The first post in this mini series is related to this issue of cash-flow and so will be many that follow. Cash-flow is the central and most critical management objective for every small business and start-up business, like SOHO-, SME, SMB-, Micro-, Lifestyle-, Home-, DIY-, Hobby-, Boomer-, Professional-, Personal business.
T o perform this small business health-check, ask your self the following questions:
- Do I have a written plan and cash-flow forecast for my business? As I said before, without it it is like driving with your eyes shut.
- Am I efficient in achieving those aims? We often allow non-core issues and irrelevant stuff to “steal” our time, or we are so overwhelmed by work that we do not have the time to stand back and look at our small business – take the time and make those decisions.
- Do you have a feel how my small business works financially? If not, you must be feeling uncomfortable most of the time, again take the time and feel better about your small business.
- When did I plan and monitor my cash-flow last? You need to do this at least once a week or if something happens that is not in the plan. Check your cash-flow each time before you make a bigger purchase or hire staff which is not in the plan, you will quiet easily see if you can afford to do it or not.
- How much reserves does my business have? The best peace of mind is when your small business has substantial reserves, do you have any or are you at least planning to get a 2-3 month reserve buffer?
- Have I re-negociated my terms with my suppliers? What if your suppliers gave you 60 or even 90 days payment terms – put that in your cash-flow and smile, it’s instant reserve. You need to pay your suppliers on time, only then will they trust you enough to give you the extra long payment terms.
- Am I chasing my clients for payment adequately? Do you know the average number of days you clients need to pay you? Give incentives – 2 % off if you pay within 7 days – try and keep your average well below 30 days. If you have not enough time to do credit control outsource it.
- Do I need my overdraft? If you get better payment terms fro your suppliers and do a better job at credit control, you may not need your overdraft anymore, which will save you a lot of money. Don’t cancel your overdraft, but make sure you only pay for it when and if you use it – shop around. On those terms you should get an overdraft, even if you do not need it, so if something unexpected happens you got the cash-flow reserve.
The importance of your cash-flow situation can not be overestimated, as long as you can pay your bills you are in business – as the saying goes: Cash Is King!
You can see other reasons for small business and personal business, like contractors, freelancer, self-employed, sole-trader and virtual assistants failures in my Health Check Category, if you can add to this list please do so, I would welcome your comments.