Cash Flow is the Small Business Killer
How many of you in small businesses have a problem with your cash flow?
As you yell out a resounding YES, please keep reading for some tips on how you can improve this issue in your small business.
Cash flow is the small business killer because so many people forget to run their business in a way that promotes the idea of money coming in regularly. Small Business owners are just so busy riding the big roller coaster that they forget many important things that could help.
Do you know how much you need to generate in sales to be a viable business for your goals?
By viable business, I mean that the sales you generate meet your goals for yourself and your business. This amount is different for everyone – some small businesses may have the plan of $100 per day and others $1000 + per day.
What are your monthly or weekly sales goals?
Remember that sales do not equal profit, so using your budget, you should be able to determine your profit after your expenses (fixed and variable expenses). Some businesses will have far higher costs than others, so your business is different from others.
One key aspect of your business is consistent income. So consistent income means that you have money coming in each week, month or quarter that you can expect and count on to sustain your business.
As mentioned above, everyone’s goals are different, and I think it is essential that while you are creating your goals, they also need to be achievable. Yes, create big hairy audacious goals but ensure that you have small goals to collect along the way.
The smaller goals will ensure you can meet your end goal that much easier as you celebrate the little goals along the way.
- A monthly subscription
- Payment schedules/plans
- Reminders to your clients
- Consistent marketing via social media
- Consistent newsletters or email offers
- Getting a deposit upfront and then a payment schedule if your work is complete over several weeks or months
- Could your service offer change to suit your cash flow better
- Do your products work via a regular subscription 8weeks, 12weeks
What are others in your industry doing?
How can you create regular income in your business?
Here are a few simple ideas based on different business types.
Accountants – get your clients on a monthly retainer; this way, you have a flow throughout the year instead of receiving the money once each year, and your clients don’t have a hefty bill.
Bookkeepers – just like accountants, you can have regular income each month.
Car Cleaners – Set your clients up on a regular booking schedule so that you remind them and book them in.
Dog walkers – This is an easy one but perhaps offer a discount for them to direct debit and lock into a monthly debt.
Electrician – Invest in a professional website; less than 50% of tradies have one. Don’t just set and forget; make it work for you. Send your clients reminders about smoke alarms and other electrical requirements throughout the year.
Food Supply – Weekly or monthly subscription is very popular for delivery straight to your client’s doors, and your income is regular.
Gifts – Offer a reminder service, hamper delivery, email update on new stock, occasion reminder etc.
Hairdresser – Book your client’s next appointment while there and offer a product subscription.
Jewellery Maker – A professional website will be essential, notification of events throughout the year, reminders of special occasions and reasons for people to buy and invest in your pieces.
Knitters – You are running a handmade business and maybe made to order, but you can still have a regular income. What item can you make over and over that people want and love that you can sell wholesale to stores all year round or perhaps Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere?
Lawn Mowing – Make sure your clients know that you will be there each fortnight through summer and monthly through winter, set them on a payment schedule and don’t let them get behind. Using a direct debit system may be vital in getting your cash flow throughout the year, perhaps a weekly payment to make it cheaper for your client, and you will do their lawn 22 times each year.
Maintenance company – If you are offering maintenance as a handyman or similar, you will be wise to look at working for real estate or similar for a portion of your workload. The chances of you receiving regular work orders can be far higher than you just relying on residential work. Naturally, you should have a website and an easy way for people to remember you via a fridge magnet, business card or newsletter that you email them.
Naturopath – Your regular clients should all be signed up for a series of sessions and payments; make sure you book the next appointment after each session and reminder your client of the benefits of your service and the regular treatment you offer.
Optician – Sending out regular reminders for upcoming appointments or phone calls will help your clients prioritise their eyes. Also, newsletters and information as to why you are their local eye care specialist will help create a continuity of cash flow.
Plumber – Your regular maintenance work will provide ongoing income. If your clients are real estate or strata companies, they will have blocks that will need regular maintenance, and then you will have steady cash flow. Be smart and offer a reminder service to them, and make sure you have a professional website for them to view your business information.
Quality Assurance – As a consultant, you will have regular clients you see throughout the year and get them on a payment plan or schedule to help their cash flow and yours.
Retailer – A little trickier, but emailing through new products will inspire regular purchases. Think about a subscription service that suits your business type; they are hugely popular and mean that you have an ongoing income while that subscription runs.
Solicitor – Assuming you specialise in a legal area, this will be key to generating your cash flow and marketing your service. When we have legal work done, it needs to be updated in the future, so staying in touch will be critical. There are often reasons for companies to put their solicitors on retainer, which will be an excellent way for your cash flow to be consistent into the future.
Tyre repair and replacement – This is again a business where sending reminders and staying top of mind with your clients is vital, plus having an online presence so people can find you is crucial. Think about add-on services like muffler replacement, servicing etc., if that can be a part of your business to help with regular cash flow.
Upholstery repair/replacement – It is essential to have interior decorators and designers who regularly come to you with their projects. In conjunction with one-off work, they will give you an average level of cash flow for your business.
Vehicle repairer – The regular maintenance of vehicles will keep your cash flow going, have a reminder service for your clients so they never miss their next service or special that you have on offer.
Writer – Writers come in many shapes and sizes with specialities such as author, copywriter, scriptwriter and more. Your area of expertise and if you can be on a retainer or receive regular work is always different, but just like any business, you need to get out there and get known. So having a website, online social presence, and more is just the start and staying in touch with your clients’ ongoing means that they will remember you when they need something.
X, Y, Z, Yoga Instructor – Fitness instructors usually get their clients onto a regular debt schedule, so cash flow should not be an issue. Here it is essential to look at your budget and see that you are doing enough to do enough to reach your budget with what you are doing. If you can’t, you need to change things as soon as possible; don’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.
Apologies for condensing the last three, but I struggled to find businesses; let me know what I missed.
These are just a few ideas, and hopefully, your business is listed above, or you can relate to one or more ideas on increasing and creating a regular flow of cash into your business.