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My cashflow is a mess and I’m running around like a headless chicken

Cashflow is the lifeblood of any business and most people running their own business will have found themselves thinking something like this at some stage.

What can be done?

Solutions are at hand. Take a deep breath and read on.

 

Cashflow model

There are two types of business:

  1. Those that don’t need a cashflow model
  2. All the rest

Most businesses are type 2 – they need a cashflow model.

These days there are several apps that will link to cloud accounting systems and produce cashflow forecasts.

Personally, I’d start off in Excel and keep it simple. Here’s an example of what your model might look like – Cashflow model template

Go backwards to model actual cashflows before you forecast forward so your forecasts are anchored to reality. And keep your cashflow model up to date.

Other cashflow blogs:

Don’t bank on your bank for cashflow

A gory cashflow model is a useful cashflow model

 

Credit control

Get on top of credit control NOW!

Call the people who owe you larger sums of money and stop working with them until they pay.

Again, there are apps that will link to cloud accounting systems and manage credit control. And again, I’d get my processes and workflows organised and working effectively first before delegating credit control to a computer.

That said, look at GoCardless – an app that allows you to set up direct debits with your clients. GoCardless really is a game changer.

Remember – a sale is a gift until it’s paid for.

Other credit control blogs:

 

Workflow

So much of cashflow management and credit control is about being organised and having efficient workflows. For example:

  • Agreeing written contracts and price proposals
  • Delivering products and services on time, to the agreed standard
  • Getting invoices out as soon as possible
  • Keeping your accounts up to date so you know who owes you money and who you owe money to
  • Having a fixed payment run each month for suppliers so they know reliably when they will be paid

Much of which comes down to having efficient, up-to-date bookkeeping.

Have a look at our page on Workflow to see how doing things right can save you time and money.

 

Profitability

Are you selling at high enough prices to make a profit and produce positive cashflows?

If a business with £200k turnover increases its prices by 5% then it makes £10k more profit all of which ends up in the bank!

Improving profitability can have a huge impact on cashflow so why not test higher prices on some of your customers, products and services and apply what you learn across your business?

Profitability blogs:

 

Cost control

If your business is spending too much money and perhaps making a loss then stem the tide now.

Cut costs, including what you take out yourself, and get the business back in to profit as a matter of urgency and survival.

Even if your business is making money, it doesn’t hurt to review your cost base. Some costs embed themselves in companies – fossilised costs – and need to be found and questioned from time to time.

Fossilised costs

Go on a fossil hunt

 

Have you got the wrong clients?

Too many businesses tie themselves in knots by over-servicing and under-pricing their work. There can be many justifications for this, rapid growth being the most common.

But in the longer term, if your clients are not profitable and are getting in the way of more profitable opportunities then they are the wrong clients.

Renegotiate their prices and don’t worry if they leave.

Here’s a salutory tale – I can’t have the business I want because of the business I’ve got!

 

Poor cashflow is both a problem and a symptom. It also has solutions.

We’re accountants in South West London and if you think we can help your business cashflow give us a call on 020 8166 5960.

 

Michael
@diaryofanomb
Sales | Margins | Profit | Cashflow