A NOTE FROM ANGELA
2017 is already shaping up to be a great year for business!
The NAB Business confidence index in Australia jumped to 10 in January of 2017 from 6 in the prior month, which is the highest reading since February 2014, and employment rates have increased to their highest level since 2011.
With conditions like this, it’s easy to get complacent. Smart businesses will ‘make hay while the sun shines’ and keep one eye on the future to ensure the money will keep rolling in if conditions change for the worse.
Innovation is a bit of buzzword but it’s something we’re passionate about here at Optimum Recoveries. We’re constantly innovating and re-shaping our service offer for our clients to ensure we’re giving you the best possible service, advice, and products.
Speaking of which, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be presenting at the next DEPOT [x] event in Brisbane on 5 April, where I’ll also be launching an exciting new product we’ve been working on for you. I don’t want to give too much away; let’s just say it’s a practical guide to help keep the engine in your business running, and avoid debt pot holes, cashflow speed humps, and unpaid invoice detours. There’s a link to register for the DEPOT [x] event in this issue of our newsletter. I hope to see you there!
In this issue, we also give you a cashflow check-in; you can read about the pros and cons of electronic signatures, and we discuss the importance of attention to detail.
I hope 2017 proves to be another great year for your business.
HOW’S YOUR CASHFLOW TRACKING?
Cashflow: it’s a term that is synonymous with running a small business in Australia.
The Commonwealth Bank recently asked 500 small business owners about their approach to and take-up of technology. Interestingly, the findings of their research show that other business stresses like cashflow are getting in the way of technological progress in small businesses.
Cashflow is still the number one thing keeping us up at night; after all, poor cashflow is one of the main reasons small businesses fail.
Commbank’s survey showed almost 1 in 3 respondents used funds from their own accounts while more than 40% use credit cards “as their primary tool to manage cash flow, working capital and business investment”.
Even more concerning: MYOB’s research which found many small business owners say they will never have enough cash to retire.
According to Tim Reed from MYOB: “Being a small business owner means contending with multiple challenges to the financial health of your enterprise. SMEs are often forced to wait months for payment, resulting in cash flow problems. This lack of cash can then impact the owner’s ability to pay their own super, as well as other pressing payments such as wages and rent.”
The best way to make sure you have enough cash available in your business is to do a cashflow projection. Done properly, it will enable you to:
- see your likely cash position at any time
- identify any fluctuations that may lead to potential cash shortages
- plan for your tax payments and major expenses
- provide lenders with additional information.
Not sure where to start with your cashflow forecast? Business.gov.au have a free template you can use.
Another easy way to check how your business is going is to check the small business benchmarks, published by the ATO. The benchmarks are a guide to help you compare your business’s performance against similar businesses in the same industry, and are available for more than 100 industries. They even have a business performance check tool in their smartphone app that uses the benchmarks and compares the data entered to quickly calculate how your business compares to your competitors.
If a lack of budgeting skills is cramping your cashflow, a financial adviser might be good option, too. Speaking of which, there’s a great event coming up for Brisbane-based businesses. Hosted by Cara Brett from Bounce Financial, the Money Night is a casual night where a small group of people get together and work out their individual budgets. The next one’s coming up on 12 April, at Teneriffe. Register online now!
Still stressed? Don’t be. We’re here to help! No matter what state your cashflow forecast is in, we can expertly review it and ensure you not only have sufficient funds to run your business, but also to enjoy your life outside work.
DEPOT [X] – SAVE THE DATE
Heard about DEPOT [x] events? They are informal nights hosted by the innovative and clever people at Business Depot.
Business Depot are a full-service business advisory firm on a mission to help passionate individuals and businesses reach their potential.
We’re all about continuous improvement and positive energy at Optimum Recoveries, which is why our partnership with Business Depot makes perfect sense!
The DEPOT [x] events are all about meeting like-minded business professionals who share a passion for collaboration and innovation in business and entrepreneurship, to connect, build their business relationships and expand their network.
Our Managing Director Angela has been asked to come along and share her debt management expertise at the next event in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley on Wednesday 5 April.
