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How Goldilocks turned sticky cash flow situations into sweet success

Goldilocks Wraps is a small business with a big vision: to tackle plastic pollution around the world. 

Amy Hall’s sustainability journey began during her time volunteering for a shark conservation project in Fiji, where she saw the devastating impacts of plastic pollution in the ocean. Inspired to change, Amy went looking for an eco-friendly alternative to plastic and was introduced to the concept of beeswax wraps in Australia. 

Returning back home to Canada, Amy was dismayed not to be able to find beeswax wraps anywhere and was spurred into action to find a way to manufacture them locally. What was intended to be a Christmas gift for her family went on to become a novel solution for reducing single-use plastics in households. As Amy recalls, “I started selling them at a local farmers market and sold out within two hours. That was the  first time I had that light bulb moment that this could really take off.” 

A chance encounter with Goldilocks’s now Director of Operations, Brett Higson, paved the way for a partnership grounded in shared values and complementary skills. Brett’s operational expertise and finance background dovetailed with Amy’s creative talents, setting the stage for a business poised to make a difference. The pair recognised the importance of being a paperless company early on. 

“We incorporated the business in 2018 and immediately hired a bookkeeper. That’s where Xero came in,” Brett explained. “We wanted to be paperless, as I had experienced working in spreadsheets and going to my accountant’s office to manually print off and sign things, and I didn’t want to do that.” 

“The first thing I did was take Amy’s paperwork from the first six months of running her business as a sole proprietor, put it into spreadsheets and gave it to our accountant who put it straight into Xero. We’ve never looked back. We can easily go through our monthly income statements and compare them to the previous year. It’s amazing to have a digital bank for our entire five years of business.” 

In addition to custom invoicing, Brett says Xero gives them a snapshot on the health and state of their business to help with financial decision making . “Xero is where we go to get a deeper understanding of our business and how to manage things such as our marketing budget. It gives us a clear view on month over month, where we are spending money and where we might need to reallocate money.” 

Another benefit of using Xero is its easy integration with other apps, including Shopify, “We have set up Shopify’s A2X directly into Xero, so we’re able to track our purchases and product sales. So each year when we reconcile our year end inventory, we know that it’s accurate. It also automatically captures the GST and PST, to take away the entire logical headache of adding up receipts and taxes.” 

From experiencing an ecommerce boom during COVID-19 lockdowns, Goldilocks is now experiencing new challenges, amid a more difficult economic environment. “2020 was our skyrocket year, with so much cash in the system. We really moved early on digital ads. Now things are pretty sleepy; consumer spending habits are changing and our sales are definitely a lot slower,” said Brett. 

Like other small businesses, Brett and Amy took decisive action to better manage their cash flow. As Brett explained, “We’ve been forced to be a much more efficient team from an operational standpoint. We’re in an office now that is cheaper than our space before, because we successfully negotiated a better rent deal. We also engaged with our long standing suppliers to negotiate extended payment terms. This allowed us to push out our payments to 90 days, when they were typically 30 days.” 

Refinancing debt and securing funding has also put Goldilocks in a strong cash position. “One of the things that we were very proactive about was refinancing some of our debt that we had. During COVID-19, we put money into a GIC and now we’re making interest off of it, which helps with our cash flow as well. We also renegotiated some of our loans, to stretch them out over longer time periods.” 

When it comes to navigating the current economic realities, Amy believes planning is critical. “We’ve been doing more longterm planning. I think people can get caught up in not seeing an immediate payoff, particularly for something like marketing. You may need to plant those seeds in July, knowing that those returns might not come until November, but it will be more fruitful in the long run. 

Listening to your customers and staying true to your values is also vital to grow, as Amy says, “The actions you take need to be in alignment with what you do as a business, staying true to your values and mission. Really listen to your community and your customers, and tune in to what is going on. Because the whole point of having a business is to serve people and to help them solve a problem.” 

To read more about navigating the impact of economic conditions on the cash flow of Canadian small businesses, download Xero’s free Money Matters report here.

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