Wednesday 5th Feb 2020
Cash flow is widely understood to be the lifeblood for businesses both small and large. Without it, it can be difficult to meet those monthly commitments, such as rent, wages and product costs. Unfortunately, it’s very common for SMEs to have cash flow problems, arising for all manner of reasons. Fortunately, there are different ways to improve cash flow. Let’s take a look at some of them here.
Maximising your bottom line
It seems obvious, but one of the key ways you can resolve cash flow problems is to improve the difference between your income and outgoings. Generating new revenue is clearly the trickier element to this, so you should look to free up cash each and every month as a first port of call. Many businesses are surprised by the amount they can save through a diligent fact finder that looks at where costs could be saved.
This isn’t about having a knee-jerk reaction and making sweeping changes to the business - it’s about looking at how small savings can quickly add up. Contracts for things like energy and insurance are two places in which another look at the market could end up saving you a considerable amount of cash. Go to the different parts of the business, and see where people have ideas to reduce costs without fundamental changes to the way things work.
Better invoice management
Late invoices are one of the biggest contributors to cash flow problems. Often, a business is successful, and balancing income and outgoings isn’t too much of a problem. However, if customers aren’t paying their invoices when they should, it can make bringing cash into the business really difficult. There are a few ways you can improve this, at various stages in the process. The first thing to bear in mind is that you need to make invoice terms as clear as possible, which will reduce the likelihood of customers pushing things to the limit. You’ll also need to take a proactive approach to chasing invoices when they fall late - never allow a late payment to be your own fault for not chasing enough.
There are a variety of financial products available on the market that can help you get round cash flow issues. Overdrafts can be useful if you find that you rarely have cash flow issues, perhaps at certain points of the year. You can use the cash when you need it, and then repay when things even out, without having to have an ongoing commitment or negotiate every time you need finance. Invoice finance is another option that seeks to resolve the issue of cash flow, particularly when it comes to late payments of invoices. In short, it means that you don’t have to wait for a customer to pay to receive money into your account.