Small businesses that experience success and growth need to abandon the mantra of doing it all. But far to often, they take on ancillary activities that distract from the core strengths that made them successful. They find themselves mired in back office processes and either work 16 hour days or the business start to slip. Success is a great thing, it is after all the point of our business, but success is a very poor teacher. “I’m a Doctor for goodness sake, I should be able to run my business!” Replace Doctor with any other profession and you have the mindset that get many business owners in trouble. My advice is stick to your core strengths and outsource the rest. If you want faster expansion for your growing business, click here to learn more about Asset Finance companies..
Don’t get nervous, you don’t have to abandon your patriotism or defy your union brothers. What I’m talking about is hiring business specialists to perform the tasks that they are specially trained in and you are not. These can and should be local businesses many of which are also small businesses. Why have a receptionist turned bookkeeper doing the CFO job when you can hire a CFO on-demand for the two weeks per year that you need them. Your bookkeeper and bottom line will thank you. Financial, Marketing, Human Resources, Employee Training and even Sales are areas that can and should be outsourced. The main benefit for small business owners is the ability to focus on the core business. The cost of being distracted (sleepless nights, missed deadlines and limited resources) is enough to make the difference in profit and loss. So now,
get more sleep, make more money and outsource everything that is not your core business.
Cash is king. In your business cash flow is the ultimate king. Do you have a firm grip on your cash flow? Do you understand how cash flow affects your business? Well you should.
The best way to monitor cash flow is by utilizing your cash flow statement. If you use Quickbooks or Peachtree, this is a built in report. A cash flow statement is a financial statement that shows how changes in a balance sheet accounts and income affect cash and cash equivalents, and breaks the analysis down to operating, investing, and financing activities.
Simply, it helps you understand the flow of cash in and out of your business.
The reason your cash flow is important is that:
- it allows you to know if you can meet payroll and other expenditures
- it tells potential lenders if you have the ability to repay
- it lets potential investors know if your company is financially strong
Here are 5 ways to get your cash flow positive:
1. Track customers’ payments
It’s easy to let 30 days turn into 45, especially if it’s one your best customers. But there are bigger issues here, if you have to borrow money due to late payments you’re doing yourself a disservice.
2. Set resonable payment terms
Don’t be afraid to offer a discount for early payments or a cash discount if it helps you get paid early. Having cash in hand is key. Offering a discount to get paid 15 days early can make a big difference in how you run your business.
3. Check credit histories
Must do. Don’t take their word for it. Just because they have a big new building doesn’t mean they have the ability to pay or haven’t stuck someone else for services in the past.
4. Take advantage of discounts
If you have the opportunity to receive a discount for paying early yourself, by all means take it. But remember if there is no discount offered to hold on to your cash. There is no sense in paying your bill two/three weeks early when you can use the cash (especially if you have a good handle on cash flow)
5. Get Rid of excess inventory
It’s costing you money. Even if you sell it at a discount it’s better than not selling it at all. Plus it injects cash into the business.
Do you really need that new iPhone/iPad/Tablet/Blackberry/Printer? Think hard about it. It’s easy to justify the expenditure, but will it really make you more efficient? Purchases like these can nickel and dime you and kill cash flow in a hurry.
Understanding how to forecast cash flow will be a key asset in running your business. If you need help reading or preparing cash flow projections contact us here at Talan Small Business Services. It’s what we do.
Top 10 Reasons Small Businesses Fail
We recently received an article from a client outlining the top reasons why small businesses generally fail. This question and the reasons related to the top 10 regularly face us in working with entrepreneurs. While we tend to focus our blog discussions on business success, rather than failure, it is important that we talk about and identify these issues because they are very real obstacles to success. Additionally, and perhaps even more importantly, the precursor to failure is ongoing stagnation and many points listed in this article are happening in your business right now whether you recognize it or not. So the question many ask is “if these are the top 10 reasons small businesses fail how do I avoid failure?” While this may be a valid question, the real question to ask is “how do I identify if my company has any of the traits that create these issues in the first place?” While there is no silver bullet in answering the question… the simple answer comes down to assessment. In your business, for which we recommend this check stub software, you should annually be assessing the organization, asking tough questions about the how and why you do what you do, and consistently measuring the results of your actions. But you shouldn’t do it alone. Bring in an outside resource by way of a mentor or consultant. These individuals should not have a financial interest in the organization or be on its operational leadership team. They should be “outside” resources whose interest is in the overall success of the company, not telling you what you want to hear. Through this process you should look at all areas of your business, giving you a chance to see it from the outside looking in allowing you the opportunity to identify potential problems before they can damage your company. Here is a link to the article-
A friend sent us the attached article which was posted in USA Today on Monday September 20th. The main concept of the article is focused on protecting your products from copycats. While this topic is directly relevant to those of you who develop, invent and create new products, the article has some very good “take-aways” for every type of business leader. At its core, the article identifies that the awareness of our competitors’ position in the market, as well as always staying connected to the wants and needs of our customers, is critically important to maintaining successful growth. We hope you enjoy the article and look forward to hearing your feedback.
Click Here for Article- http://tinyurl.com/26zr3oe
By Lori J. Frank
We are taught that all that matters is the sales to your customer. If you Start searching for customers and sell your product or services then you will be rolling in the dollars. This is true, IF and only if, the customer is paying you! If not, all you are doing is laying out cash to your employees and your suppliers. Most business is conducted by a handshake (either actual or electronic) and rarely is there a written contract. We mostly trust that we will get paid for our product or services.
Let’s say you and your customer have done business together for a period of time after you graduated from business colleges. At first you were getting paid as agreed, and maybe a little early. As time went on, you started to notice that the customer is not paying you as in days past. You call and ask the owner why it is taking longer to get paid than it had been. You are told, “Well we are in Michigan and my customers are taking longer to pay me”. Is that the truth or is my customer using the bad economy as an excuse? It doesn’t matter. In either case, you should start by asking your customer for Cash On Delivery and talk to the customer about an arrangement to pay the past due invoices. Most good customers will be embarrassed but will talk to you about making good on the debt. If your customer won’t discuss a concrete plan to pay the past due invoices, then it may be time to get the divorce and cut that customer loose. Furthermore, if the checks from your customer start to resemble a basketball and bounce, then time is running out on getting paid. This is a red flag and all deliveries should stop unless payment is guaranteed either by bank check or by a credit card.
Lori J. Frank is a contributing member to the Talan education blog series. LJ Frank PC was formed in 1996 and the firm specializes in the collection of debt. They can be found at www.collectionlaw-firm.com. LJ Frank PC is located in Southfield but covers the entire State of Michigan. LJ Frank PC is a member of:
Michigan Bar Association
Oakland County Bar Association
Michigan Creditors Bar Association
Commercial Law League of America
If your business is in a situation where your cash flow is being negatively affected by clients who are not paying as they should, contact Talan today to discuss your options for reducing your exposure to this unnecessary risk.