Angela’s presentation will be called Cash flow speed humps and unpaid invoice detours and we’ll also be launching a brand-new guide to debt collection on the night.
Kerryn Fewster from Change2020 and Ben Schofield from Reload Media
will also be presenting on the night, so it’s shaping up to be an informative, varied, and interesting night!
Don’t miss out on your ticket, register now! I hope to see you there!
‘CLICK HERE’ TO SIGN!
By our ‘legal eagle’ Craig Mason fromStreten Masons Lawyers
Electronic signatures on contracts and legal documents are becoming more commonplace in commerce in Australia, however the risks may outweigh the reward in some circumstances. Due to the nature of an electronic signature there is an increased risk of fraud and dishonesty.
Particularly in the real estate sector, the use of electronic signatures is quite prevalent. However, in most states in Australia a ‘wet’ signature is still required on the actual transfer document transferring a property and for some stamp duty related forms.
Trade credit businesses rely on a signature from customers in accepting terms and conditions but in particular on personal guarantees. If it cannot be established that the signature was applied by the guarantor or with their authority, the guarantee may not be enforceable and the creditor will have lost the option of recovering from the individual should the customer company default under the agreement.
A number of recent cases have dealt with the issue of the alleged guarantor arguing that the signature was not placed on the document by them or without their knowledge. The creditor must then establish either that:
- the guarantor did apply the electronic signature,
- the electronic signature was applied with their knowledge, or
- that the guarantor became aware the electronic signature was applied and they continued to trade upon the credit account.
There are some simple steps you can take to reduce the risks:
- obtaining the original documents,
- verifying the identity of the guarantor,
- sending confirmation to all parties including guarantors (personally) of the existence (and reliance on) of the guarantee and keeping records of events or conduct where it is clear the guarantor is aware of the signed guarantee.
So before you ‘click to sign’, contact us to arrange for a review of your process in accepting personal guarantees to ensure you are protected going forward.
IS ATTENTION TO DETAIL OUTDATED?
By Celia Newlands from Central Business Associates
I’m currently writing procedures for a programme I am rolling out this year, giving micro and small businesses access to critical services such as web design, marketing, graphic design, customer service and administration, at an affordable cost. The specialists charge a lower rate as they won’t have to go out and source the work, and we have standardised the basic services, so it is less time-consuming and complex for everyone involved.
During my research, I found myself looking at so many different micro and small business websites, marketing materials, and social media profiles, to establish what help is most needed. What did I find?
I found some common themes, which confirmed for me the main areas that we could help using our new services. However, one of the issues which came out on top surprised me – numerous basic spelling and grammatical errors….. Now I know that mistakes happen, and I know that we are constantly being told that “it’s more important to get stuff out there than wait for it to be perfect“, but I was genuinely quite shocked at the number and types of errors I was coming across – on and offline presence. I’m sorry to say that I found myself writing these brands off in my mind immediately, before I remembered why I was there – to help them!
Now, don’t get me wrong – of course I make mistakes sometimes (I’m sure the grammatical fanatics amongst you will likely go to town on my article in fact!) I’m comfortable to say that I know I make mistakes – but I fix them when I find them, and I hope people would tell me about them, so I can fix them. I also get someone to check the important stuff before it goes out/gets printed. I know how detrimental these seemingly small mistakes can be to the reputation of the person who runs or owns the business, but I also know that many think it doesn’t matter anymore.
So – rather than picking up on any mistakes I may have made here, (tempting though it might be!), what I’m actually looking for is a genuine show of ‘hands’ (likes or comments) if you are one of the people that it matters to. Show your potential suppliers how you feel when you read their marketing material or their website, or their business card (yup, seen a good few mistakes on them too I’m afraid…) and find really simple errors that have been missed/ignored. Does this make you feel like the business service or product is likely to be of high or low quality?
Or is it just me? sigh………. (crickets………) For some of the more humorous examples I found when looking for the article photo (*KiKenTai), …..
And for another discussion on this topic (AKA ‘Phew, it’s not just me!’)