We reveal some top tips on how you can help ensure that your client’s big win is a blessing rather than a curse.
Brokers and financial advisers are regularly consulted when their clients’ business is going through a period of change or significant event. Your client may be considering a growth opportunity, have landed a big piece of business, or won a new contract.
This is certainly an exciting time for any business but one, perhaps, where it is possible to focus so intensively on the prize, that not enough consideration is given to a) what will happen next, or b) how existing business will be impacted.
So, how can you help ensure your clients’ big win is a blessing rather than a curse?
Planning is key
For many SMEs, landing a big piece of business is a dream come true and something they have been striving for from the outset. As well as leading to increased revenue and better cash flow certainty, signing a large client can give a business instant credibility and open the door to opportunity (these outcomes are what your client is likely focusing on).
Your client is probably fully engaged working out how to land the big fish and may be distracted from planning for how they will meet their new (as well as existing) obligations.
This is where the role of broker/advisor is realised. With careful planning being the key to success for any venture, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can support your clients’ win.
Capacity – new
Ensure your client is able to fulfil their new obligations, considering every step down the supply chain.
Ask your client:
Capacity – existing
While it is easy to get carried away and focus on a new piece of business, your client must also maintain their existing relationships and obligations. Often, it is these existing clients that will sustain your client’s business and assist with maintaining good cashflow during a period of growth and change.
It is important to keep on delivering to this core customer base.
Make sure your client has undertaken enough financial due diligence upfront to ensure that margins and contract terms are not only achievable, but also good for their business long term.
In in a tendering or pitch situation, it can be tempting to price at the lower end to increase chances of a win, but this leaves the profitability of the business at risk further down the track.
Know the contract/negotiate
Many businesses don’t spend enough time understanding the contract or negotiating terms upfront but this can severely impact your client’s business if things go wrong. Make sure your client has spent enough time upfront on the contract. Are the payment terms viable for your client? Can your client deliver to the specifications and timings outlined?
This is the time to negotiate and make sure your client has a fair deal.
Safeguarding cash flow
For businesses scaling up to meet the demands of a larger client or contract, there may be a shortfall in cash. For example, the business may need to pay for staff, stock, equipment etc. long before they, themselves, get paid.
Looking at finance options, like invoice finance, with your client could help them manage their cashflow by allowing them to access the funds from their invoices straight away.
As well as this, trade credit insurance is another option to help safeguard against losses sustained if a client fails to pay.
Plan for the future
In order to make a real impact in big business, your client must have a real, sustainable business plan (three to five years). Ensure you complete cashflow forecasts and cost projections to meet peak funding and resourcing requirements with your client. Make sure your client has a funding partner with flexibility and reliability to support their business long term.
While your clients may be eager to take on the challenge ahead (they will no doubt have worked hard for it), your opportunity here is to be that of level-headed advisor. This, of course, is less glamorous and exciting, but is invaluable to the process and key to ensure your clients business is protected as they grow.
Founder of Apricity Finance, Linden has more than 25 years working across the finance industry. His experience covers distribution, capital raising, product development and investment reviews, responsible manager and board level roles. He has wide networks and significant experience in marketing at retail, intermediary and institutional levels.
Linden is a board member and responsible manager for a number of funds management and other financial services firms.
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