Cash Flow is More Important than Profit
Positive cash flow means you can successfully run and grow your business, while negative cash flow means your business might cease to exist – even if it’s profitable on paper.
The key to improving your cash flow is not just bringing in more cash but also limiting cash going out. That means you have to manage your expenses just as much as your sales.
Here are 10 practical ideas to help you improve your business cash flow:
1. Give Your Clients Incentives (and Penalties)
To encourage clients to pay early, offer a discount if payment is made within seven days, or even better – if payment is done before you deliver your product or service. You can also reduce the risk of unpaid invoices by adding late payment fees. Clearly state the late payment penalty in your contract and on your invoice.
2. Make it Easy for Clients to Pay You
Simplifying payments for your clients should be a top priority. The harder it is for clients to pay you, the longer you will wait for that payment. Take mobile or online payments whenever possible. Otherwise find out what payment method works for your clients. And make sure your invoices are easy to read.
3. Send Invoices Out Immediately
When doing B2B you can’t get paid until you send invoices. So don’t wait until the end of the month, send invoices either the moment you got the deal, or the moment you delivered the product or service.
4. Get Clients to Pay on Time
Make sure you remind your customers when their invoices are due. Send email reminders a few days before the invoice is due, the day the invoice is due, and a few days after. If they still haven’t paid, give them a call.
5. Increase Your Prices
Increasing prices is scary for many business owners. They’re worried that raising prices will cost them in sales. But you better test this assumption to find the perfect number. How high would your clients be willing to go? There’s no way to know unless you experiment.
6. Upsell to Your Existing Clients
Reach out to your existing clients and offer complementary products or services. Think outside the box or simply ask, “What else can I do for you?”
7. Forecast the Future
Create a document forecasting your business income and expenses for next weeks or months. It will clearly show you when you would have surplus or deficit of cash in your account, helping you plan when to pay expenses.
8. Fight Seasonality by Diversifying
If in your business demand for products and services is affected by the time of the year, then it would be a good idea to diversify what you offer, to make sure you are selling all year round.
9. Reevaluate Your Expenses
Business expenses can sneak up on you. Each individual purchase might be a small amount but combined they can turn into a serious drain on your cash flow. Eliminate unnecessary spending, don’t purchase items unless they are business critical, hire or lease instead of purchase…
10. Pay Suppliers Less (or Later)
Negotiation is an essential part of doing business. If you maintain friendly, regular communication with suppliers, you will have a better chance of negotiating better terms with them.
Now It’s YOUR Turn
For five minutes… come up with as many ideas as you can… what could you do to improve your cash flow?
Please share your ideas (all of them or just one) in the comment box below… and let’s get WOWing.
Live fully, stay awesome,
Top Commenters – last 30 Days
Please share your ideas (all of them or just one) in the comment box below… and let’s get WOWing.
Live fully, stay awesome,
1. I try to connect with my suppliers as much as possible
2. I try share a membership with bigger organisation if I really need that membership
3. I work with projects of three month. They pay in advance or in terms and add 5% with automation payments
4. I do not work with offertes. How ever, I do email with our agreements
5. Biggest trap: Do not fall for it: What is your hourly rate. No matter how you say it, They will always try to find out what you ask per hour.
6. Always give first before you talk about the investment.
7. Do not bargain. How ever, give other options.
8. If you start to bargain you sell yourself short.
9. Try to work with partnerships when it comes to your biggest investments. Mine was my online platform.
10. Try to avoid bit investments in a product if you are not certain people will like it (my mistake)
1 Ask for a deposit before delivery of your product
2 Give a discount if customers pre pay a larger number of products (for example if they buy 10 sessions at once in stead of buying them seperately)
3 Keep a good overview of all payments (pending, upcomming, overdue and paid) and act on them.
4 Be aware of costs and adjust your prices to cover the costs
5 Keep improving your business
If you work alone, try to limit your costs by working from home if possible. An office costs money.
Working online reduces costs. Online meetings can be costeffective (no travelexpenses, time, etc). Try to make working arrangements with your client. Do you need to see eachother every time or once a month fe. realtime and the rest online?
Try to collaborate with people. Perhaps you can buy things together so you either do not have to buy it yourself. Or can buy in bulk.
I google online until I get the cheapest price possible.
Wait for sales if you can.
1. Plan ahead
2. search for offer for packaging for example
3. create an offer
Try to find out what the reason is if your income drops. Is it in line with a trend or are other entrepreneurs doing better than you?
Say goodbye to products or services for which there is little demand or which require relatively too much investment and therefore yield too little.
Always take a critical look at your revenue model and how you can improve it. Maybe by increasing the number and lowering the price.
See if you can do joint shopping with others.
To improver cash flow.
* After a training or training-cycle .. offer an implementation 'traject'
*.paid mastermind as high end product
Raise your standard!
You want more? Become more valuable to your clients.
