Almost half (44%) of small and medium sized businesses have been forced to urgently borrow money in order to cover basic monthly costs such as wages, according to a new report.
IGF Invoice Finance, which conducted the research, is urging SMEs to seek financial guidance and prepare in advance of the Christmas period, when these essential outgoings peak.
Across all industries, Christmas can bring a good opportunity to boost sales and increase consumer appetite, the firm says.
However, SMEs are often required to increase staff headcount, purchase higher volumes of stock and prepare for a reduction in the number of working days.
Tracy Ewen, managing director at IGF, warns: “Outgoings such as wages are essential to any business and a cost that must be met. This research highlights the struggle that some companies have even during times of ‘business as usual’. In the winter season we see many businesses experience an increase in these costs and a reduction in the efficiency of managing their income.”
SMEs can find themselves in treacherous waters without reliable sources of working capital over Christmas because many senior staff responsible for approving supplier payments take holiday during the period.
To counter these festive challenges, small businesses need to ensure that they reach out to sources of free advice well in advance in order to fully prepare for the season of late payments.
Ewen continues: “This year, the Bank Holidays around Christmas further reduce our working days, so we are imploring SMEs to avoid the difficulties of the season. By seeking advice in to the options available, short-term and unsustainable forms of borrowing can be avoided in place of practical and reliable solutions; enabling everyone to enjoy the festivities.”