In our article on Self Employed Success we briefly looked at why using accountancy services was important to your business success. Here’s a little lighthearted release from the HRMC to give you a few ideas on what your accountant wouldn’t be adding to your tax return!
While the number of people turning to being self-employed and having their own business is growing steadily, the down side of this is that more businesses fail. Sometimes it is a situation beyond the owner’s control and other times there are signs that the business is failing that the owner ignores. So how can you save a failing business and what should you do if it passes the point of no return?
Signs things aren’t going well
Being positive is an important point for anyone in business, especially when it is your own business. You need to be confident about what you are doing, upbeat and enthusiastic as this propels you forward and also rubs off on customers and business partners. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore the signs of problems when they surface or make yourself unable to spot them.
Declining customer numbers
One of the classic signs that there could be an issue is if you are losing customers. Maybe you had a book full when you started and some have naturally finished their interaction with you. But no new ones are appearing, the phone isn’t ringing or the emails aren’t appearing. This could mean there is a problem at some level of the business and you need to take steps to head this off. Look at customers who didn’t return – what was the reason? Why have leads from a certain source dried up? Answer these questions and you have a better chance of understanding if the problem is you or them.
Books aren’t balancing
Often a new business finds itself on uncertain financial ground but you need to ensure that there is the right cash flow in the business or you are quickly facing problems. If you are spending too much over your budget on costs each week, for example, then you need to take a long look at what is happening. Don’t be afraid to bring in outside help to get extra opinions such as a freelance accountant or bookkeeper, whose job it is to spot such problems.
Taking steps to deal with the problem
If you are watchful and aware of the problem, there are often more steps you can take to deal with the issue. A short-term loan or financial assistance package might be able to help re-balance those books and ensure the costs are under control. Or a new advertising campaign might help raise awareness of the business and working with a virtual assistant might be the way to help do more with your time to cover all those marketing avenues.
If the worst comes to the worst, don’t be afraid to get in touch with a company like Hudson Weir – insolvency practitioners. While it is sad that you might need to wrap up the business if it really is beyond hope, it is better to talk to a company like Hudson Weir in London or someone similar where you live than to end up having this forced onto you. And it can be surprising the measures such a company can come up with to help you salvage as much as you can from the business to then start afresh.