John A Waller
Causes of Insolvency In Business
The causes of insolvency in business are not always easy to deal with.
However, company directors need to be alert to issues that may cause the failure of their limited company.
On average, over 50% of businesses fail in the UK within their first 3 years. However, the risks that contribute to start-ups do not abruptly vanish, they are on going.
So what can you do to keep your limited company from insolvency?
Regardless of how long you have been in operation, it is vital to know what insolvency is and how to avoid it. That’s why we highlight the top five causes of insolvency and what you can do to keep you away from them!
Five Reasons for Business Insolvency
- Loss of Cash Flow in the business;
- Lack of knowledge of the business practice;
- Loss of an important client or customer;
- New competition reducing market share;
- Increase in debts, increasing operating costs.
Loss of Cash Flow in the business
The primary reason for business failure is lack of cash flow.
A loss of cash flow in a business can occur over time. With credit problems, bills and payment delays, it can be difficult to keep up with everything while maintaining sufficient cash in the bank. Even if your business is doing well and profitable every month, it’s so important to keep enough cash aside to cover expenses such as payroll, inventory, production, taxes and other essential costs. Also, retain extra cash for unexpected costs, such as hardware failure.
Always keep an eye on your finances. Appoint an accountant to help if needed – cash flow problems could occur at any time, without notice. If you do not keep track of your company’s expenses, a downturn in profits could cause your business to fail!
Lack of knowledge of the business practice
Business practice is a process in which a company pursues its goals. An excellent practice strategy can help your business become more competitive, increase sales and revenues, improve your employees’ “abilities, reduce costs, and more. Therefore, wrong business practices could lead to serious consequences. Poor employee management, for example, could lead to staff loss, which in turn puts pressure on the business as a whole.
To avoid being caught out, ensure you have a thorough understanding of business processes and procedures. Some things are also easy to get wrong – concluding a contract without fully aware of the contractual obligations is a common but serious mistake. So, be thorough, be open to adaptation and focus on detail!
Loss of a Significant Client and Market share.
Some companies rely only on one or two customers to make a considerable share of their profits. Being dependent on a particular customer or customer faces a serious risk if he or she decides to switch to one of his competitors. Sustaining a huge loss of profit could lead to financial trouble for your business. So think about what you can do to ensure the retention of these all-important customers, or focus on acquiring new ones. The latter gives alternative sources of income, if your larger client or customer goes elsewhere.
Loss of an important client or customer
New businesses are entering the market all the time. But competition isn’t always a bad thing – in some ways, it validates your market is worthwhile, and challenges you to make your business better. However, what isn’t a good idea is to ignore them completely: growing competitors could result in a loss of market share, and therefore a loss of profit – making this a common cause of insolvency.
So, keep an eye on your competitors, whether they’re old or new, and prepare ahead of time. Assess their value and benefits, and better them. To ensure your business revenue remains unaffected, focus on retaining the customers you’ve already acquired. Loyal customers will provide you with a safety net, even if competition increases.
Increase in debts, increasing operating costs.
Of course, too much debt leads to cash flow problems, which we now know is one of the main causes of insolvency. You may have borrowed money to start your business, as many others do. But, borrowing a large sum increases the risk. Only one month of poor sales could be all it takes to cause your debt repayments to exceed your income. So, make sure you plan ahead by always keeping that extra cash aside to deal with any problems further down the line. Minimise any further loans, especially if you’re a start-up – after all, the more debt, the greater the risk.