Cash Flow Management
Cash flow is the lifeblood of a business. It keeps the doors open, the lights on and the business growing.
But it can also be one of the hardest parts of a business to manage, particularly when you’re in growth mode.
Today I want to share with you a simple projection method to keep an eye on your cash flow, as well as some tips on managing cash flow in times of hardship.
Lean and Uncertain Times
Lean times can happen in any business. These can be seasonal, industry-specific, unplanned gaps between jobs or just a quiet time for your business.
Generally lean times have a known end timeframe and may even be predictable if you’ve been in your business for a while. Hence you can usually plan for them and manage your cash flow accordingly with a little planning.
Uncertain times can also happen in any business but are far less frequent. They are also often out of your control and may have no known end timeframe. The current (March 2019) Coronavirus pandemic is a good example of this.
When any form of hardship hits your business, cash flow becomes a top priority.
Without a cash flow management plan in place, you can end up in crisis mode, making panic-based decisions. And it becomes a time-consuming, heart-wrenching task.
Do you have a cash flow management plan in your business? Or do you only look at your cash flow when it becomes a problem?
By setting up a simple cash flow projection process, future lean or uncertain times won’t be as hard to work your way through. A little planning will save you lots of time later when you enter the next lean or uncertain time in your business (and there will be more!).
If business is slow now due to a current ‘crisis’, use this time to get stuck into setting up your cash flow projection. Establish your current business reality and prepare your business for the future.
Imagine entering the next lean period knowing that you have planned for this time in your business. You saw it coming and in some instances, you may have even averted it by creating additional sales or pulled back expenses to work through it. What a feeling!
Cash Flow Projecting
To help you get started creating a simple cash flow projection, I’ve created a free downloadable Cash Flow Predictor spreadsheet.
The spreadsheet contains an Instructions tab explaining how to use it, an Example tab showing what it should look like once completed, and a Cash Flow Predictor template to use for your business.
Cash Flow Management Tips
Projecting your cash flow and identifying issues ahead of time is ideal. And with a Cash Flow Predictor system in place, you can do that from now on.
But what other things can you do right now to slow down the movement of cash in and out of your business if you find yourself in crisis mode?
Here are a few simple tips:
- Pay your invoices on or near the due date, not before
- Request to put on hold for 1 to 3 months any subscriptions or regular services on monthly payments you can do without in the short term. Some will allow you to do this but you have to ask
- Ask for extensions on invoices due if you will have trouble meeting the due date
- Manage your debtors closely – chase outstanding debts for payment dates and negotiate at least part payment on an agreed plan if your debtors are also having trouble paying
- Speak to the Australian Tax Office (or your countries equivalent) if you have employees and may have delays in paying any tax-related bills eg in Australia PAYG WithholdingTax, BAS, Super. They are usually happy to work with you, especially if you give them advance notice
- Current expenses should only be necessary items and all business purchases should be managed closely
- Keep calm!
A note on credit: While some businesses manage credit and loans well and to their advantage, in times of crisis it is easy to get into debt that becomes unmanageable. If you do use credit, get the best deal possible with a loan/credit and look closely at the term, conditions and interest rates. When business levels return, pay it back as quickly as possible.
Cash is King
Understand your cash flow is the key to managing your business through lean and uncertain times.
With future planning, consistently managing your cash year-round and treating the cash in your business like a king, you can create a different result for any future lean or uncertain times in your business.
I’d love to hear how you go using the Cash Flow Predictor.
You can reach me on email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take care out there,