Main Content

Health check: Concerned, actively tightening our belts

Concerned about your agency’s health? This scenario-specific advice looks at some key areas of the business to monitor and manage.

If you are concerned about your agency’s health, ensure all non-business critical activities are reviewed and paused if possible. Put a task force in place to oversee these decisions in a timely manner. 

Cashflow requires key management and should be prioritised. The leadership team needs to regularly review and act accordingly, however, just reviewing cashflow alone is not sufficient.

If the forecast suggests insufficient funds and you are unable to procure short or long term funding, decisions need to be made to minimise outgoings. You should have exhausted all options to avoid running out of cash such as reaching out to clients and renegotiating favourable payment terms, pausing supplier contracts, loan repayment holidays and temporary pay cuts for senior staff. 

If these are not enough, you may have to look at your workforce in line with your revenue and ensure you right-size your team. 

Ask yourselves if you have adequate processes in place to make sure your business is managed efficiently and responsibly. Are budget holders held to account and are business cases provided for large overspends?

Consider being transparent with your team so they understand the business situation and avoid jumping to conclusions due to lack of communication. A pay freeze can signal dire straits, when it might just be a short-term preventative measure. It’s also worth highlighting/ leveraging the non-financial benefits that are available to employees. 

If your forecast suggests this is a short-term blip, you could explore other methods of retaining staff such as offering unpaid sabbaticals otherwise you could have to face the additional expenditure associated with recruitment when things improve. If revenue forecasts do indicate fees will remain low for the foreseeable future, make sure you are taking corrective action sooner rather than later to avoid having a disproportionate overhead to your revenue for longer than necessary.

You might be interested in exploring the DBA Experts Register to find trusted commercial business partners for guidance. And you can also get in touch with Adam at the DBA on to help signpost you to more advice. 

About: Sim Thirunesan

Sim is Finance and Business Director at Management for Design Ltd. She provides dynamic financial insight and strategic business management support to creative professionals, allowing them to focus on excelling at what they do best. By providing clear insight, she can help you make the best decisions for your business and enable you to plan effectively, freeing up your time to focus on unlocking your maximum potential and produce the best work for your clients.

Sim is an accredited member of the DBA’s Register of Experts. 

Find out more about Sim.

Access the DBA Experts Register. 


We use cookies to help improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you agree to our use of cookies.