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StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Golden Rules for Maintaining a Healthy Cash Flow

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Photo courtesy of Nicholas Youngson of NYPhotographic (Title CC BY-SA 3.0 NY)

You have, no doubt, heard the saying ‘cash is king,’ and it may be cliché, but it is definitely the truth. No business can survive without any cash. It is the fuel that keeps the engine running. This is why all companies, especially SMEs, need to have a strategy in place for maintaining a healthy cash flow and dealing with any potential related problems that may arise.

Have a clear process in place…

Businesses run efficiently when they have clear procedures in place, and this is definitely the case when it comes to maintaining a healthy cash flow. You need to have a straightforward procedure for dealing with invoices and collecting payments. Don’t forget to practice what you preach; you need to send out invoices promptly if you are to be paid on time. How can you demand efficiency if you are not operating efficiently yourself? There are plenty of great tools available today to assist with sending invoices out and tracking them. By automating this part of your business, you can ensure everything runs more smoothly and quickly.

Don’t accept defeat…

One of the worst things you can do is simply assume that there is nothing you can do about late payments. Many business owners assume that it is out of their hands. After all, they cannot literally force the client to pay on time. You need to get rid of this defeatist attitude. No matter what frustrating business problem you are faced with, there is always a solution. Of course, you can improve your internal practices, but if this does not solve anything, there are other options. Working with a cash flow finance company is highly recommended. If you get an indication that a client is not going to pay on time, a finance firm will pay on their behalf. The client will then pay the lender instead.

Do your research beforehand…

It pays to do a bit of research about the customer beforehand. This is especially the case for any substantial orders. Begin by acquiring their credit report. This will give you a good indication as to whether the potential client is someone to trust. If they do not make payments on time, they will have a bad score, and this should be an immediate red flag. You should also find out about the payment practices of the customer. For example, do they pay on an ad-hoc basis? Do they only pay on a certain day per month? By knowing a customer’s payment habits, you can plan more efficiently. The more you know, the stronger your position.

Set an upper limit per customer…

Finally, make sure you set a bespoke upper credit limit for each of your customers. You can use the credit check you obtained to assist you with this. Also, obtain references from other businesses that have traded with them. You need to determine the risk you are exposing your firm to when arranging any type of credit agreement. Once you have set the limit, do not budge.