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How To Prevent Cash Flow From Ruining Your Business

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There are many potential threats to your business, which you’ll have to manage on an ongoing basis. Competition could move in to threaten your territory. Defective products could cause you to lose consumer confidence. Your employees could leave or stop caring about the business. But one of the most dangerous threats is cash flow-the volume of cash coming into and going out of the business at any given time. If your business reaches negative cash flow and you have no way to compensate for it or recover, your business could go under.

So why does cash flow have the power to kill so many businesses, and what can you do to protect yours?

The Power of Cash Flow

Let’s start by evaluating why cash flow is so important to the life and sustainability of a given business. Cash represents your buying power, and your buying power is necessary for most aspects of your business. For example, you’ll need cash on hand to maintain your office and equipment, pay your vendors, and keep paying your employees. If you’re defaulting on your loans and your employees aren’t getting a paycheck, it won’t be long before your business is forced to close its doors.

Cash flow is also a point of vulnerability because it’s affected by multiple variables. Multiple elements of business management could impact the state of your cash flow, including:

  • How many paying customers you have. If you’re dealing with a customer shortage, you won’t have enough incoming revenue to cover your expenses, forcing you to tap your lines of credit (until they, too, inevitably dry up).
  • How you invoice your customers. Using a reliable invoice template will help you invoice your customers consistently. If you forget to send invoices, or if you don’t follow up on invoices you’ve sent that haven’t been paid, eventually, you’ll end up with a cash flow shortage.
  • How you manage expenses. Buying too much at once or allowing your expenses to accumulate endlessly can put a huge burden on your cash flow management.
  • How you pay your bills. Even the timing of your bill payments can have an impact on your cash flow, if you needlessly drain your cash to pay a bill prematurely.

All it takes is one major disruption in one of these areas to create a cash flow problem, and if that problem is allowed to grow worse, that could be it for your business.

Improving Cash Flow in Your Business

So what steps can you take to improve your cash flow?

  • Appoint a cash flow authority. First, it’s a good idea to put someone in charge of cash flow management. This designated authority, usually someone in your accounting department, will be responsible for keeping a close eye on your incoming and outgoing funds, and taking action if and when it looks like you’ll come up short. Most cash flow problems arise when nobody is watching the finances, so if you’re making weekly reports, you should be able to take proactive action before the problem gets any worse.
  • Keep a tight leash on purchases. The fewer outgoing expenses you have, the less likely you’ll be to face a cash flow problem. Reducing the number of loans and credit payments you have, as well as restricting purchases, can make your cash go further.
  • Conduct credit checks on new customers. Non-payment from customers is a major source of cash flow stress, but you can avoid at least some of this pressure by conducting proactive credit checks on all your customers. You should be able to weed out your biggest threats immediately.
  • Perfect your invoicing (and follow up). Iron out your invoicing practices. You should be invoicing customers consistently, in the same ways, and with terms that work in your favor. You also need a documented process for following up with customers who don’t pay you on time (because it will happen eventually). Polite, but firm emails are a good first step, followed by phone calls, then more aggressive action.
  • Carefully manage your inventory. Don’t keep more in your inventory than you currently need. Excessive levels of production or storage will be like sequestering cash, rendering it unusable for you. Inventory needs to play a role in your overall cash management.
  • Time your outgoing payments. Always pay bills as late as possible. This allows you to keep your cash for the longest period of time, helping you stay positive.

The good news about cash flow is that it’s usually a problem only because of some other fundamental problem in your business, whether it’s a shortage of incoming cash or excessive expenses. It’s entirely in your power to prevent a cash flow problem before it arises—as long as you take it seriously.

This article originally appeared on ValueWalk. Follow ValueWalk on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Business

WWE CEO Vince McMahon Is The Most Alpha Boss Human Being Alive…

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WWE owner Vince McMahon may very well be the most #boss CEO in the world.

Not only did he turn a frowned-upon pro wrestling company into a national treasure, he catapulted it into a publicly-traded, billion-dollar juggernaut.

Not to mention, he essentially created pay-per-view—the same model that made Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather the highest-paid fighters ever. 

He also built the model for live streaming, which the big networks (ESPN, HBO, Fox etc.) have now copied. 

Despite all his CEOness, Vince McMahon, at his core, is a total G. One time on HBO, in his mind, he was being spoken down to by host Bob Costas.

My man Vinnie almost snaps the mug in half with his teeth. Then says, “I’m a fighter, OK? I enjoy fighting, by the way.”

Just pure machismo oozing out of his pores. 

But quite possible the single-most alpha thing McMahon has done is the way he fired his ex-champ Ultimate Warrior. And not on TV—but in real life, like a CEO of a multi-million dollar international corporation.

According to Vince, the Ultimate Warrior was demanding a $500K raise, right there, on the spot, just prior to his scheduled match with Hulk Hogan vs. a team of anti-American opponents.

“My responsibility is to present what I have advertised. My responsibility is to the audience,” McMahon said about the situation. “So I reluctantly agreed to Warrior’s demand, knowing what I was going to do as soon as he came out of the ring.”

