Points to Remember

Eniola's Retirement Plan

Eniola Andrews

Age: 45
Occupation: Horticulturist

“As a business owner, my main problem was separating my personal from my business finances. As a start-up, I wanted to throw everything but the kitchen sink into my garden centre so that it could be a success. I actually did put my entire life savings into my business.

I’m extremely lucky that my risk paid off but I wouldn’t recommend it to any start-up business owner out there. It exponentially increases your stress level knowing that you don’t have a financial Plan B to turn to since everything that is yours, you put into the business. I know that when you have a passion for something, nothing seems impossible, but you need to cover your basic, individual needs before you invest in your business. I think of it like this – to take care of your business, you have to take care of yourself first.

Another investment tip I have for small business owners is to squeeze the most benefit out of those great year-end profits by putting some of your cash into higher-earning money market accounts or even mutual funds. Though we small business owners are free and loose when it comes to putting our own funds into our companies, we’re notoriously tight-fisted when it comes to putting our company funds at any risk. It’s our working capital after all. But there are money market accounts that perform better than traditional bank savings accounts and don’t represent any appreciable increase in risk. Why not step out and try those?
What I’m working on now, with the help of my financial advisor, is putting together a retirement plan for my employees. Small business doesn’t mean small minds and I want to do things right.

FIRSTLINE POINTS TO REMEMBER

MAXIMISE THE RETURN ON EXCESS CASH

Evaluating what to do with excess cash is an enviable state of affairs. Here are some of our suggestions:

  • Project your daily and emergency cash needs for the rest of the year or the next year. Is this excess cash a one-off surplus or is it a true reflection of your company’s performance? The answer to this will help you to decide how to reallocate your funds, if at all.
  • Consider your investment options:
    • If you anticipate needing the cash within the next year, place it in a money market account to benefit from higher and possibly tiered interest rates commensurate with your account balance.
    • Invest in projects that will help your company’s growth.
    • Retire debt.
    • Leverage this increased-value asset to supplement company projects or operations not fully covered by cash on hand.
    • Establish a line of credit at your bank. Having quick access to short-term loans will allow you to maintain a smaller year-round account balance, thus freeing up your cash for things other than expenses.
    • If you have yet to do so, set aside the equivalent of three months’ business expenses into a high-yield account for emergencies – or opportunities.
    • Enlist the assistance of your financial advisor if you remain unsure about the way forward.