Finance 18 January 2021

How to thrive (not just survive) in 2021

George Toumbev, COO at Mettle
“Being financially sound in 2021 is all about managing uncertainty.”

Name:?George Toumbev

Position and Company: COO at Mettle

Bio:?George has over 20 years experience working in Financial Services and is currently Chief Operating Officer at Mettle.

Known for being a ?practical, outcome-focused leader who tells it how it is?, George?s experience spans multiple functional areas, including Credit, Risk, Strategy and Operations. He has deep expertise in Private and Commercial Banking, having led strategy and product teams in both segments.

Outside of work, George is passionate about travel, great food and loves hitting the slopes with his snowboard when he can.

How can businesses best prepare for a financially sound 2021?

2020 was an incredibly difficult year for many small businesses, and we share their desire to get back to normality as quickly as possible. Financially, the news of another lockdown will undoubtedly disrupt and prolong the initial recovery that businesses had achieved toward the latter part of last year.

“Being financially sound in 2021 is all about managing uncertainty.”

While not always easy, preparing for disruption amid the changing landscape will stand businesses in good stead to adapt. To do this, businesses should look to build a simple as possible financial view of their business. This will help them to make decisions during turbulent times and avoid any nasty surprises.

One way that businesses can prepare themselves to financially navigate this year is to regularly review their outgoing expenses and to consider which are optional or avoidable. Having the ability to streamline business costs if needed will prepare businesses to weather the storm.

The best advice we can give is to arm yourself, and your business with the simplest and best value products and services you can get to keep on top of, and in control of your finances, whether that be to support you for tax preparation, or to simplify how you pay and get paid.

At Mettle, our customers lie at the heart of our product. We?re constantly looking to collaborate with partners and integrate services that our customers will really value and use, helping them to solve problems that they may be facing financially.

What advice would you give businesses planning ahead to repay government loans, specifically BBLS, CBILS and CLBLS?

Planning is always key. A new year is the best time to evaluate your business? finances and prepare for the year ahead. Applications for relief loans during the pandemic have been extended until 31st March 2021 and businesses have the option to top up these loans if they need to do so.

“When looking at applying for and in repaying government loans, small businesses should consider their financial projections for the year.”

Planning for worst- and best-case scenarios will help estimate the level of support they require and their financial ability to repay this borrowing. The loans are intended to support business cash flow, so only applying for what you anticipate needing will place you in a much stronger position.

Within Mettle, the Pots feature allows customers to set aside money for different purposes into a separate Pot. When planning how to repay loans, businesses should use features like this to ensure they are budgeting for repayments.

What areas should business leaders be focusing on investing in during 2021?

Customer demand for fully digital products has been growing steadily over the past few years, and COVID-19 has accelerated this trend. This makes it even more important for small businesses to invest in digitising the full customer journey, marketing activity and distribution, in order to best serve their customers during this period. The rise of mobile payments through services like Apple Pay and Google Pay are a great example of this.

“By developing a simple financial view, businesses can improve their visibility of the running of their business. This will allow leaders to make better decisions and avoid being thrown off-course as COVID regulations change.”

Furthermore, cash flow is one of the biggest issues facing small businesses right now. As a result, we would recommend focusing investments on integrating technologies that enable you to manage your finances in the simplest way possible. There are lots of services out there that can help you manage what?s going in and out, and ensure your taxes are in order at year-end.

In addition to this, adjusting your payment terms so that businesses can get paid faster will help leaders to keep the business afloat during turbulent times. Mettle offers its customers invoicing tools, allowing them to pay and get paid instantly. By taking back control of your finances, you can focus your time and energy on what matters most? running your business successfully.

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