Don't buy things you don't need.
Live a more simple life, so you can cut down your expenses.
Invest a little in future projects, to see if these projects can grow.
Pay your bills in time. So you don't have debts.
A lot of great ideas! Just one to add:
Investigate opportunities and possiblilities for mergers or acquisitions.
Think twice if you need a service or product.
Is there a cheaper / free alternative.
Can I borrow something?
Negotiate on the price.
Ask myself: will it add value to my services? Either by improving my service or simplify my work.
Just catching up. Some good tips here! What worked well for me;
👉 I have developed a product portfolio around three revenue pillars; Revenue Coaching, Linkedin for Business, Sales Training with 1:1 and group approach both on- and offline
👉 I have created an English version of our best performing product "LinkedIn for Business", we are now selling over 40% internationally
👉 I have made a scalable concept of my business model, people can become a certified Revenue Coach
👉 I Avoid being paid per hour and if I do so I charge a price based on value not on time
👉 I am workhing with freelancers but I also now employ 4 people, this increases profitability (but to be honest also sometimes a challenge)
👉 In order to avoid the challenges as mentioned above I work with our own developed Revenue Gap Forecast model. This increases predictability of revenue and makes it easier to define (corrective) actions
Always sell, when you give something away for free, give an upsell for an amazing product for an even more amazing price.
This post makes me aware that I'm not focusing enough "on the money". I do balance my purchase and sales, so there is a margin and profit. I'm keeping track intuitively, so I know more or less what I earn. I could do with a dashboard or software keeping track of financial kpi's, though. Can anyone recommend online software?
Deep down I know I have some issues charging enough: I'm a pleaser, I know I need to shift towards a more businesslike attitude and dealmaking. I'm very reluctant and hesitant to charge more than my impression of competitive prices in the market. Once in a while I lose potential customers because they say my prices are too high. As a rule of thumb, this is okay for me, if this happens sometimes but no more than 2 times out of 10. It's very much a matter of attracting clients willing to pay for my services. So I need to market better.
I will start sending some invoices now 😉
I wanted to do that before, but when one of your companies goes bankrupt because of the covid measurements, you need to cut (which is hard when you have all B2B contracts, most of them are annual contracts, but it's something to think about for the future).
Cut cut grow, cut cut grow. And think twice before buying things.
WOW ... So how did you cut it? How did you overcome this, @Naomi?
Especially when you worked with annual contract???
Well, I moved to my father's place to save... hardly any business wanted to give in a bit. Or just for one month "because they had a hard time too", while I couldn't use their product at all at that moment... I survived, tweaked many things, and back on track 😛 but learned a lesson (many lessons)
@Naomi : really? WOW ! That must have hurt a lot...
So how is you being back on track looking like? How is the business going now? (Can we help?)
Could you please share your many lessons with us?
The biggest thing I learned: always listen to your gut feeling. It's way ahead of your brain.
I had it with my ex-partner (who gaslighted me for 16 years - I knew something wasn't right but I could never show proof). But also with patients (with my new company I sometimes already arrange care since the need is high - people ask too late for help. As a doctor I always want to help (struikelblokje 🙂 but I felt this family will give me a pain in the ass... I put so much time and energy into them, and then no money (and I had to pay thousands of euros to my professional caregivers - I pay when I say I pay - so from my own money).
All the networking and list building I did in the past, turned out to be amazing. Maybe you change your company, but it doesn't mean that you have to rebuild your whole audience. Just make sure you own the lists 🙂
My back on track life is great. So in short, I gave away my dance school to my ex to be able to move on more quickly, I published another book, started ZorgMies Maastricht (the caregiver company), do things I like as a doc (microbiome centre, we even started a new profession nederlandsteleartsengenootschap.nl, and I'm working on my online coaching programs for dementia caregivers). And I have a new amazing partner 🙂
Love this topic... As you just narrowed it down into "Cash Flow" Management! yess!
These are my idea's:
1: Always Pay Yourself First, NO matter what you earn.
2: Be Financially Creative and never ever have a "Debiteuren"-afdeling. Give a lot at advance and let your clients always pay your first 3-6 months in Advance (I know... Not a Dutch thing with all those rules, but this is great way to do business and I am doing it since I learned this from Nisandeh somewhere in 2007)
3: What you track (and focus on), expands. So just get a paper (or excel sheet) and keep on track of your daily/monthly cashflow.
4: Never ever work with a "offerte"! I don't even know how to do that. Just Add Massive Value and then Charge BIG!
5: Read "Financial Freedom for Women" of Vered and do all the expercies. A huge advantage if you implement those!
6: Learn to read finances by playing "Cash Flow Game" regularly with your team, friends, clients (Don't know what it is? well... here is your first implementation! Google it! :))
7: Stop working with "Uur Tarief"-methodes. That will eventually kill you and your business. Instead work with Packages DFY-DWY-DTY and make Implemenatation Packes the most Expensive !
8: Evaluate EVERY WEEK Your Finances. Do Keep it simple. I only care about 4 numbers: My Total Income (Passive, Active, Proto,...), Total Expenses (Active, Variable), My Assets (business, Passive, Real estate,...) and Liabilities.
9: Always keep 10% into your FFA-jar.
10: Read this blog daily and implement 1 tips per day. I promise you: Your life will never be the same (like mine is in the last 2 weeks!!)
When you consider signing up for something to improve your business, contemplate carefully if it will make you clients or cost you money. In good Dutch: "Je investering moet zich terugverdienen".
Use a free tool for signing contracts and (in my case) the agreementform (AVG), it smoothens the proces and is professional. Example: SignRequest.
Thanks for your Tips @Manny.
So how do you do your consideration with your ROI? What kind of time do you give yourself to earn your investment back?
1. Make budgets (product development, fixed costs, marketing, ...) and have different bank accounts for each budget
2. Integrate upselling in your website/shop. So, after adding products to the basket, offer other products that might interest them. This can be annoying for the client, though. You could also ask the question "Is there anything else I can do for you" on your website with a field where they can reply. A quick respond from you is essential in order to let this work.
3. Start a webshop
4. Develop a product that people need regularly (in my case condolence/sympathy cards could work)
5. Another upselling strategy: offer an additional service, like personalizing your products.
6. Offer a membership
Great ones, @Ine!! Whoohoo! (Please do check your LinkedIn Inbox:))
Great tips again! love #2 , #4 and #6 ! Yess!! (And just a check: Do you have a Membership right now?)
1. Make sure my product is remarkable.
2. Give my product a different name. Add VIP and not only will my client be willing to pay more, they will also feel like a VIP.
3. Dare to go for a very expensive product that’s luxurious and make my client feel special. They’ll be willing to pay for it.
4. Also in B2B they’re ok with sending an invoice upfront!! That’s was a big eye opener for me
5. Add more value to my existing product.
6. Let go of the idea that I’m just one of many trainers and therefor can’t charge more.
7. Make a list of the purposes to raise my prices.
8. Don’t buy anything before I sell something first. First money in- and only then money out, and never more than a certain percentage.
9. A very simple tip. I don’t work with offers that they need to return signed. Saves a lot of time. Instead i tell them that a simple “yes” is ok together with the invoice details.
#9 A simple "yes" by email is legally valid. Clients love this approach! Good one, Gerdy 🙂
Love your idea's @Gerdy! yess!
Love #8!! I always play this game too! Only a bonus when I really sell something! Then 10% of Bonus/Play Money!
1. Create a new product to earn more
2. Talk to customer by phone and give them a special price if they buy the next hour (it works)
3. Charge clients by their results (after using your product or service) to earn even 5 times more!!! If client has already achieved what he wants to achieve with your provided service then he has no problem to pay you more!!
That third one is really wonderful. I find it really to not fall into the trap “but You’re asking twice the price that the rest of the coaches/ consultants/ trainers are asking! “
Thank you for the reminder to always keep focusing on my added value. Not being a commodity.
Very good Idea's @Nicos! Love how you make it practical!
By phone? So how do you do that? (I hate the phone!!)
Hi Aramik!!! Nice to meet you!!!
Here in Greece (and I think in all the Mediterranean countries Spain, Italy, Israel, Cyprus) most of the businesses are primarily made face to face and also by phone!!
Potential Clients feel safer if they first come to your office to meet you and then to close a deal with you.
If the distance is too long to meet each other then I usually call them (or they call me) even if they ask me something by email.
I know that is more likely to book the deal if they listen the passion in my voice rather than to read 1 or 2 sentences I will send them by email.
This is how I do it:
Let s suppose that a new potential customer calls me (first time) , ( even if he sends me an email I will call him/her back ) and I will explain him how my business work. After the presentation I will give him either 10-20% discount if he book the deal the same day or I will add a second service (I provide) to him for free.
Now you may suppose how I find his phone number. My services are B2B so if his email is firstname.lastname@example.org then I will call to legrand company and I will ask to talk with Paul Newman. If the email is email@example.com I will Google it to find something.
Fantastic explaination and wooww, Nicos! Those are some great Strategies and Tips!
Ευχαριστώ πολύ αδερφέ! (I hope this goes well! :))
And yes: a great way to just find our their real name and company. Thank you so much for sharing!
Σας εύχομαι ένα πολύ όμορφο βράδυ!
I hate the phone as well! But I prefer zoom actually, that works better for me. I let the clients book their appointment themselves, they love it, and then we have a zoom meeting.
Hahaha @Naomi! I am so glad I am not the only one... And you know: i just tell every one that I hate it and wont pick up my phone... So nobody does call me 🙂
And yes! God Bless the God Of ZOOOOM!
Thanks for telling me. I really thought I was the only one as well 🙂