Although later legal discoveries revealed that it actually came a full month before in a five-page long handwritten letter, which McMahon supposedly agreed to.

Still, McMahon wasn’t about to be bullied without repercussions. “It gave me great pleasure to fire him and to let him know why I was doing it.”

Soon as Warrior stepped backstage, he was presented with a BRUTAL suspension letter from Vince, splattered with alpha machismo on all sorts of levels.

The gems are plentiful and come in abundance and rapidly so.

“You’ve become a legend in your own mind; you’re certainly entitled to your opinion.”

“You’ve become impossible to work with.”

“Your behavior has become unreliable and erratic.”

Then there’s the many, many reasons why he shouldn’t be paid as well as Hulk Hogan.

Anyway, check it out.

Dear Jim:

As you know, on September 23, 1987, you signed a Booking Contract with Titan Sports. At the time you signed the Contract, you were a relatively obscure wrestler with an enthusiastic professed desire to succeed. I therefore invested a substantial amount of time, money, and a sincere energy to develop your talents and person as a worldwide WWF Superstar wrestler, such that you have been able to be successful and achieve stardom status throughout the world.

Unfortunately, it now appears the fame that you have obtained through the efforts of Titan has gone to your head. Frankly, you have become impossible to work with, and have completely forgotten your obligations to Titan and WWF fans, both ethically, professionally, and contractually.

Your principal complaint apparently is that you are not being compensated at the same rate as Hulk Hogan, although ‘Hulk’ is a living legend, is still much better known to the public, has wrestled longer, is the WWF champion, is in much greater demand for personal appearances, is a bigger star and draw at WWF events, is more dependable and is far more revered and respected by WWF fans and by the public at large.

Here’s the full letter:

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Business

Raising Startup Capital: 4 Funding Sources You Can Bank On

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Turning entrepreneur can be an exciting adventure—one that demands an incredible amount of perseverance and hard work. But one of the biggest startup challenges is fundraising. VCs are getting pickier and pickier, so tapping the right fundraising strategy can make or break your business. Here are four ways to tackle that.

1. Bank On Microloans:

Many entrepreneurs take to Kickstarter too soon, before even gauging other options. Microfunding—an SBA-backed program that’s been around over 25 years—is a much easier and quicker to get funding vs. a traditional loan. (And it’s a great way to build your credit score, as well.) Here’s a brief and somewhat-informative video that explores how small business loans work:

What’s more, Microlenders also offer flexible payment options, and may mentor entrepreneurs to help them succeed.

2. Get A Partner:

When you’re looking for a little extra capital or technical know-how, seeking a co-founder and establishing a partnership can drive capital and planning. If a co-founder isn’t in the works, building strategic partnership with complementary businesses is a great avenue to fuel growth. 

3. Sponsorships:

You don’t have to vie for a business’ CSR initiative or do charity work to get sponsored. As long as your idea sells and you’re building a great product, you’re on the grind. Sponsorships are largely done through advertising or media appearances. And sometimes by adding their brand to yours for a while.

4. Using Charge Cards:

Charge cards can be a powerful tool to obtain capital for your business. Unlike credit cards, charge cards do not come with a preset spending limit. The perks? It allows you to meet large expenses swiftly. What’s the catch? The lender requires you to pay the balance in full every month. If you’re financially responsible, charge cards are a great way to meet your costs.

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Business

5 Global Fintech Apps To Watch

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The fintech space has witnessed significant growth in recent years – marrying tech and finance to simplify a lot of processes for businesses and people like you and me. Here are five fintech apps that you can bank on.

1. Robinhood

This stock trading app comes with a big perk – no commissions. How does it make money? It has a subscription-based service, Robinhood Gold, which charges users a tiered monthly fee for services like extended-hours trading and margin. Available across both iOS and Android platforms, Robinhood has over 4 million accounts currently.

2. Piggybank.ng

In an effort to tap into Africa’s growing millennial base, Nigerian fintech startup, Piggybank.ng, aims to help people increase savings – through plans that cater to both low and middle-income Nigerians. Savers don’t incur any upfront fees and may deposit as little as a dollar a day, and are discouraged from withdrawing their savings until an agreed date by charging an early withdrawal fee of 5%. What’s the interest you gain? Depending on the duration and type of investment, you can expect to accrue anywhere between 10-12.5%.

3. Square Cash

With over 7 million active users, Square Inc’s cryptocurrency-integrated payments app, Cash, has enjoyed staggering growth recently. The app simplified payment transfers – if you want to transfer money to a friend, all you have to do is send an email to the friend with the amount, and cc cash@square.com. This move just wiped away the need to create an account or look up bank account details. All it requires is your debit card number.

4. BudgetBakers

BudgetBakers’ popular personal finance app, Wallet, helps users track their expenses and allows them to integrate multiple accounts into the app – if you need to add more than three accounts, a small fee is charged. The app provides your expense details across a bunch of useful charts, reports and lending records.

5. Google Wallet

Google jumped the payments space and came out with something packed with great perks – transfer payments with a single tap, coupons to grab bargains, completely paperless and it works across some of the biggest stores like Macy’s, Subway, and outlets that permit MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express.

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