Ask the Experts: Merx Business Finance Series

Working with a trusted finance expert – be that an accountant or financial consultant or other – plays a crucial role in business success.
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These experts work with a large range of businesses of different sizes, industries and models, and have a wealth of knowledge to share.

Recently, we asked a few of our trusted colleagues for a few top-tips that they believe would be of value for business owners. Here are the first in a series of tips we’ll be running over the coming weeks.

Top-tip: “Lending conditions change due to the appetite of funders and economic conditions. Business owners need to understand the current environment and be realistic about their business proposition.”

Merx comment: So true. Change is constant and small to medium businesses can be more vulnerable – be that to credit availability, market conditions, competitor actions, personnel needs etc. Getting into a rhythm of reviewing a business from the ‘helicopter perspective’ and in view of all market and internal factors is a sound strategy not only for preservation, but for achieving growth.  

Top-tip: “Cash flow is everything: the air that your business breaths – without oxygen you are finished. Strive to work on the business rather than in it (easier said than done) and understand the business: what the USP is, what the breakeven is, what the market is, and what the impediments are. This coupled with a sound financial plan, with sensitivity analysis built in, is critical.”

Merx comment: Sound words. Don’t let the all too human-emotion of ‘wishful thinking’ ever play a role in cash flow or business planning. Having a robust understanding of the value your business offers and to whom; what it really costs to deliver your value; what you need for contingency; and projected risks to your operational ability, is the absolute minimum level of visibility a business needs at their fingertips.

Top-tip: “Appreciate diverse thinking and feedback: What are other ways of doing things and how can I do things better.” 

Merx comment: We see the positive impact of this all the time – a client has had a conversation with, for example, their accountant or another expert, and there’s a ‘wow’ moment where a new approach or even just a tweak to a process makes a huge difference. And that difference could be in terms of efficiency, work-life-balance, the bottom line or other. In our experience, constantly seeking thoughts on how things could be done differently, is one of the key skills common to many successful business people. 

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