For small business owners, finances are nearly always in limbo. If you are running into stressful money moments, there are some steps you can take to make those moments less frequent and taxing on your business and your sanity.
What follows are four tips for small business owners who find themselves strapped for cash a little too often.
1. Predict Demands and Big Purchases
Rather than feeling the pressure when stressful money moments pop up, be more proactive in scheduling and predicting your demands and large purchases. If you have a realistic budget that helps you forecast upcoming cash needs for the next few months, you can better manage and monitor your cash flow. Things like inventory orders, sale disappointments, and equipment purchases should be on your radar and in the back of your mind in addition to regular costs such as payroll, utilities, and taxes.
Look ahead to large reorders and equipment purchases to make room in the budget for them and save for these costs ahead of time, rather than having an unpleasant surprise pop up when you don’t have any savings or capital built up to account for them. Never spend money before you know you will have it in hand.
2. Know the Difference Between Cash-on-Hand and Profits in the Books
While your business may look good on paper, you may not have enough cash on hand to keep afloat after paying regular expenses and squaring up with your suppliers.
While your accountant or business software may say you’re in the black, you must know your up-to-date bottom line and whether you have enough cash on hand to cover the bills and recurring expenses. You also cannot afford not to pay yourself or your employees, so being diligent about your cash management is key.
3. Minimize Your Fixed Expenses
Speaking of regular expenses, you should monitor them frequently to see where you can decrease them. Will switching utilities save you money? Will changing the credit card machine or service you currently use save you money? Are their hidden bank fees you have been paying?
Knowing how to reduce your small business costs now will help you increase your profits and manage those stressful money moments the next time they pop up. We share some of the easiest ways to slash small business costs here:
- Go paperless to save money on printing supplies and paper
- Replace your landline with your smartphone to save money each month
- Market your business using social media and a blog rather than using a local newspaper or radio station
- Take advantage of credit offers that allow for 0% interest if you pay off your credit debt in a fixed amount of time
- Barter with suppliers or customers as much as possible
4. Negotiate with Suppliers and Vendors
While you may not like the process of negotiating, you may be surprised by just how much money you can save if you negotiate the next time you make a reorder or renew a service. If you have been a loyal customer, your vendors or suppliers should give you a break, even if they give you a percentage off your bill if you pay within a certain time frame. It’s also worth shopping around to see if you can get a deal from your supplier or vendor’s competitor and then see if they will match or beat the competitor’s price.
Finally, check each invoice from your suppliers and vendors to ensure you are not overpaying or being charged for a service that you don’t believe you should have to pay for out of pocket.
Small business owners will always worry about money and finances. But, if you take some steps to have a realistic picture of your profits, expenses, and cash on hand while minimizing costs and expenses, you may find that you have fewer stressful money moments popping up throughout the year. This is particularly helpful come tax time when you’ll have enough to sort through between your W-2 software, your 1099 software, and everything else.
About the Author
Julie is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison. Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts.