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Profits, cashflow and getting paid – plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose

Autumn Statement, euro crises, stock market meltdown – what can you do? The simple answer is to get the basics right and there’s a great chance you’ll be fine. There are three things to concentrate on.

Increase profits

Up to you how you do it, but the options include:

  • increase sales and margins
  • cut costs
  • be more competitive

But keep a very careful eye on your margins. Try not to “buy” sales with low margins but do think about saying goodbye to unprofitable clients or services. Discarding the deadwood can allow you to reduce overheads, spend more time on marketing and improve profits.

Cash is king

Heard it before? Of course you have and the reason is that it’s universally true.

There are two types of business:

  1. Those that are well-funded and sustainably profitable. They can get by without a cashflow model. Not wise, but probably not harmful.
  2. The rest. That’s most businesses. If it’s you and you don’t have a cashflow model – start one today.

Get paid in good time

“A sale is a gift until it’s paid for”.  This is no time to be too polite about getting paid and here are seven quick steps to better credit control:

  1. Credit vet your prospects and current clients – a monitoring service that tells you about CCJs would be helpful.
  2. Have a good set of terms & conditions that you get clients to sign.
  3. Invoice clearly, in good time and for the correct amount. Don’t let an incorrect invoice become an excuse for it not to be paid.
  4. Send invoices by email so they can’t be “lost in the post”.
  5. Be very active at chasing for payment. Calling is better than writing, certainly for the bigger debts.
  6. Employ a “pincer movement” where you chase the person who bought from you as well as chasing the accounts payable department.
  7. If it comes to it – sue for your money (got to give those CCJ monitoring services something to monitor!).

Back to business basics

This blog could have been written at any time in the history of commerce. If Gutenberg had published it he may not have been made bankrupt!

Business basics don’t change, we simply become more or less complacent about them. Now is not the time to be complacent.

And if you need some help with the business basics then there are a number of our blogs that can give you some practical hints and tips, or perhaps give us a ring on 020 7384 6800.