I’ve already written about the importance of a cash flow plan. So, did it make you run straight to your desk and start planning? Keep in mind, most cash flow plans are a forecast of what you see happening in the next 12 months, or even as little as 6 months in some cases. Base it on the goals you have set for your business.
There are many factors that dictate what will happen in the time frame you selected. There are a few things we know for certain, such as the cost of employees, loans, how quickly your customers pay their bills, and what your turn around time is to pay your vendors. Factor in things like future purchases and supplies, new employees and any capital expenditures, and, of course, paying yourself!
Some of my clients use software that sends out automated reminders to their clients. This way they are always aware of payments coming into their account and how late they are. One such method is to use an accounting software linked to PayPal.
Other ways to ensure your cash is there when you need it are:
- Ask for deposits when receiving orders; generally, people don’t mind paying 50% up front.
- Manage your Receivables properly; if your terms are net 30 days, ensure you receive your payments when due by possibly offering early payment discounts.
- Ensure a quick turnaround on inventory by not purchasing an abundance before it’s required.
- Invoice on a daily basis.
- Analyze which methods of receiving payment work fastest for you. There are so many ways to get payments today. For those on the road, there is even Square for debit and credit card payments upon delivery. PayPal, cheque. You name it!
- Never pay your own vendors until the payment terms are up. If you know a vendor will accept payment terms past 30 days, use this opportunity.
Always update your business plan (hopefully you have one of those!) and include a cash flow plan.
Need help? Contact me and I can help you prepare one.