|Small Business Information|
7 Cash Flow Secrets Your Accountant Never Told You
Looking for ways to boost your cash flow? As a small business consultant, I make these recommendations to my cash strapped small business clients:
1. Shoeboxes are for shoes, not business records.
Pardon my candor but, you will never have a successful business if you don't systematically track your income and expenses, who owes you money, and who you owe money to. This is absolutely crucial. You don't have to have a big expensive computerized system, although a computer program like QuickBooks certainly does a beautiful job. You can keep track of everything with a pencil and paper if you like. But, you've got to track basic information in a systematic manner. Without this vital information your business cannot flourish and your cash flow will always keep you up at night.
2. Getting your customers to "show you the money".
The best way to get your customers to pay what is owed is to remove every possible excuse for nonpayment. Don't extend credit unless it's absolutely necessary. Establish credit policies to help determine who will get credit. Get an invoice into the bill payer's hand as quickly as possible after the work is done or the product is delivered. Don't be afraid to send a letter or statement or make a phone call reminding your customer his bill is due. Never be rude. Always be firm. Focus on preserving the relationship. If a customer has a legitimate gripe about your business do whatever you can to fix the problem.
3. Budget is not a four letter word.
Repeat after me, "Budgets are our friends." Seriously! A budget is a plan. It helps you stay focused on what you need to achieve. For example, you can use your budget to help you achieve sales goals, determine how much you need to spend on advertising, how much you'll need for materials, and if you can afford to pay overtime. Having a budget for your business is the difference between piloting a plane with instruments or flying blind in a fog.
4. A customer in the hand is worth two in the bush.
My very first customer is still with me. Over the life time of our relationship, she will be worth at least tens of thousands of dollars. Actually, she's worth far more than that because she refers business to me regularly. It's easy to get caught up in the search for new customers. But, never forget the ones you already have. What other services or products can you offer to them? How can you get them to refer their friends and colleagues to you? You can build a successful business around a small number of customers by providing them with excellent customer care and a range of solutions. Loyal customers are money in the bank, they're easier to work with, and it's less expensive to keep them happy than it is to find new customers.
5. The most powerful number in your business.
If you know only one number in your business it ought to be your Breakeven Point. Your breakeven point is the moment in time when your income equals your expenses. If your income is higher than your expenses, you have a profit. If your expenses are higher than your income you have a loss.
Why is this such a critical number? First of all, to find your breakeven point you need to know what all of your expenses are. How much does it cost you to produce your product or deliver your service? That includes how much you need to pay yourself. If your business isn't able to support you, you're not breaking even. Once you have your total expenses, you have a place to start. What do you need to do to achieve a level of sales high enough to cover your expenses? How many customers do you need to serve? How many products do you need to sell? If you can't reach that income level, what can you do to cut your expenses?
Your whole business plan can flow from that one number. You can use your break even point as a powerful business tool to make decisions about marketing, strategy, plans for expansion, hiring a new employee, etc.
6. How to make friends and influence check cutters.
Once upon a time, I worked for a corporation-yes, me, the quintessential entrepreneur. One of my jobs was working in Accounts Payable. All day long I got calls from vendors. Not friendly social calls, mind you. Angry calls. Irritable calls. Annoying calls. Vicious calls.
And then there were the friendly vendors. The ones who took a moment to treat me like a human being. Guess who I knocked myself out for? Guess whose checks made it through the labyrinth of bureaucracy and out the door? Uh huh. The vendors who treated me with respect. Is that fair? Not at all. But, it is human nature.
Take the time to get to know the folks that cut the checks. Don't be afraid to build bridges and establish relationships. You meet lots of interesting people and your cash flow will improve. One of my friendly vendors hired me away from the Cubicle City. I spent the next three years improving his cash flow from the other side. You just never know.
7. Why paying taxes is a cause for rejoicing.
The strategic approach of many small business owners is to have as little profit as possible at the end of the year. Otherwise, you'll have to pay taxes. So year after year, small business owners make decisions in their businesses based on intentional lack of profitability.
Now, for the majority of small business owners, what the IRS considers to be profit is in actuality your paycheck. Are you working to lower your paycheck? Would you put up with that from an employer? By putting up with it from your own business, you condemn yourself to a life of poverty just to avoid having to pay taxes.
I won't tell you that writing checks to the IRS is my favorite thing to do and I make sure I take every legal deduction I can, but if I'm paying taxes, it means I'm making money. I like making money. The bottom line is this: If you're paying taxes, it means your business is making money. Go out and make more! Don't let the thought of taxes hold you back. Think about it this way, even if you're paying fifty cents of every dollar to the government, that's fifty cents more in your own pocket. That's a good thing!
A word of caution: don't boost your earnings and spend it all. Make sure you plan ahead for the tax bill!
Caroline Jordan, MBA is a small business consultant and author of Mastering Cash Flow: A How-To Guide for Solving Small Business Cash Flow Problems. For more business success tips visit http://www.TheJordanResult.com. To get in touch, call Caroline at (207) 583-2630 or send an email to TheJordanResult@adelphia.net.
