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Your business’ cash flow management tells you just how much is coming in and how much is going out of your business. Making more than you’re spending? It’s all good. Cash flow regularly edging into the red? Not doing so hot.

Managing your cash flow is key to your business success. Don’t let a cash flow problem put you in a money crunch. All it takes are a few smart moves to keep your company in the black. Here are some helpful ways you can manage your business’ cash flow.

 “Poor cash flow management is causing more business failures today than ever before.”

Philip Campbell, CPA and author Never Run Out of Cash

What is cash flow?

It’s basically the movement of funds in (cash inflow) and out (cash outflow) of your business. If you have positive cash flow, you have more money coming into your business through sales or borrowed funds, rather than going out, to expenses such as payroll, inventory, and rent. 

There are two types of cash flow to manage:

  • Positive cash flow: This occurs when the cash funneling into your business from sales, accounts receivable, etc. is more than the amount of the cash leaving your businesses through accounts payable, monthly expenses, salaries, etc. Positive cash flow may also result in a surplus, for which you’ll need a plan.
  • Negative cash flow: This is when your cash outflow is greater than your incoming cash. This generally spells trouble for a small business, but there are steps you can take to remedy the situation and generate or collect more cash while maintaining or cutting expenses.

Monitor frequently

Smart small business owners stay on top of their cash flow, monitoring their cash flow statements monthly or even weekly to keep their eye on the pulse of their business. Philip Campbell, a certified public accountant (CPA) and author of the book “Never Run Out of Cash,” says that to understand your cash flow, you should be able to answer these questions at any given time:

  • What happened to your business’s cash last month?
  • What’s about to happen to your business’s cash?

One way to keep that situation under control is by tracking your cash flow results every month to determine if your management is creating the type of cash flow your business needs. This also helps you get better and better at creating cash flow projections you can rely on as you make business decisions about expanding your small business and taking care of existing bills.

Once you understand your cash flow, Campbell says, you can work to correct any inconsistencies in it. For example, by paying your suppliers later or collecting payments earlier.

Keep better track of your business budget with this helpful guide.

Cut costs

Focus on cutting recurring monthly, quarterly, or annual cash expenses. Can you cut back on utilities, rent or payroll? Can you lease some of your equipment rather than buying? By leasing vehicles, computers and other business equipment, you get access to the latest features and avoid tying up cash-but you still get to expense the lease costs on your business taxes. Or do you have equipment you no longer use or inventory that’s becoming obsolete? Consider selling it to generate quick cash.

Increase sales

One option to fix a cash flow problem is to offer your customers discounts if they pay early. The average debtor pays two week late, according to the accounting software, Xero. Instead of waiting to receive payments from your customers, get ahead of it by developing a system that reminds customers to pay on time.

While discounts may impact your overall profit margins due to lost revenue you would have to make up, it may just help cash flow management by incentivizing current and future customers to make their payments earlier than the typical billing cycles.

it may just help cash flow management by incentivizing current and future customers to make their payments earlier than the typical billing cycles. 

Your small business may also take advantage of this with suppliers and others that you owe, but be mindful these early payments don’t leave you with a negative cash flow.

Offer discounts

One option to fix a cash flow problem is to offer your customers discounts if they pay early. The average debtor pays two week late, according to the accounting software, Xero. Instead of waiting to receive payments from your customers, get ahead of it by developing a system that reminds customers to pay on time.

While discounts may impact your overall profit margins due to lost revenue you would have to make up, it may just help cash flow management by incentivizing current and future customers to make their payments earlier than the typical billing cycles.

it may just help cash flow management by incentivizing current and future customers to make their payments earlier than the typical billing cycles. 

Your small business may also take advantage of this with suppliers and others that you owe, but be mindful these early payments don’t leave you with a negative cash flow.

Try a cash flow loan

If you find yourself wanting additional financing to increase your cash flow, a cash flow loan could be an option. These loans are short-term and often high-interest lines of credit.  

However, you shouldn’t only rely on cash flow loans for expenses like your lease or payroll. Use it as you would cash flow, expenses that will ultimately increase your business revenue, like marketing campaigns or new software. 

But before you apply for a cash flow or small business loan, check out our types of SBA loans to consider what fits your needs best and what you may qualify for.

Implement better systems

Divvy allows you to set specific budgets for each expense or department as needed, then release only the amount of cash they’re allowed to spend. No longer will you live in the gray area of floating payments and outstanding invoices that keep you up at night, or get hit with expensive reimbursements a month after the fact.

In the end, properly managing your business’ cash flow directs your cash flow to where it’s needed most. You will have enough cash on hand to pay the bills, say “yes” to new projects, or launch a marketing campaign.

Your small business needs tools to navigate changing cash flow and manageable growth. Check out the Divvy SMB Toolbox for handpicked resources and deals to take your business to the next level.

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