Some decisions can change the trajectory of your business. While each day brings important choices, there are certain moments or “inflection points” that can have a profound impact on the long-term success of your company and the legacy you leave.
What are those inflection points for your business? Drawing on client insights and perspectives, we have identified a few key moments in time.
While a company is growing, there are several considerations: hiring the right talent, expanding your operations and accessing additional capital.
Talent: When growing your workforce, you’ll want to provide comprehensive benefits to help attract and retain the best talent. This includes traditional offerings such as retirement savings (401K) and health savings accounts (HRA, HSA). Forward-looking companies are taking an integrated approach to help support employees’ broader needs, including financial wellness, saving and investing. According to the Bank of America Workplace Benefits Report, 97% of employers feel a sense of responsibility for the financial wellness of their employees.
Leasing: Whether it’s essential equipment or additional space for offices, warehouses or manufacturing, a business owner must weigh the risks and benefits of purchasing vs. leasing equipment and real estate. Some factors include cash on hand, risk mitigation, strength of balance sheet and tax implications. For example, if technology is changing rapidly in your industry, it may be advantageous to lease equipment and upgrade as needed, instead of buying it outright.
Asset-based loans: Businesses can borrow based on their own financial and physical assets, which can range from accounts receivables and inventory to equipment and real estate. Asset-rich companies that have variations in cash flow but need significant capital to help them operate can access revolving lines of credit or term loans that are secured by the borrower’s assets.
Maintenance and Expansion
Maintaining and expanding your business involves ongoing fine-tuning of operations, including automating tasks, strengthening working capital and creating accountability to strengthen operational efficiency.
Payments: Making and accepting payments are a lifeblood for business owners. Nearly eight in ten payment transactions globally are now contactless, and that number is expected to increase. Companies are also using real-time payments, which are initiated and settled nearly instantaneously, 24x7x365. As real-time payment methods are adopted, suppliers and companies will increasingly expect faster, more efficient payments.
Working capital: The pandemic showed us how volatile our systems could be, with supply chain disruptions and labor shortages among other challenges. Even well-capitalized companies are vulnerable to market changes; however, companies can strengthen their working capital to mitigate risk. This includes examining how a company can lower costs, evaluate weeks of float, identify new revenue streams and automate tasks to reduce manual work.
Optimize existing technology: Many companies can optimize their existing technology without making significant technology investments. For example, manual tasks, like accounts payable, can be automated or streamlined.
Mapping your strategy: Whether through international expansion, going public or M&A activity, the decision-making process at a time of expansion represents a critical inflection point for a company. When developing a growth strategy, it is also crucial that business owners determine the target effects on various stakeholders, including employees and partners.
Digital transformation: Digital tools can help support expansion, including systems that provide real-time and other payments across geographies, streamline cross-border compliance and protect businesses from fraud and cybercriminals across global jurisdictions. Digital banking is also helping to accelerate M&A deals, reducing transaction time and costs, and delivering greater value to buyers and sellers.
Proactive and strategic planning in advance of exiting a business will ease the transition whether it’s passing the company on or divesting entirely.
Succession planning: Good succession planning involves deliberation over what is needed for the long-term success of a business. A comprehensive succession plan should include a roadmap for current and future leaders to assess opportunities and risks, earmark strategic investments, plan for disruption and position the company for sustainable growth.
Exit strategy: Before exiting, business owners should assess whether they have a successor with the right skills and desire to take on their role. And they should also define what they want to do upon exit, including selling the business, transferring it to a partner or family member, taking it public or liquidating.
Every moment can be an inflection point, a chance to move your business forward with the right strategy, planning and action. Assessing your business’s overall growth and direction regularly can create a valuable legacy in the years to come.
Bank of America is one of the world’s largest financial institutions, serving individuals, small- and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company serves approximately 56 million U.S. consumer and small business relationships. It is among the world’s leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading.