Cash flow is one of the issues SMEs struggle with the most. It is a topic much discussed and many owners of Small Businesses will confirm that it is a major concern of theirs.
In order to keep your business' cash flowing you will have to make sure you are managing your cash properly. Careful cash management is generating revenues that bring in more cash than you are spending on your stock, your team and other business expenses and to manage this on an ongoing basis. It boils down to collecting data, reviewing and analysing it and then distributing cash where it is most needed. This may sound quite straight forward but most small and medium sized businesses fail to take the necessary steps in this regard.
1. Cash Forecasting
You should review your expenses such as rent, inventory, salaries and wages and taxes on a regular basis. It’s important to always know what costs you have and make a plan for the future as to what those costs will be and when they will hit your bank balance. Plan exactly when and how much you will be spending and always ask yourself why you are spending the money on each expense. This way you will be able to see what your necessary expenses are and which ones you could save on. There are various cash forecasting tools that can help you map out your spendings.
2. Monitor incoming payments
Check your accounts regularly for payments coming in. Late payments are a problem that many SMEs face and they can often be the reason for running low on cash. To avoid this make sure you invoice your customers promptly and to send invoices to the right person. Keep track of outstanding payments and take measures to chase late payments. There is nothing wrong with giving customers a nudge. A great, non-invasive, way of doing this is sending out reminder emails to encourage customers to pay outstanding bills. Visually appealing emails, with a simple call to action, such as "Pay Now", linking to a payment site, will go a long way.
3. Dream big, stay humble
Having a grand vision of your business' future is important and ambition is desired. However, it is important to stay realistic. The only certainty you have is that the future of any business is uncertain. Even if you can follow a particular patterns in earnings, it doesn't mean that these will continue as such. You cannot predict the behaviour of potential customers and rates change all the time, in an unpredictable way. Therefore it is smart to expect the worst while working for the best, when managing your business' cash.
4. Maximise the returns on your cash holdings
An aspect almost always neglected by SMEs is making sure that the business' cash holdings are generating the maximum amount of returns, based on the best rates of the market. This is partially due to a lack of awareness of market activity, but mostly it is a lack of time and resources to scan the market for the best rates and then moving the business' money around accordingly. Akoni stepped up and created a tool to automate this process. We provide a platform that scans the market for the best rates and cash can then be continuously allocated in a way that will maximise returns, in just a few clicks. In this way you can make extra money for your business while not adding another task to the to-do list.
If you follow these basic guidelines your business will be in a secure position to continue running and you can properly facilitate growth with healthy cash flow.