Should Businesses Have an Emergency Fund?
Things don’t always go according to plan for most business entrepreneurs. Sometimes, when everything seems to be going according to plan, a tidal wave of unpredictability hits you. Should Businesses Have an Emergency Fund?
Emergency Fund: What Is It and Why Is This a Vital Plan for Business
Equipment malfunction may have necessitated a repair or replacement. Or one of your most important clients may be past due on an invoice. It’s also possible that your cash flow takes a hit because business is slower than normal.
This is where your emergency fund comes into play. If your firm is in danger of sinking due to unanticipated costs, you can lean on it for support. To make it through tough economic times or to expand the firm, companies often face a major challenge: an inadequate supply of cash.
Many small company owners still face financial difficulties, with over 82% failing as a result of poor cash flow. When times are tough, a small business that doesn’t have enough cash on hand may be forced to shut its doors for good.
What is a Business Emergency Fund?
Do you remember putting away some money in case of an unexpected personal expense? That idea is just as applicable to a business. Your company’s emergency fund is its cash reserves. It is funds that you’ve put away for emergencies, and it’s available to you whenever you need it.
The expression “emergency fund” conjures images of a savings account or a box beneath your mattress full of bills, but it doesn’t have to be made up entirely of cash. Your reserves can also include short-term, liquid assets such as money market funds that can be swiftly converted to cash.
Whether you provide enterprise contact center software or run a small convenience store, businesses of all sizes should have an emergency fund in place. Such funds can keep the company afloat during trying times. You can also use an emergency fund to cover emergency expenses like investing in customer experience software when you’re unable to sell your products or services. Or if you’re considering competitors to vonage to upgrade your phone service.
What are the Advantages of Having a Business Emergency Fund?
Our dreams for the future may not always go according to plan, no matter how hard we try. In the event of an emergency or natural calamity, there is no way to foresee what would happen. Even so, you can prepare for it. The advantages of having an emergency fund speak to its importance.
Here are some of the benefits to look forward to:
Having an emergency fund on hand will help you sleep better at night. Keep in mind that crises can take many forms, ranging from a sudden sickness to fire outbreaks or a pandemic. These examples and any other disaster will need different responses, but the fact that you have an emergency fund to fall back on will remain constant. Remember this when preparing for your next emergency.
Rainy day spending
Even amid a crisis, life continues. As a result, you’ll have to continue paying for necessities like food, rent or mortgage, and utility bills like electricity and gas, as well as internet access. Even if you stop using your accounting software, you’ll still have to keep your professional organization membership current. You can accomplish all of that and still run your business if you have an emergency fund as part of your IT business continuity plan.
No dipping into savings
Small company owners may have to dip into their own pockets in times of crisis to keep their companies afloat. Having an emergency fund might help you avoid emptying your personal savings accounts. Having an emergency reserve helps you prevent late payments to employees among other expenses.
How to Estimate Your Emergency Fund Size
The quantity of money you should maintain in reserve depends heavily on the other elements that impact your organization, as well as your operational expenses. Consider the following when evaluating how much money to save in case of an emergency:
Inventory and receivables
Businesses with slow-moving receivables or inventories should maintain a larger account for emergency funds. The fund will provide cover for operation costs and other expenses in cases of late customer payment or cash being tied up in slow-moving inventories.
Your personal status
Is it possible for you to go without a paycheck for a period of time? Is your business a full-time job or a side activity, you may not require much money in reserve if it is the latter.
If your business practices rely heavily on cyclical or seasonal revenue, you may want to consider increasing your emergency reserve. The more volatile the firm, the more emergency funds it should hold.
Building an Emergency Fund for Your Business
The most difficult part of putting together a business emergency fund is deciding where the money will come from. If you’re a lone entrepreneur or a small firm with a slim profit margin, this might be very challenging.
Regardless of your situation, you can nearly always find a method to save money and add it to your emergency fund. You may never need to tap into your business’s emergency fund, which is the best-case scenario.
Here are a few recommendations to guide your emergency fund creation strategy.
Calculate the amount required
How much operating capital would you need to keep your company running if it couldn’t operate for a month? Whatever your response, you should save for that eventuality now. Keep saving even if you hit your savings target in a short period. Don’t count on your funds always being sufficient in the event of an emergency or disaster because they are unpredictable.
Maximize your savings
The same credit union or bank where you currently have a business account can be used to set up a separate one for your emergency fund. As your funds increase, you should consider placing part of it in a money market account. Or try another account that offers a higher rate of return than a typical savings account. However, make sure you have enough money in your regular account so that you can access it quickly in the event of an emergency.
Schedule your payments
Maintain a regular deposit schedule and stick to it. Decide on a deposit plan that works for your business, whether weekly, biweekly, or monthly.
Don’t be afraid to start small
If you can only spare a small amount a month, to begin, save it. Even though there isn’t a perfect moment to start a savings account for unexpected expenses, even a small sum might add up. You can raise that amount if sales pick up or if you have extra money lying around.
Start by looking at your business processes and expenditures and see if there are ways to save money. Look around for another resource/service provider if costs keep rising, get rid of those pricey subscriptions, and switch to a basic internet service.
When renting, you may want to explore a less expensive facility or try remote working or PBX cloud services if you provide related services. Taking advantage of these cost-cutting strategies can rapidly result in savings that you can stash away for later.
Deposit part of your revenue
By setting aside a certain amount of your monthly earnings, you can easily link your savings to revenue. Your savings will rise in line with revenue and fall in tandem with a decline in revenue. Seasonal companies can benefit from this, as it is normal for income to rise or fall at a specific time of year.
When Should You Use Your Emergency Fund?
There are a wide variety of unexpected situations that require immediate attention. A well-managed cash flow forecast example can assist you in identifying the appropriate time to use your rainy-day reserve.
Some occurrences may signal that you need to use your emergency fund including:
- Natural disasters— This is an excellent time to use your emergency fund. It could be cases such as a flood, fire, hurricane, tornado, or other weather-related events.
- Social upheaval— Although this may not have crossed your mind previously, social upheaval such as riots and protests can have a significant impact on your business process management.
- Economic slump— An economic recession or decline in interest in your products or industry.
- Losing a key employee— Loss of a valuable staff that can negatively affect sales or demand a considerable investment of time and resources to replace.
- Illnesses— Sickness or other personal challenges that prevent the business owner or a key employee from doing their job
- Lawsuits— These are rare but not unheard of occurrences brought on by several situations like workplace accidents.
- Losing a key customer— Lack of a customer-friendly culture can lead to the departure of a key client who is responsible for a large chunk of your company’s revenue.
- Special circumstances— Whenever your income falls short of your expenses and you are unable to make up the shortfall through other sources or by reducing operational costs.
Secure Your Future with an Emergency Fund
A business’s emergency fund serves the same goal as a personal emergency fund. Having a reserve of cash can make the difference between a few months of hard times and the end of your firm. For those who rely on their business as their sole source of income, having an emergency fund is as essential as an enterprise security system. It’s fantastic if you already have a business emergency fund. But if you haven’t already, now is the best time to get started.
Grace Lau – Director of Growth Content, Dialpad
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an otter.ai competitor and AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Grace has also written for other domains such as Tapfiliate and WebSitePulse.