Let’s talk about better cash flow – how to hold onto and conserve the cash you have on hand. This is not about cutting expenses; see Cutting Costs Now: 9 Hot Areas for Creative Small Business Owners. This is about holding onto your cash for as long as possible. For ways to collect cash faster, see 14 Ways to Collect Cash Faster.
Better cash flow can be achieved if you:
- Barter. Small businesses find that trading for goods and services will not only conserve cash; but also can substitute for borrowing and rack up savings. You don’t have to find a company to trade directly with; just join a barter network. Joining a group such as Corporate Barter Network gives you hundreds of local businesses and thousands nationally. In addition, they open your account with a credit so you can get started if there is something you need before someone else buys from you.
- Ask for credit terms. Many bills can be paid in 30 days. But be sure you pay on time or your credit agreement could be removed. You want to keep that relationship on an even keel as well as avoid late payment charges.
- Pay when bills are due, and not before. To save time, you can write your checks every week, but don’t mail them until two or three days before they are due. The time frame depends on the mail delay.
- Create a forecast of incoming and outgoing cash expected for the next three months. Continue to forecast your cash flow monthly to ensure that expenses and planned expenditures are in line with accounts receivable. Avoid using your credit line if you can.
- Create a 30-day wish list before committing any new spending. If there is something you think your business needs and it is NOT directly related to delivery for a customer, pause before buying. You’ll get better cash flow by slowing your spending decisions.
- Remove discretionary spending authority. If anyone besides you makes purchase decisions, say your spouse or your assistant or a partner, agree that nothing will be purchased before specifically discussing it. This may seem like a small thing especially if we’re talking about postage or office supplies, but can conserve cash and possibly reduce spending.
- Create a self-imposed moratorium on new spending. Unless you can find something else of equal value to remove or suspend. This exercise will help you rethink if the new item is going to provide enough value to supplant something else. For example, if you want to add a marketing campaign which costs $100 a month you might find a way to cut your telecom costs by $100 a month.
- Cut Inventory. Think you don’t have any inventory if you are a service business; what about office supplies? Buying just what you need for the moment, conserves cash and keeps the employees and yourself from taking them home for needs there.
- Buy Used. Furniture Soup here in Reading sells previously enjoyed furniture at dramatically discounted prices. Other items typically available used include books.
- Re-negotiate with your suppliers, lenders, and landlord. You value these relationships and so do they. Ask if there is anything you can do to pay on a slower schedule, remove travel charges (hey, gas is down 50%), or reduce shipping charges.
- Implement a cost cutting program with a top 3 list. For a simple system, see A Cunning Cost Cutting System for the Busy Business Owner. This way you’ll consistently cut costs without losing focus on building your customer base and keeping up revenues.
So summing up, better cash flow comes from spending less, spending slower and speeding income. See Does Your Client Pay Slow? for more on speeding income. Give me comments below. What’s happening with your cash flow?
Now stop reading about better cash flow and start doing! Let’s create your personal profit strategies for growing profit today. Call small business profitability coach Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP®. She can be reached at 888-920-2030 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Seek new clients, seize better income, capture more profit”