Tag Archives: Planning

Why bother with a cashflow forecast?

With CBILS, Bounce Back Loans, VAT deferrals, grants etc there may be more cash in the bank now than ever before and your cashflow is sorted for the next couple months.

But what happens after that?

Lockdown has probably helped the bank balance with customers paying while you’ve been running down stocks or furloughing staff. However the problems will come when customers start buying again: you’ll need to buy new stock or pay wages for sales that take a while to be paid for.

Right at the point where your bank balance has run right down you’ll need to invest more in your business.

In addition to this you need to keep an eye on payments due in the future.
Corporation Tax: usually paid October or January
Self Assessment tax: due January
Deferred VAT: due March 2021
Loan repayments: starting May/ June 2021
Plus regular VAT due every quarter regardless of other cash spend

A lot of this cash is heading to HMRC so perhaps a phone call will stem the flow? But that only drains cash from next year’s profits and stifles growth potential.

A plan for the future is vital, which means some sort of cashflow forecast. Even if it’s just a rough estimate, that plan allows you to see what pressure you’ll be under and give you time to take action.

And if you’re going to take action, the sooner the better.

Sometimes getting started is the hardest step to take. If you need some inspiration, or a template to kick off your forecast then get in touch.

Get more bang from your marketing bucks!

One of the underlying themes of the Food For Thought workshop was targeting efforts to make sure they provide good value for money.

In small businesses it often feels that life would be easier if only we had the budget/ resources/ personnel available to large competitors. However every business, large or small, has more opportunities than they have cash to invest in; there’s always competition for extra funding.

So it’s vital that marketing spend is targeted and planned to ensure that it delivers the best return.

At the workshop Hayley Reynolds of Devon based firm RAW Food & Drink PR & Marketing shared her advice for using PR to successfully promote food and drink businesses.

Hayley works with a huge array of iconic brands in this sector, and she used case studies from some of her recent clients to illustrate what has worked to get her clients the coverage they are looking for.

1. Know your target audience
Who is your ideal customer? Understand what they like about your product and where they shop, what they read, and potentially what other brands they are interested in.

This information allows you to select the right publications to reach those key customers and saves expensive mistakes from putting the right marketing in the wrong place.

2. Know your objective
Next, what response do you want from your marketing campaign? Again this helps to target your efforts in the right direction.

The example that Hayley gave was when a product is only available in a handful of west country outlets. A glorious review in The Sunday Times food supplement will not necessarily deliver the sales uplift that you might expect as the majority of readers will be unable to buy your product.

In this case local coverage, or a focus on trade press to attract additional stockists is a more effective use of your marketing budget.

3. Know the opportunity
Hayley showed us some of the success she’s had by carefully targeting the right publications with the right stories.

Carefully crafting a story that appeals to a magazine editor and will entertain their readership potentially allows them to find ways to promote your product without requiring fully paid advertising space.

The result of this is that your cost is lower and the marketing is likely to be more effective because the writer’s enthusiasm for the product will come across to the reader.

The key factor here is to understand who the readers of each publication are and how this compares to your target customer’s profile.

Taking time to work out where to put your marketing ultimately means you can make your marketing spend work harder for you.