Rising interest rates: impact on small businesses and mitigating those effects

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Rising interest rates: impact on small businesses and mitigating those effects

In the world of business, one constant factor you are likely to encounter is change, particularly in the financial landscape. One such change that can bear significant implications for small businesses is rising interest rates. Understanding how this impacts your business and identifying solutions to counteract these effects can be key to sustaining and growing your business.

With the election out of the way, business people and mortgage holders are looking to the next interest rate decision from the reserve bank on 29 November 2023. At the last meeting the Monetary Policy Committee agreed to hold the OCR at 5.5% but several prominent bank economists are predicting that the OCR will rise again one more time this year.

The implications of rising interest rates for small businesses

Interest rates have a ripple effect on various aspects of business, let’s look at a few.

Decreased consumer spending

A crucial repercussion of rising interest rates is that consumers invariably end up allocating more of their income to repay the increased mortgage rates and business loans. As a result, there’s less disposable income for them to spend — this isn’t great news if you are in an industry that is deemed non-essential by the consumer.

Difficulty in accessing credit

Lenders may enforce stricter requirements, such as more equity or personal guarantees, as a response to high business loan rates. This makes both long-term and short-term debt more expensive and harder to obtain.

Increased operational costs

The ripple effect of interest rates can also increase your operational costs. Your employees might demand a pay rise to cope with their increased living costs, and important business partners might pass on their increased costs to you, raising the cost of your whole supply chain.

Uncertainty in predicting future costs

Rising interest rates can make it difficult to predict the cost of future borrowing or the cost of existing business loan rates, making it harder to plan your finances and future investments.

Strategies to counteract rising interest rates

Despite these challenges, there are several strategies you can employ to mitigate the impact of rising interest rates:

  1. Delay major purchases that could drain your cash reserves.
  2. Consider paying interest only on any loans as a temporary option to reduce monthly payments.
  3. Refinance high-interest products like credit cards.
  4. Secure new loans with a longer fixed term to protect against further unexpected increases.
  5. Explore alternative financing options such as crowdfunding, angel funding, or government assistance.
  6. Use forward contracts to mitigate the risk of exchange-rate differences if your business conducts foreign currency transactions.
  7. Discuss with your suppliers about how to work together to offset interest rate increases.

Get in touch with us for tailored advice.

Your next steps

Evaluate how susceptible your business is to the effects of rising interest rates and take action accordingly. Immediate steps can include paying off debts that may incur higher interest costs, and investigating any government support you may be entitled to.

No matter what financial challenges your business faces, know that there are always strategies and resources available to help you overcome them.

Talk to us. We’re experts at helping businesses navigate the unsteady financial times.


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