Your small business could have all the clients it wants and be profitable. Yet without cash-on-hand, things could fall apart in an instant. Profits don’t guarantee you’ll always have cash to pay employees, purchase supplies and take care of your vendors. The good news is that you can control your finances to ensure cash is always available. It begins with understanding how cash goes in and out of your company.
Many small businesses avoid seeking loans, but not for the reasons you think. According to a Sageworks survey, business owners opt not to pursue small business loans because they don’t want to take on debt (62 percent) or think they won’t get approved (24 percent).
Data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) shows that small business lending — for loans less than $1 million — has dropped between 2008 and 2012. It has yet to see improvement since.
There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to business financing options as financing services companies can get creative with the names they use to describe the types of financing they offer. Part of that is for a good reason. Not all small business owners know what kind of financing they want or need especially when banks don’t come through.
Because of this, financial services companies use simple terms such as flexible funding or flexible financing. Invoice financing, accounts receivable financing and MCA funding mean little to business owners. Small businesses know they need working capital to help with cash flow. Here are the common terms to help you navigate the murky waters of financing.
Are you or your employees growing frustrated with the administrative part of your jobs in chasing down late payments from customers? How much more working capital would your business get if it stopped spending so much time tracking down customers to pay for services rendered or products delivered? What would you do with the cash if you have it sooner?
A company’s executives came across excessive cell phone bills, so they asked their manager to review the bills. Naturally, the first thing most people thought was that some employees may be abusing their cell phones to make personal calls. That wasn’t the case.
After doing a little detective work, the manager figured out that the high phone bills resulted from employees having different usage needs and working in different locations. One employee, a frequent traveler, racked up roaming charges whenever he traveled to another country. The company found a better plan to fit the employee’s usage and cut the bill by more than half.
Business-to-business companies typically give clients 30 days to pay for their products or services. These B2B companies also need to pay their vendors within the same timeframe. And it’s standard business practice to wait until the end of the 30 days before making a payment.
It’s like having an interest-free loan for 30 days as you keep cash longer in your bank account. However, late payments can cause the company’s cash flow to snowball out of control jeopardizing other areas of the business and its relationships with vendors. (There’s a difference between being nice by paying quickly and having the needed cash flow to stay in business.)