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Australia’s economy is not as strong as we would hope, but that shouldn’t stop owners from achieving small business growth. While that can be an exciting time for many SMEs, expansion brings with it higher costs.

Greg Charlwood, Managing Director of Bibby Financial Services, outlines how business owners can review their financial position over the Easter break, to ensure they can comfortably cope with the added cash flow needs that accompany growth.

1. Chase the bigger bunny
To enable growth, a business needs to have a focused and clear vision. Think – new products, improved services, and more alternative choices to suit client demand. Establish goals and objectives for the wider business, so that all staff have a clear idea of where the business is headed. Think big, not small.

2. Get your eggs in order
An organised system for archiving and paperwork will be your business’ saving grace. Clear out any old and outdated paperwork, receipts and letters over the Easter period and freshen up your office with more space. Create a system for outgoing invoices, purchase invoices and a cashbook to ensure all information is documented correctly. Growing a business is reliant on being organised.

3. Try a different flavour
Cash flow is the lifeline of a healthy business. If you are not in reliable cash flow, look at other options available.  A debtor finance provider pays up to 85% of outstanding invoices usually within 24 hours and chases up the debtor for you. This not only frees up time but assists in maintaining a steady and reliable cash flow, to ensure growing your business remains the number one priority.

4. Follow the Easter trail
For the business to be paid on time, it is important to issue invoices in a timely manner. Since the average invoice payment period has nearly doubled from 30 days up to 50 days in 2017 according to Dunn & Bradstreet, it is important that invoices are issued punctually so that they can be paid on time. This ensures that debtors have sufficient time to pay the outstanding invoice and assures your business will maintain positive cash flow. Positive cash flow is the key to business growth.

5. Whisk up a new plan
Revisit an early business plan – this was probably the key to your business’ success in the first place. Freshen this up, extend your original plans over the Easter break and take the time to reinvest in this strategy and spritz it up with new bursts of energy and inspiration. See your plans to fruition.

6. Start sorting out your tax return over the Easter break
Rather than waiting until the deadline looms, resolve to complete your return as soon as you can. To complete your return, your accountant will need full records of your financial transactions and why not get started now to help grow your business.

7. Know your flavours
Be aware of who your competitors are and what products and services they are offering. Read up on industry news while on your Easter holiday. Be knowledgeable on arising issues and noticeable trends. With the strong economy, the time is ripe to take advantage of new business opportunities and further expand the business.

8. Spot the bunny
Review and assess operations in place over the Easter period.  Look for cost effective ways to drive output with newer equipment which may save time, or implement different systems that produce better accuracy for business growth. Simple and effective tools will ensure the business grows from strength to strength.

9. Treat your staff to a chocolate
Statistics prove that employees are at their creative and productive peak when they feel valued and acknowledged for their contribution. Inspire and encourage your team by rewarding them when they land an account or impress a client. Have a staff outing day to celebrate achieving team goals and objectives. Organise a day to go to the races or ride in a hot air balloon. Staff are the backbone of a business and should know that they are appreciated for their efforts. Surprise them with an Easter egg hunt or a goodie bag with chocolate eggs.

10. Enjoy your Easter eggs
Enjoy a work life balance and take the time out to enjoy your success. Running a business can lead you through countless hurdles and challenges. Temper your schedule with a break and time to re-energise. Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and a hot cross bun over the Easter break.

Managing these steps are the key ingredients to a winning recipe for expanding your empire.