With small businesses often facing cash flow troughs due to the festive season, brokers are being urged to ensure that their own businesses are well prepared for the January period.
Alex Brgudac, head of partnerships at SME lender Prospa, noted that a recent survey of SMEs found that most small-business owners think their business could benefit from funding during the holiday season.
“There’s little rest for small-business owners this time of year, and it’s often a high-stress period. As corporates and big business are winding down, December for many small businesses can bring long hours, tight deadlines and additional costs for staff and stock.
“This is often followed by a quiet January, which is also usually the worst month for late payments, so cash flow pressures are common,” he said.
Mr Brgudac highlighted that brokers can help alleviate the financial pressures of their SME clients but that they should not forget to prepare their own businesses for the quiet January period.
“We know that many brokers out there are facing similar pressures to their small-business clients,” he said.
“They’re working unpredictable hours, wearing multiple hats and dealing with seasonal peaks and troughs. It’s part of what makes them so well positioned to support small business – they really get the challenges.”
He encouraged brokers to embrace the slower pace that January presents and use it to prioritise goals for the year ahead.
“The slower January period can be a good time for brokers to reset and reflect on their own business needs, but it can also be quite stressful,” Mr Brgudac said.
“On top of being quieter than usual, January is typically the worst month for late payments. This can create a cash flow squeeze for brokers who still have the usual costs like rent and wages.
“Planning ahead for these seasonal peaks and troughs is key for starting the year off right and avoiding unwanted surprises.
“It also helps brokers use this time to focus on their vision for 2020 and new growth opportunities,” he said, adding that the SME lender is offering support to brokers.
Non-bank business lender OnDeck also made a similar appeal to brokers, in light of their own research that suggested one third of small-business owners were intending to work through the holiday season.
Cameron Poolman, CEO of OnDeck Australia said: “The Christmas and New Year period is the peak trading period of the calendar for many small businesses, so it is understandable that many owners are reluctant to take time off. But having some downtime over the festive season is essential to avoid burnout."
Mr Poolman made particular reference to brokers, encouraging them to take a step back from their businesses to gain insights into their needs and objectives.
“Taking a break gives brokers some distance from their business – and a chance to gain valuable perspectives on where the business is heading and opportunities for growth,” he said.
Mr Poolman added: “Taking care of yourself is taking care of the business. Broking, in particular, is a very people-centric profession, and when brokers become overly fatigued, their business can suffer.
“This makes it critical to embrace opportunities to take time out and recharge this festive season.”
Hannah Dowling is a journalist for The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
Prior to joining Momentum Media, Hannah worked as a content producer for a podcast catering to property investors. She also spent six years working in the real estate sector at a local agency.
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