2017-Proofing Your Business: 3 Tips For The Year Ahead

2017-Proofing Your Business: 3 Tips For The Year Ahead


It’s safe to say that 2016 has been a bit of a mixed bag. From Donald Trump’s shock US election win, and the subsequent hit to the Rand, to the Springboks’ worst year ever, 2016 has had its fair share of upsets – it’s even merited its own meme.  

In South Africa though, the outlook for 2017 is cautiously optimistic, with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan projecting GDP growth of 1.3%. Small businesses will play a vital part in this recovery and it’s essential that they’re prepared for the coming year, whatever it brings.

Fortunately, there are encouraging signs. According to research from cloud accounting software Xero and World Wide Worx, 58% of South African small business owners expect to grow in 2017 and half intend to grow sales.

Related: Your Top 10 Growth Moves For 2017

If you want to successfully weather 2017, keep these three tips firmly in mind and ensure that nothing stands in the way of your success.

1Review your business plan

The most profitable businesses plan ahead. They define their targets, they pursue them relentlessly, they regularly monitor their progress – but they also remain flexible enough to change direction if necessary.

So if you’re looking to start 2017 on the right foot, it’s vital that you create a clear plan for your company’s growth.

This plan should contain defined goals and milestones – with enough room to account for unforeseen events and changing circumstances.

2Update budget and cash flow forecasts

budget and cash flow forecasts

Establishing a budget before the new year gets underway is an essential strategic move. Knowing where your resources are and how to allocate them will give you a considerable advantage as you move forward.

Without solid budget forecasts in place, it’s easy to just throw money at problems as they arise – inevitably wasting it in the process. Plan ahead and you can avoid this.

Related: 3 Tips To Setting (And Achieving) Your Goals In 2017

If you have forecasts in place already, it’s a simple matter of updating them using insights and data compiled in the previous months. Whatever you do, stay on top of it: A healthy cash flow is often the difference between weathering unforeseen events or economic uncertainty, or being swept away by it.

3Make sure you’re ready for the tax year end

Finally, while the calendar year may be over, you’ve got a little while before the end of South Africa’s tax year on February 28th.

There’s a fair bit of work involved in getting up to speed, but if you take care of it in advance, you can save yourself and your business a great deal of frustration.

Follow these steps to make sure you’re ready:

  • Firstly, confirm your tax deadlines and determine whether or not you’ll need an extension.
  • Then, check your cash reports to find out how much cash you have in hand, and pay all vendors and contractors in full before the end
  • of the period.
  • Review past and present payroll information, withhold the required tax from your employee bonus payments, and use cloud accounting software
  • to gain accurate estimates of how much you’ll need to pay.
  • It may also be worth consulting an expert accountant or book keeper to see if there’s any way to mitigate your tax payments and avoid
  • any compliance issues.

Related: 2017 – Weathering The Tough Times Ahead

These aren’t the only steps, but they’re a good start. As you take your business into 2017, be positive, prepared, and forward-thinking and you won’t go far wrong.