Owning a small business can be both a challenge and a fulfilling opportunity. It allows you to be in control of your own operation but can present a lot of aspects that can quickly get out of control – cash flow, for instance. Having enough money to operate your business – from being able to keep inventory in stock to be able to pay employees – can be a struggle for some small businesses and most businesses that end up failing do so because of cash flow problems. What are the most common cash flow problems in a small business and what are the best ways for businesses to avoid these issues and stay successful?
The best ways to avoid cash blow problems in business
Here’s how to avoid cash flow problems in your small business.
1. Know your numbers
Conducting regular financial analysis is important. Analyzing and understanding financial statements is a crucial part of getting a handle on your cash flow. Having an understanding of how your money is being spent – on salaries and higher utility expenses like heating in the winter or cooling in the summer – as well as an understanding of potential revenue forecasts – like sales and investment payouts – is foundational in preventing cash flow problem.
2. Invoice your customers quickly and make it easy for them to pay
If you’re providing a service on an invoice basis, it’s important to get your invoices out quickly. Sending them through email with a link to payment is an easy way to encourage faster customer payment. If you’re an in-person vendor, having multiple ways to pay, like Venmo or through a tablet that enables payments from debit cards, credit cards, and cash, can bring in more customers. You can also offer a discount if customers pay invoices early or pay for something in cash, which allows you to not have to pay credit card processing fees.
3. Know your credit options
Sometimes cash flow problems can be alleviated with a good loan. Maintaining good relationships with your creditors is important, as is staying up to date on your vendor payments. Small loans can help tide your business over in an emergency or during periods of extreme and rapid growth.
4. Stay organized
Staying on top of payments and expenses is key. You don’t want to pay bills late, as this may incur your business fees and late charges. You don’t want to file taxes late or pay employees late, because there may be fees, fines, and penalties associated with that. Essentially, staying organized can help save your business money through helping you avoid additional, unnecessary fees and expenses.
5. Examine your expenses
Are there things your business can live without paying for? If not, can you change vendors to save money or get by with less? This can seem like a hassle but might be instrumental in helping save your business money and avoid cash flow problems.
6. Keep the best people on the payroll
Salary expenses are likely the take up the biggest chunk of your cash, so make sure you’re employing the highest quality staff, particularly in finance or accounting departments. Salary might be one of the first places you’re tempted to save money and curb cash flow problems, but it’s important to continue to pay employees competitively.
Preventing cash flow problems requires a proactive approach. It’s important to know your current financial situation, upcoming financial expenses, and expected invoices, as well as have an understanding of your business goals and projected timelines. Cash flow problems in small businesses don’t need to be disastrous. You can prevent many of them by being educated on your expenses and market and handle many of them with planning on the forefront, including potentially getting more funding for your business through small business loans.