Position and Company: Group Director of Capital Business Media
Bio: Richard is one of the UK’s leading experts in the SME sector and has been advisor to the UK government on start-ups & SMEs and a business champion for the government supported Start Up Britain programme, so is well positioned to provide expert advice.
A serial investor with strong knowledge of risk, investing, growth and the economy. Richard has also been an advisor to Peter Jones and co-hosted the US show ‘Save our Business’.
How can businesses best prepare for a financially sound 2021?
As we head into 2021, it?s vital that business owners adopt the mindset that disruption and interruption are not yet things of the past and take a critical approach to their budgets. This is the first step toward balancing short-term agility and long-term survival.
Rather than annual financial plans which have no room for flexibility, the goal should be to evaluate and prepare forecasts on a month-by-month basis and consistently evaluate business operations.
This will equip business owners with the knowledge and tools needed to predict the operations which should take priority and can yield the biggest revenue.
In addition, business owners should also be aware that 2021 will undoubtedly be another year where the economy has a stop-start nature, so additional plans to generate revenue should be drawn up.
An easy way to identify these opportunities is to research current and prospective customer?s needs and determine the skillsets and tools available to develop or deliver a service or product as a solution.
What advice would you give businesses planning ahead to repay government loans, specifically BBLS, CBILS and CLBLS?
“Don?t get carried away with overpayments during such an unprecedented time.”
Pay the required amount and keep any intended overpayments as a reserve in the bank until the future appears a little more certain. Then, if and when you bounce back to pre-pandemic revenue, larger repayments can be made in bulk.
What areas should business leaders be focusing on investing in during 2021?
For me, there are three key areas.
- Online presence ? marketing, public relations and website content strategies will be key to remaining visible in an overcrowded digitally operating world. It?s important that budgets are well spent on tactics which can yield the greatest return on investment, so ensure that professionals are used rather than trying to do it yourself.
- Data and research ? Data and research are key to success now more than ever as they both provide insight into how your target audience is feeling and behaving. Every business leader should fully understand their target customer before they even become a customer.
- Innovation ? In an ever-changing world, it?s important to ensure you don?t get left behind. Business development and innovation should remain a key focus in 2021 to ensure you are moving in line with the markets, industries and your customer.
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