C 2001-2005 Caroline Grimm Jordan & The Jordan Result LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Fleet Washing Operations Manual Sample Outline
In the Truck Washing Business every single type of vehicle is washed differently. If you are going to run a mobile onsite fleet washing business with multiple trucks in multiple cities you will in fact need a comprehensive manual to keep your crews and equipment running at an optimum. Below you will see a sample outline to assist you in constructing a washing procedure manual, which will include many different types of fleet vehicles.
Pressure Washing Business and Post Fire Cleanups
Many have not experienced a fire up close. One year about 15 years ago I almost lost my house as did our neighbors to a wild fire. It moved so fast and the sky so black, with cinders everywhere and soot like a nuclear fallout horror movie. Luckily our neighborhood was spared except for a couple of homes. The fire fighters did a good job that day, others living further down the path of the fire and lower in the canyons did not fair so well, a few people even lost their lives. From that day on, I take fires seriously and you should too.
Starting a Small Business? ?Tips from a Veteran
Congratulations, you are starting a small business! You are taking charge and going for your piece of the American dream! Your excitement is high, and the adrenaline is pumping! Everyone dreams of freedom and owning a successful business, but not everyone can successfully create that reality. Now that you've made the commitment to give it a shot, let me give you the single most important tip that I can give you to insure your success. Businesses that succeed whether large or small all begin with a business idea. Your challenge is to determine if your idea will be a winner or a loser.
Practical Money-Saving Tips For Small Businesses
One of the primary concerns all small businesses have is saving money. When it's time to trim the fat, most look for one giant expense to decrease or eliminate in order to stay within budget. More often than not, it doesn't work that way.
Administration Of Your Small Business
You've been meaning to tend to the administration part of your business, that is, the growing list of things to do that relates to your small business. You've shoved all other appointments aside and starts getting down to working on the nitty gritty details, you're ready to go all out and tick everything on the list off! But where in the world is the list?
Small Business Savvy: Reaching Key Big Business Decision Makers
As a solo entrepreneur or small business owner, one of our key challenges can be reaching key decision makers in larger companies. Getting to the right person who can seal the deal can be a frustrating experience, especially if you don't have a game plan. Here are three ways to connect with the right people.
Entrepreneur to Employer
You make the decision to go into business and for some time work from home or in leased premises and your business starts to grow.
Lubbock TX Good Market for a Service Business
We very much like what we see in Lubbock, TX as a good place for a service business. The city is a very well designed and laid out town with growth in the 4-5% per year range, growth in the Northwest quadrant of the city is steady and good. We are bullish on Lubbock and see how a service company could advance forces into the area to seize market share. There is excellent labor there due to the colleges and a strong growing middle class with younger families. Retail sector is good as well along the Northwest outer ring.
Are You a Small Business Casualty?
When a person knows and knows not that he knows. Teach him.
Small Business Marketing - How Important Are Your First Words?
"What do you do?" It just might be one of the most asked questions there is, at least here in America.
Getting City Contracts; Local Government Contracting
All cities have a purchasing office and/or a procurement officer. They handle all city contracts that are sent out to bid. Usually, to become a small business vendor of the city you must satisfy either some or all of the requirements listed below:
Business Failure, The 8 Traps Causing Failure And The One Attribute Which Ensures Business Survival
It is estimated that 78% of all small business start-ups fail within the first twelve months years, and long-term survival is likely for only 22% of all new business start-ups.
Marketing Your Small Business - The Top 10 Brilliant Ideas
A Brilliant Marketing Idea... sounds great but what is it? Is it the idea that results in the mailman ringing your doorbell, signaling in a caravan of postal workers with mounds of letters (all in response to your latest advertisement)? Is it the idea that brings a 20% response rate on your direct mail campaign?
Finding the PERFECT Alliance Partner
Where do you look for the appropriate alliance?
Your Practice is Only as Valuable as Your Referral Base
Many physical therapists in private practice have the appearance of a very successful business that is built on the backs of about four to five doctors. Now if anything would happen to any of these guys, the value of these practices would drop markedly. How can you run a practice for many years and then take a good look at it and realize that you have five doctors that represent more than 50% of the referral base? Exactly how can that happen?
50 Ways to Save Money
There are countless ways to save your business money. Unfortunately, many Australian businesses are overlooking them, or simply don't have the time to go searching them out.
Your Ideal Client ? A Key Concept for Solo and Small Business Marketing
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."--Bill Cosby
Secrets Revealed To Having The Most Professional Staff On The Telephone!
Do you have all the customers your business can use?
Q and A: Personalized Birthday Cards from Paul Leonard
Paul Leonard's BirthdayCards2Go.com paid greeting card service offers convenience when you're rushing to send birthday wishes. While nothing can beat a personalized poem to add that extra touch of thoughtfulness, we can all agree that in this busy world, any connection we can make with each other, even just to say "Thinking of you," is worthwhile.
Why the Over Regulation on the Franchising Model?
Franchising is the fastest way to build small businesses, provide jobs, create money flows. Currently the Federal Trade Commission wishes to increase the over regulation on the franchising sector. The way the Federal Trade Commission conducts itself provides little incentive or allows few new entrepreneurial companies to merge from the ashes to become the next Wendy's Hamburger, McDonalds, Duncan Donuts, Century 21, KFC, Dominos Pizza, Midas Muffler, etc. Why? What are we really saying here? More complicated laws slows progress of the species, to move commerce forward.
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