Whether you lease a space and have employees or have one desk in the basement and a phone, cash flow is king when it comes to keeping a business going.
Tedious Business Plan
Everyone has probably heard of these. This is where you write down your entire business idea on paper. This is where you take all those things running around in your head and actually write them down to see if they will work.
I am not a huge fan of “the business plan” personally I am more the “business theory” since things can change and likely will and often things will take different turns on the way to success that is not recorded in that “detailed business plan” so having a good theory might be the better way. Something that can be adjusted along the way.Credit: morguefile.com
As a small business owner, you can have all the plans and theories in the world, and make everything look gorgeous on paper with analysis, flow charts, great numbers, and lots of great looking “projections” but in reality it probably will not work quite the way you expect!
These can make a great road map, and if you are going for any bank financing they are a necessary evil that needs to be done with all your predictions for your company and how and when it will not only support itself, but you too!
The problem with bank financing, you almost need to make it look like you really don’t need any money before they will approve it for you.
So, for many small or even micro mini home businesses, bank financing is not always possible.
So, here are 3 creative ways to improve cash flow and finance your business growth that have been put into practice and work quite well.
1. Suppliers Can Be Your Best Friend
If you are treading water, and are basically keeping your business afloat but not really getting ahead because you can’t afford to invest in any upgrades to grow your sales, then instead of looking to find the money within your books to purchase that piece of equipment or a larger source of supplies, why not talk to your suppliers?
If you have total faith in your business, and you know if you could just grow your sales you Credit: morguefile.comwould have a much healthier bottom line, then you need to get creative, because larger financial institutions, such as banks are not on the front lines or in the trenches like you. They see the numbers and you need collateral to satisfy them. You could have all the faith in the world, but if the numbers don’t work for them, they usually say no.
If you have been on good terms with your suppliers (and you should be!) by paying your bills on time, and you are now wanting to stock larger amounts of supplies to grow your business, that you would not be able to pay for within the 30 days that most supplies allow, then you need to setup an appointment.
Before you order more stock, phone your supplier and ask to make an appointment to see them. Tell them of your plan to grow your business, and that you are going to need more stock upfront. Tell them your plans, show them your theories. Remember they are business owners too, and this could be lucrative to them too.
Put some numbers down on paper, such as how much more stock you would need, and why.
Ask if you can get a better price on the larger amount of stock, and then ask for them to change your account to a “payment plan”. Tell them you would much prefer to work with them than to change suppliers.
This way your supplies are basically being financed which would free up any cash you normally put towards your supplier bills to help your business in other sections. You may even be able to defer the first payment for 90 days if your relationship with them has been good in the past.
This would give you time to get those new sales going and improve your cash flow.
If they agree they will charge you some interest but you can negotiate that as well. If you can get the supplies for cheaper and you negotiate good terms, then you will have the supplies you need to grow without putting out cash up front.
If you have a personal credit card or you have received one of those “zero interest offers” on a card, and you have total faith in your business, then this would give you that financial boost to get you on the map. Or even a low interest would work.
Take the advance they are offering and then write down the day it ends. So if the offer is for one year at zero or a very low interest rate, take the money and then write down on a calendar the end of this offer and put your “pay bill” 2 weeks before that to make sure it gets paid before the high interest kicks in. This is what they are hoping for, that you will forget.
Take the offered money and work out how much per month you need to set aside to be able to pay this back. Don’t just “hope” you will have it sometime. If it is 5000 dollars for example and they are offering a one year interest free for example, then you need to be able to put at least $417.00 per month away ready for this bill in one year, or whatever term they offer.
Work it out on paper, if you think the advanced money can quickly get your sales on the map and you can set aside that money then this can be a great way to get financing to grow your business and improve your cash flow.
Hint: If you take the offer, don’t use this card for anything else as it will get charged the normal rate on the card and that can be as high as 28%!! Leave this card strictly for the advance.
Lots of small businesses already do some of this to help their budgets. If you can find another business that can benefit from what you have to offer, then hopefully they can do something for you. This way no money has changed hands which help to keep your cash flowing in the right direction!
Get Creative to Improve Cash Flow to Your Business
If you can integrate the above three creative tips, then you will have the supplies you need without huge outlay, extra cash from a low interest card and traded some services. Now get your skates on and grow your sales!
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