Cash flow management for small businesses is one of the greatest challenges for business owners and managers. The process of managing the outflow of cash to settle accountants payable utilising cash inflows from cash sales and accounts receivable, is a daily task. By successfully managing to balance these two activities, companies are able to generate the optimum cash flow for the business.
How do you ensure that the cash coming in is sufficient to cover all the outgoing payments that are required? It really seems like the simplest of equations, but in reality, correctly managing cash flow and your cash flow conversion cycle is what will keep your business alive. Failing to manage your cash flow conversion cycle will place your business under huge pressure and often results in business failure. With the tips contained in our infographic, for managing cash flow, you’ll find ways to balance out your cash flow cycle, including taking out a small business loan or line of credit to cover inventory, seasonal demand or hiring new employees etc.
Here are some tips on Cash flow management for small businesses:
- Compare prices from more than one supplier and select the supplier that offers the best product for the best price. Continuously re-evaluate suppliers and services to ensure they remain competitive.
- Ask suppliers if they offer a settlement discount if their account is paid immediately and not only after 30 days which is the norm.
- Ask venders to extend payment dates to fall in line with your incoming cash flow
- Evaluate all your payees. Don’t just automatically settle the small amounts first. Consider their terms and understand how essential they are to your business.
- Maximise your payment effectiveness. Automate your payments through internet backing so your accounts are paid on time.
- Consider using a business credit card to settle bills immediately and pay the amount off over time or apply for business credit cards for staff who need to incur business expenditure regularly at various adhoc suppliers, thereby cutting down the paperwork and man hours associated with a reimbursement process.
- Offer your clients to the opportunity to pay you on a retainer basis. This will help them to manage their cash flow better and if a retainer is agreed, it will help you better manage the timing of cash coming into the business
- Research. Always make sure that your pricing of goods and services remain competitive when looking at companies within the industry that offer similar goods and services. Whilst conducting research, consider if there are any additional goods and services that you should be offering to your clients or customers.
- Track payments so you are aware of the timing of incoming cash, perhaps offering a discount on early settlement that will encourage clients to settle their accounts early, thus improving the cash flow of your business.
- Set earlier time frames for accounts to be settled. If you can request only COD or EFT payments as they are a lower risk way of trading. However, if clients or customers do need terms, then reduce these terms from 60 days to 30 days.
- Run credit checks on new clients or customers. It is critical for companies whose core business is manufacturing to undertake this prior to orders being processed. Nothing can sink a company faster than when they have manufactured an order of customised or company branded items that cannot be sold to defray expenses. Always ask for a 50% deposit before commencement of any order.
- Make sure you send out clear itemised billing statements so clients or customers are fully aware of what they owe and the length of time this has been outstanding.
- Divide work into stages or phases and request payment for each stage or phase before work continues on future stages or phases.