by: Kristian McCausland, Sales Director, Shift
Small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) are looking for ways to bring more certainty to capital and planning, now more than ever.
Let’s start with the “why”
Looking at data from the Shift Business Index, we can see that while business liquidity rose seven per cent in July of this year, it’s down 17 per cent year on year, even with sales up 10 per cent year on year.
Even with sales rising over the last 12 months, increasing supplier and wage costs are making managing liquidity and maintaining cash buffers an ongoing balancing act (spend was up 6.7 per cent year on year while wage costs were up 8.26 per cent year on year).
For instance, some industries such as hospitality, construction and manufacturing have seen up to about half of all expenses being allocated to supplier costs.
What we’ve seen over the last three years is that a key ingredient to maintaining a steady performance has been managing working capital and having the funds to either fuel growth or ride through ebbs and flows.
The broker opportunity
To help manage capital and cashflow, it’s critical that brokers stay close to their clients and keep ahead of any future needs.
Many brokers in our network are already taking this approach, creating a stickier relationship with their clients in the process.
Asking clients what their biggest financial risks are allows brokers to help reduce or spread the risk where practical, working towards more certainty of capital availability and therefore creating a smoother planning process for businesses.
It can help brokers ensure their customers are adequately prepared not only for any economic turbulence or supply chain issues, but also for opportunities to grow their businesses, such as winning new tenders, contracts and purchasing necessary equipment.
Enter revolving credit
Our revolving credit products give businesses confidence and certainty to plan ahead, and greater control to manage their finances. They benefit from the flexibility of a limit set for their business, allowing them to transact as needed.
In essence, it helps meet the need for businesses to be able plan for growth, while having a reserve to tap into when unexpected situations arise, providing some certainty in an uncertain economy.
For instance, our Equipment Line product gives businesses easy-to-access finance for equipment purchases, without the need to submit an application for every transaction.
It is part of our approach of providing a funding limit for the business, rather than funding for a specific working capital need or equipment purchase.
While businesses can initiate transactions themselves, over 70 per cent of transactions have been initiated by brokers in the last 12 months, showing that the right tools can help brokers guide and stay close to their clients.
Navigating the rest of 2023
With a multitude of factors still impacting operating environments across various industries, businesses will still be looking for a sounding board to help provide certainty where possible.
For brokers, this means a back-to-basics approach of maintaining regular client contact, asking the right questions, and making sure clients are paired with the right products and capital access now, and through a changing environment.
Find out more about how to help your business clients with the right financial products for now and down the track.