The beginning of the year, January in particular, is incredibly difficult for many of us. Our finances are strained not just personally but in business. Unless you are in the business of supplying school necessities, the month is usually a slow one. People have to prioritize necessities like school fees and supplies, food and rent over everything else. You may have noticed that this is the month when most people park their cars and opt for public transport while others prefer to take long walks to their places of work more so in the second half of the month.

It’s easy to believe that January should be the month of ultimate struggle. However, it does not necessarily have to be the case. Careful planning and budgeting could save your business from the added strain of the month after the festive excesses. Here’s how you can protect your business from January shocks.

  1. Prioritize necessities

Rent, restocking, salary payments, loan repayments and utility bills should be at the top of your list. You need to ensure that your business stays open even in this slow period. Every sale counts and if you are to hit your annual or quarterly targets, you’ll need to be open for business.

2. Hold off on major expenses

All expenses that could make a dent on your working capital should be avoided till this month is over. Your business and it’s running comes first. Make sure you have money in your account at all times for your day to day. The rest can be considered later.

3. Take stock- Plan the year ahead

As this is a slow period, it’s the perfect time to plan your year. Determine your goals, set your targets and work towards them starting NOW! Speak to your relationship manager about the PMI report that we publish monthly. In it, you will find the insights on the business environment and projections both locally and internationally.

4. Only take out financing for necessities

If you are considering a loan during this time, only take it when you absolutely have to. Remember, your necessities rare what keep your business open and running. Only take out financing to make that possible.

5. Do not eat into your profits

Most pockets are dry during this time and yours may be no different. The temptation to siphon some of the money coming into your business may be strong but DON’T DO IT! It will only injure your business in the long run. After all, no one wants to spend the rest of the year paying for January’s misdeeds.

6. Budget

Since things are tight, it’s wise to create a budget and make a consistent effort to stick to it. If something is not budgeted for, it can wait two or more weeks. A budget saves you from unwanted pressures and that’s what is needed during this time. Be frugal and you will be rewarded for it in the long run.

7. Begin to save for the next January

Now that you’ve experienced the strain that comes with this month, it is the perfect time to begin to put some money aside for next January. Make sure that by mid this year, you have enough in your Stanbic savings account or Fixed Deposit account to cater for your every day running and then some.