Cashflow (or lack of it) is one of the biggest causes of businesses going under and not going the distance, in particular smaller businesses who rely on a steady income to stay afloat month to month and so I’d share a few basic tips on how to attract money into your business quickly…
- Chase Outstanding Invoices!
Sounds obvious but we all have those pesky few customers who continue to pay late and rely on us chasing them for payment before they stick their hand in their pocket. Remember you have provided them with a service and so you are well within your rights to be paid for it- on time and within your payment terms. If you hate confrontation when it comes to money and don’t have an accounts department to act on your behalf, then why not look at setting up a separate ‘accounts@’ email address so that you can remain inconspicuous when issuing and chasing unpaid invoices (this can usually be done through accounts software such as Zero or Sage). The last thing you want to do is ruin a relationship with a customer you have invested time in cultivating with awkward exchanges about money, but after all without it you have no business. Alternatively hire a virtual PA to do the dirty work for you, but either way get those invoices chased!
- Invoice Quicker!
Following on from the above, going forward why not review your current accounting process to check that you are indeed keeping on top of your invoicing- this goes a long way in ensuring that your cashflow stays healthy. I am so surprised by the number of small business owners who say to me (whilst laughing) that they love every aspect of running their business except the ‘money management’ side of it and often forget to invoice or fall behind where this is concerned- PEOPLE you are running a business not a charity, what’s the point in slogging your guts away day in day out if you cannot see in black and white what your figures are, profits and turnover- in the words of Jerry Maguire- “SHOW ME THE MONEY!”
Set a payment term (30 days from date of issue is the norm), issue said invoice upon the booking or completion of a job – basically the moment you have negotiated business terms – invoice. Have a process in place that monitors your invoices and sends regular reminders and recognise when invoices are overdue and state accordingly when chasing for payment. If necessary have a debt collecting agent in place to pass over any unpaid invoices when it gets to the point that you feel you are not getting anywhere and they will generally work to a commission- you will find that most clients will pay – just make it easier on yourself by keeping on top of it – you will appear way more professional too by implementing this basic process.
- De-clutter And Sell Stuff You No Longer Need
Entering into a new year encourages us to have a good old clear out in both our personal and business lives- why? It makes room for new opportunities psychologically- if our surroundings are organised our mind is too, opening the gateway for exciting new possibilities.
Therefore take a look in your office and see if there is anything you feel you no longer need that you have been clinging onto in the hope of one day requiring it – I liken this to that jacket you only ever wore once that has been hanging in your wardrobe for the past six years- get it sold. It could be a laptop you don’t get on with, printing equipment, software, furniture, whatever it may be, consider these items as a much needed cash injection into your business right now.
The money you make from the sales could be used towards a new project for this year, perhaps a new venture you are entering into or simply some new equipment you will actually benefit from.
- Ask Your Customers For Help
Last month I wrote an article on utilising your existing customer list and network to gain more business and I will stress this is a no brainer to do, whether you need some money in quickly or not- I guarantee it will have nothing but positive effects- make contact with your lovely customers, ask them to refer you and offer an incentive if they do so- a thank you gift of sorts which could be anything from a voucher to a bottle of Champers to value from your own service, whatever you give is really just a gesture but it will go a long way in securing you gratitude from your customer; who by the way already loves what you do and so will be willing to help regardless.
- Deal Or No Deal
Holding a ‘too good to miss’ offer to the public to attract new custom could well be a good chance of you securing some quick money into your business and this can be executed in a number of creative ways, from holding a flash sale, to a general discount or added value.
A flash sale will be a sure-fire way of you gaining some sales quickly as you will need to implement a deadline- this is very important! The deadline will ensure that people don’t look at this sale and think they have all the time in the world to act upon it, they will see it, think to themselves- “what a great deal” and feel the urge to snap it up there and then so as not to miss out. If you are the kind of business who hates sales and offering discounts through not wanting to ‘devalue’ your brand, then a flash sale is also a good way of gaining some PR and quick sales as a compromise from offering regular deals all year round, therefore attracting a quick cash injection over a very short period of time and don’t forget it’s the way in which you market your flash sale that makes it classy/tacky so work on getting creative and making yours fit in with your brand rather than going down the route of the generic bright light, bright coloured, panic pressure selling style- there are no set rules so make it fit to your ethos.
The above tips are clearly not long term business goals and are more of a short term fix on attracting money into your business quickly, therefore my advice is to not rely on these aspects too often, moreover get a structure in place so that you don’t need to use these regularly or indeed ever again, so once you have worked on some of my tips and are in a position to be able to look ahead at the bigger picture, why not use this time to work on your marketing plan for 2019 and focus on your larger more long term goals –Contact me for more information on how I may be able to assist you with these.