Bank Windhoek’s Manager at the Emerging, Small and Medium Enterprises Branch, Mbo Luvindao, offers the following tips to SMEs that will ensure that they are able to continue operating effectively after the festive season.
1. Communicate with your clients
Though most people are on holiday, it is still important for small businesses to communicate their holiday schedule to their customers. Notify them of when you will close and when you will re-open your business. This will avoid you losing market share to your competitors.
2. Ensure that you plan ahead
The process of 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 who will be in the immediate vicinity that can be called on to deal with such challenges?
The new calendar year often starts off very abruptly and requires that you pay attention to numerous operational matters. This leaves entrepreneurs with very little time to strategise. The end of the year can also be used to plan for the New Year. Update 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.
3. Make provision for any loans or interest that must be paid while you are on holiday
Even though business is slow or you have closed for the holidays, you are still responsible for honouring your 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. Remember; you will start operating your business again in the New Year and these relationships are vital to the success of any business.
4. Do not finance your holiday with debt
If you have not saved for your holidays, do not go on extravagant family outings. 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.
If you are taking time off during the holidays; rest and allow your mind and body to rejuvenate. It will ensure that you start the New Year refreshed, with new vibrant ideas on how to move your business forward.