How SME’s should prepare for the holidays
By Mbo Luvindao
Bank Windhoek’s Emerging Small and Medium Enterprises (ESME) Finance Branch Manager.
As the festive season approaches, some businesses will close for the holidays. This time of year allows businesses to reflect on their achievements and the way forward but at the same time there needs to be continuity. The following five tips on business continuity for ESME’s during the festive season:
Communicate with your customers: It is still important for you as a small business to communicate your holiday schedule to your customers. Informing them about your closure and opening days, will avoid losing market share to your competitors.
Plan ahead: Planning allows you to think through all possible events that could take place in your business while you are on holiday. For example: What happens if there is a power shortage, the alarm is triggered or another type of emergency; who are your key staff members who will be able to respond to the challenges in a timely manner?
The new calendar year often requires that you pay attention to numerous operational matters. The end of the year can thus be used to plan for the following year to avoid any mishaps. Start off by updating your business plan with new information, market trends and strategies that will enable you to take advantage of opportunities and avoid, or minimize, threats in the New Year.
Honour your financial commitments: Even though business is slow, or you have closed for the holidays, you are still responsible for honouring you business’ monthly capital and interest payments to your bank and other creditors. Make sure that you have provided for these payments, or have made arrangements, before you go on holiday. This will avoid tarnishing your record with the bank or your suppliers since these relationship are vital to the success of your business.
Do not finance your holiday with debt: If you have not saved for your holidays, do not embark on one. It is not advisable to finance short term activities such as holidays with long term debt. This will put additional pressure on your personal and business cash flow in the new calendar year, making it difficult to operate your business effectively.
Rest: Allow your mind and body to rejuvenate. It will ensure that you start the New Year refreshed filled with new vibrant ideas on how to move your business forward.
Our goal is to see an increasing number of emerging, small and medium enterprises growing into sustainable businesses, creating new wealth and opportunities that benefit the Namibian economy. These tips can also assist to fulfil this purpose.