By Alexis Bradbury, AD:VENTURE Survive & Thrive consultant and marketing agency owner
Recently released figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 1 in 10 businesses feel they are at moderate risk of insolvency as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, whilst 4 out of 10 claim they have less than 6 months cash reserves.
These stark figures highlight just how important finance is to any business’s success, and that is why we have put this topic second only to planning on our list of our Survive & Thrive programme of events.
For many years, advisers have often talked about having 3 months cash in reserve, with any more than that being seen as unnecessarily cautious, and possibly even tying up valuable funds that could be used elsewhere – for purchasing stock, machinery, or investing in new people for instance.
However, the events of 2020 could well cause a rethink of this perceived wisdom, and at least makes us stop and consider what we would personally feel comfortable having as a buffer.
To some extent this could well come down to the type of business you run and the sectors you operate in. For low overhead businesses that can be agile and flexible with their business model and personnel, perhaps those who use sub-contractors or freelance support, and who are not tied to premises on long leases, 3 months might well be sufficient.
However, for organisations with longer leases, repayment plans on equipment, and large numbers of staff on the books, this simply might not give them the comfort blanket they need.
So, what about our own experience and view?
As a result of lessons learned over the 21 years we’ve been in business, which has seen us navigate a few recessions and setbacks, for our marketing and design agency we’ve tried to give ourselves a 12 month cushion, reasoning that this means we don’t have to worry about month to month shortfalls, and should mean that we can survive a typical downturn without having to do more than keep a sharp eye on expenditure and reduce costs where possible.
Obviously this does tie up quite a bit of money that could be used in other ways. We’re quite cautious though, and like to sleep soundly at night.
Perhaps it’s a view that might gain a bit more traction after recent events?
SOME HELPFUL RESOURCE
Alexis and the team will be providing regular blogs and helpful resources as part of Survive and Thrive delivery.
Here are some top tips that will help you with your finance management.