


Adjusting Pricing Strategies

Adjusting your pricing strategy is also a key lever that may improve your business’s financials. However, it requires tact and planning to maintain customer loyalty. Effective strategies include tailoring price increases to customer segments based on their sensitivity or emphasising added value through improved service or product enhancements that can justify adjustments.

Maintaining transparent communication with customers about why prices are changing is important to preserve trust and loyalty.


Building a Resilient Business Model 

Ultimately, a resilient business model is essential for small businesses to deal with economic volatility. Some key strategies include: 

  • Flexible Business Practices: Regularly review and adjust business operations to respond quickly to market changes. 
  • Contingency Planning: Identify potential risks and develop specific action plans for each scenario. Regularly update contingency plans to reflect new information and evolving conditions. 
  • Financial Planning and Cash Reserves: Create a detailed budget that includes provisions for unexpected expenses. Build and maintain an emergency fund that covers at least 3-6 months of operating expenses. 
  • Effective Cash Flow Management: Implement strict credit control policies to ensure timely payments from customers. Schedule outflows strategically to maintain liquidity without compromising on essential expenditures. 
  • Local Supply Chain Access: Develop relationships with local suppliers to ensure more reliable and quicker access to necessary materials. Evaluate multiple supply options to avoid dependency on a single source. 
  • Strategic Outsourcing: Identify non-core functions that can be outsourced to reduce costs and improve efficiency. Choose outsourcing partners carefully to ensure they align with your quality standards and business ethos. 

By putting these strategies into practice, small businesses may be able to enhance their resilience, better manage risks, and position themselves for sustainable growth.