Smart Cash Flow Habits to Keep Your Business Growing
According to research, poor cash flow management is one of the biggest reasons small businesses fail after they’ve launched. As an entrepreneur, good cash flow management is important to keep your company growing financially. Here are some tips to successfully manage money generated by your growing company:
Set up a cash flow forecast: Do trajectories for the next year or quarter, and update the forecast weekly. Identify when you expect to break even and establish the economic benchmarks necessary to meet along the way.
Balance customer and supplier payments: Money coming in must match or surpass money going out to save you from extended overdraft. To collect receivables (payments owed to you) timeously, ensure you have an effective debt collection system in place and incentivise early or upfront payments with manageable discounts. Invoice immediately – don’t wait until month-end – and don’t shy away from asking for partial payments upfront. In terms of payables (payments you owe), negotiate with suppliers and vendors to get good deals and extend payables when possible.
Be frugal: Only spend on essentials that will help achieve cash flow forecast milestones. Save in the good months – you need a cash reserve to carry you through the hard times. Keep fixed costs low – such as your rent. Lower fixed costs mean more potential profit.
Invest in local marketing: Get your business name out there to attract more clients. Then retain customers with quality goods, exceptional service and a focus on real relationship-building.
Partner with the right people: Spend a bit more if you can to hire the right staff. Be open with your team and make cash flow management a priority for everyone. Don’t handle the financial side of the business – utilise the services of professionals such as tax experts and accountants to promote positive financial health. Build a relationship with the financial institution you partner with and ensure they understand your business mission and financial goals.
How to stay motivated to succeed in your business
Running a small business means overcoming obstacles along the way. Whether it’s running out of ideas, facing financial troubles or things just not going according to plan, as an entrepreneur you are going to go through tough times. No matter what you go through, it’s important that you stay motivated as this plays a crucial role in turning things around for your business.
So, what can you do to pick yourself up and put your best business foot forward?
1. Remember why you started
It is important to revisit your purpose. This will get you excited about your vision and mission all over again. Often, entrepreneurs get stuck on the “what” and “how” of the business and forget the “why”. Always remember why you started your business.
2. Set realistic goals
Nothing beats the fantastic feeling of achieving a goal. Big, unrealistic goals can be daunting, so set attainable goals that are consistent with your longer-term vision. Once you have set your goals, work on your plan with passion and tenacity and soon you will enjoy the rewards of success.
3. Be positive
Always look on the bright side. Focusing on the negative dampens your spirit and drains your energy. Don’t give negative thoughts attention they do not deserve. Surround yourself with positive people and engage in activities that liven your spirit.
4. Take a break
If you have been working on your business non-stop for months to make sure you succeed, it is important to rest and recharge. A balanced life is fulfilling and will help revitalise you and ignite inspiration.
5. Remember it is not about you
Whenever you feel discouraged or demotivated, remember it is not only about you. You have clients/customers to please and products/services to deliver on. This means that you’ve created something bigger than yourself to nurture and be a part of.
Business Ladies Need Insurance Too
With ladies like Aqeelah Harron Ally (Fashion Breed), Crystal Kasper and Palesa Mahlaba (Duo Desk), and Nandi Dlepu and Thithi (Wknd Social) owning the South African small business landscape, it’s no wonder that female entrepreneurship is on the rise. With women taking charge, small businesses are starting to fly, making smart business insurance an imperative for security and success.
Government research reports that women are increasingly becoming successful small business owners. The 2015 SME survey showed that 52% of South African business owners are female in the informal sector, while the formal sector sits at 31%. A testimony to women’s heightened business acumen, transformational soft-skill-oriented leadership style, and entrepreneurial savvy, the same report indicated that ladies are more likely to run a profitable small business than men.
The rise of empowered female business owners is encouraging, but the statistic that most small business owners are under-insured by up to 40% is not. If you are a small business owner, you’d be wise to realise that a lack of proper insurance for a business can open you up to all sorts of risks that could threaten the livelihood of your business and the people you employ.
As instrumental contributors to the country’s economy, it’s important that women are empowered to overcome the threats their businesses face. No matter what type of business you are running, you need to ensure you protect it by having the right cover in place. Whether it is cover protecting the contents of your business, your building, or if you are sued by a member of the public or a client, ensuring that you have tailored business insurance can help you to minimise the risks that can lead to the closure of your business.
Here are some vital things you need to know about business insurance:
Beware of these common pitfalls: There are three common pitfalls which often trip up small business owners and can result in a substantial financial loss or even closure. The first of these is basic liability cover, which, although often included in a commercial insurance policy, may not be adequate for your business’ needs. Insuring your stock and equipment adequately is another area where business owners need to be vigilant. Regularly updating the replacement value of your stock and equipment is essential.
Insure against business interruption: Some business owners don’t insure against an unforeseen event preventing their business from operating. Business interruption insurance is a type of insurance that helps make sure you can continue to run your business in spite of a setback.
Don’t cut costs on insurance: It can be a challenge to have to determine your business’ level of risk and the accompanying insurance needs, as well as factoring in the associated costs. But cutting corners on insurance to try and save money only results in inadequate cover for your business.
Understand the different types of business cover: It is important to note that insurance will vary in some way from one business to another. There are, however, general kinds of cover that are useful to many types of businesses, which include:
· Liability insurance: This type of insurance protects you and your employees if anything goes wrong with your goods and/or services.
· Property insurance: If you own your business premises and office contents, this type of insurance will protect you in the event of fire and flooding or other incidents such as theft and vandalism.
· Business interruption/loss of revenue insurance: If something unforeseen happens and your business loses money as a result of it, this type of insurance will help protect your operation.
GOT WHAT IT TAKES TO MAKE IT?
The first 1000 days in business are statistically the hardest for entrepreneurs. If you are still in business at day 1001, you have beaten the odds. Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?
In the Santam 1001 Days web series, we’re following 2 female entrepreneurs to see what lessons they learn and challenges they face to help you plan for your journey.
Is faith more important than finance? Does a mentor really matter? People or planning; what comes first? And what happens when things don’t go as planned?
Catch the real stories, real stats and insights from a panel of experts who’ll provide practical, workable advice for other business owners who are trying to cut it in the South African small business landscape. Will they have what it takes to make it?
Follow the web series or find out more about our small business insurance packages which start from as little as R162 per month, at www.santam.co.za
Santam 1001 Days – Meet The Entrepreneurs: Nelisiwe & Mariam