Reading time: 2 Minutes
According to Hong Kong businessman Sir David Tang, the three most dreaded words in the English language are “negative cash flow.” Regus research shows that 49 percent of you think cash flow is the biggest challenge facing startups, so here are some tips to help you ensure your liquidity doesn’t dry out.
Plan, plan, plan
Create a 12-month action plan. Predicting profits is fun, but tracking cash flow is more realistic – and the earnings will take care of themselves. Make it crystal clear when payments are due in all your dealings with suppliers and clients.
Use online technology to create a clear and streamlined cash flow model. Take advantage of cloud-based accounting so you can check in on your business details when you’re on the go. Go paperless with email invoices, creating an instant record and reducing the need for filing.
Engineer your income
Make payments into your accounts more predictable. Whenever possible, use direct deposit so you know when you’ll be paid. Our research shows that 72 percent of you dislike late invoice payments so much that you think legal penalties should be introduced to deter deadbeat clients. If you need to, adjust your targeted client base. Reliable, fast-paying clients might be more valuable than big-name but less consistent partners.
Master your expenses
Keeping attrition low is essential to maintaining a sustainable cash flow. While using a payroll provider might sound pricey, it could actually save you money by taking care of taxes and legal issues. We found that you don’t believe you’re getting clear enough information on the financial management of small businesses – so get the experts to do it for you. For short-term gaps in cash flow, consider alternative funding. Many banks partner with businesses that specialize in providing invoice financing or trade supplier payments, allowing you the opportunity to bid for larger projects and take advantage of cash buyer discounts with suppliers.
Communication is key
When you’re tight on cash flow, payments that don’t arrive on time can cause serious issues. If you don’t inform your bank as soon as you hit troubled waters, they might freeze your credit, causing lasting damage to your supplier relationships. A quick phone call to your bank manager can help you avoid a lot of trouble. Apply this logic to all your stakeholders. Swift, clear communication is key – speak to clients, suppliers and creditors about potential payment problems before they happen, and you’ll give your business the best chance of steering back into calmer waters.