One thing that generally rings true in business is that problems are connected and it’s important to not run out of things as there is generally a chain of things, supplies, cashflow, people that are all interconnected and one small thing forgotten can have knock on effects and adversely affect the others.
This obviously sounds like a really obvious one but it’s remarkably easy for money to run out even if the business is being run well. All it takes is for some of your customers to be late in paying you and you to be needing to pay your own suppliers necessary for new work to put you in a very tough spot. It’s essential that you have a clear and fixed policy on when invoices are due and have a system in place for chasing up overdue payments to ensure that you are paid as soon as possible.
Another apparently obvious one would be customers, no-one wants to run out of customers but it’s how this can easily happen if you are not on top of things. It’s important to know where your customers are coming from, both in terms of location and how they found out about you. It’s easy to get caught up in completing orders for current customers and to end up neglecting finding new ones, whether that be by directly contacting them, networking or advertising, if you know it takes a certain amount of time to find a customer and make a sale then you need to be aware to do this in time to have new work waiting as old orders complete.
When running a business running out of fuel, having vehicles stuck somewhere is no good. Especially if you store your own fuel such as red diesel then you can buy regular diesel but at a huge cost increase, so it’s important to have a supplier that can organise an emergency red diesel delivery to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Be sure you know how many staff you need, be aware what time in the season they are required and how much training and prep they need to be ready to go. This calculation can be tricky as it goes both ways; you need to be sure you have enough staff for busy periods but don’t want to be paying them to do nothing over the quiet periods so you’d have to find stuff for them to do, seasonal staff can offer a solution to this but there is a downside. If you lose staff every year then new staff will need to be trained coming in, so the calculation you need to make is to figure out if the cost of training exceeds the cost of keeping staff on over the quiet periods.
Wasted time can be a killer for a business. You may have a load of orders and customers but if everything is taking longer than it is supposed to then you can run out of cash (going back to point 1) either by the increased cost of fulfilling an order or your day to day running costs overtaking you due to not getting work finished in time.