It’s a whole new year. Now that we’ve entered the second month of the year, it’s time for businesses to shake off the holiday hangover, and try to get back to regular business programming. The question is: where do you start?
The holiday season often leaves a lot of unfinished work, uncollected payments, and excess inventory. January is typically a stressful month for business owners as this is when cash flow problems pop up. Work often slows down and not enough money comes in as consumers tend to relax from spending. Yet, the bills are piling up and taxes and other such payment obligations need to be completed.
After ticking the boxes off your business’s financial health checklist, make use of the four tips to regain positive cash flow and make sure your business gets off to a smooth start:
Make a financial to-do list
Before you embark on improving your cash flow management, it is ideal to get organized with the things that you need to do not only for the next two weeks but also for the rest of the year. Listing all your tasks will allow you to decide which things need to be prioritized. This will also help lessen the stress as you finally have a clear picture of what you have to do and what you are in control of.
A financial to-do list may look like this:
- Pay bills that are due
- Separate accounts payables that are due in the short term and long term
- Avail of early payment discounts with suppliers to save on cash
- Schedule bills to be paid in the next months
- Prepare tax payments – taking note of tax filing schedule and any tax changes
- Prioritize invoices that are due and payable
- Update inventory or review the services you offer
- Review your capital equipment and explore leaseback options
- Renegotiate any lease agreements
- Review operational expenditures
While you’re working on your financial to-do list, you might also simultaneously review your business operations and check if you can cut back on business costs.
Send out your invoices right away
Sending out your invoices without delay is key to getting paid on time. If you were able to send out all your invoices before the Christmas and holiday break, you’ll need to follow up on them now. Don’t wait for your overdue invoices to pile up. Remember, creditors who make the first noise, make the loudest noise.
If you find yourself overburdened with too many invoices, outsource your accounts receivables to a debt collection agency, like Slater Byrne Recoveries, and we take care of following up on any outstanding balances and collecting the payments, so you get peace of mind and the cash you need as soon as possible. Make timely debt collection a part of your cash flow management.
Do a cash flow forecast
Doing a simple cash flow forecast can help get you through even the toughest times. And there’s no better time to do this than at the start of the year. Conduct a forecast for the first quarter using data of your expenses and sales from the previous years. This way, you can get a clearer picture of how much cash your business will need to operate comfortably in the next couple of months.
Use this forecast to come up with a more efficient budget and more effective invoicing terms that can increase your profit margin and cash flow. You can do the forecast with the help of your accountant, outsource if you don’t have one in-house, as well as the use of an accounting software. Also, make sure that all your financial data are accurate and up to date.
Review your credit terms
Late payments are among the major causes of cash flow problems for a lot of businesses, especially small businesses. Avoid this issue by reviewing and adjusting your credit terms. Consider negotiating more efficient payment terms with your current slow-paying customers. It’s also best to implement stronger credit control procedures for new clients.
Growing your business and maintaining positive cash flow is not a walk in the park. Profitable businesses were not made overnight and require stringent cash flow management. For more tips and suggestions on how to properly manage your cash flow for the rest of the year, get in touch with us here at Slater Byrne Recoveries. We have a team of highly skilled and experienced debt specialists who are always ready to assist you and your business.
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Liam White joined the Slater Byrne Recoveries team in early 2013. He has worked across the credit & dispute resolution industry for a number of years. He is currently working in a Marketing/Head of Sales capacity at Slater Byrne Recoveries.