Your vendors are critical to your success in the market and your profits; they are at the heart of many of your organization’s processes and activities. However, you might not consider how important it is to effectively manage your relationships with them. Also, procurement should be considered as a part of your overall business strategy. Doing so will have a myriad of beneficial effects.
Creating loyal relationships with good vendors are hard to come by. When you’re working with excellent vendors, you should be doing everything you can to strengthen your relationships with them and build loyalty. With effective vendor relationships, you can ensure efficiencies that lead to smooth processes, which can help you and your business.
In addition to the benefits, the key to realizing these benefits is finding a financial partner who can help you make equipment financing a fundamental part of your sales strategy.
Vendors are a crucial part of a successful sales strategy. Creating and maintaining meaningful and long-lasting partnerships with them will lead to increased business for you as well as the vendor. You will also gain recurring business from your loyal customer base while solidifying a strong reputation in your industry and network. In today’s world of online information and resources, having vendors who can recommend you and make you stand out from everyone else is extremely valuable.
BENEFITS OF SELLING –
Consistent order volumes
Constant, linear demand
Better financial standing than most businessness
Market recognition as an approved vendor
Equipment manufacturers have a large client list
GROWING YOUR BUSINESS WITH VENDORS AND PREMIER BUSINESS LENDING – A well-structured business finance program, with a strong, experienced partner is a great way to grow your business. Financing is a powerful sales tool, which, when used correctly, can take your business to the next level.
Get the capital you need to run your business in less than 5 days
Prime plus lending with no hidden fees or catches
We offer traditional small business loans
2 to 10-year term loans, for $50,000 to $10,000,000 in financing, with minimal monthly payments
OUR RATES – We determine our rates by the strength of your business’s overall financial profile. As responsible lenders, we have prime plus rates and provide excellent customer service to our clients.
Today, the American Trucking Associations released its latest forecast for the next decade of freight transportation, projecting continued growth for freight transportation overall and for the trucking industry. As the U.S. population grows and the economy increases with it, we will see continued gains in demand for freight transportation.
Freight Transportation Forecast 2017
Follow that up with 3.4% annual growth through 2023
Modest growth rate of 2.3 % in 2017
ATA projects that 15.18 billion tons of freight will be moved
Figures will rise 36.6% to 20.73 billion tons in 2028
While overall truck volumes will continue to rise, and trucking will remain the dominant freight mode its share of freight tonnage will dip to 67.2% by 2028, with pipelines picking up most of the additional market share, and, to a lesser extent, rail intermodal. As we look ahead at the rest of the 21st Century, the projections found in Freight Transportation Forecast are invaluable to decision makers in the board room and the hearing room alike. Having good, accurate data is critical to making sure businesses are making appropriate investments in their companies and that our government is making the proper investments in our nation’s infrastructure.
Over the forecast period, capacity shortfalls will develop. We are starting to see some selected tightness in freight handling capacity, enough to suggest that capacity expansion will be required if the modes are going to be able to handle anticipated growth. American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation’s freight.
How is the traditional banking industry keeping up with today’s constantly changing technology landscape? Not very well!
Banks are facing challenges in several areas, but there are four that stand out in today’s market.
The top 4 challenges facing banks and financial institutions
Not making enough money. Despite all the headlines about banking profitability, banks and financial institutions still are not making enough return on investment, or the return on equity, that shareholders require.
Consumer expectations. These days it’s all about the customer experience, and many banks are feeling pressure because they are not delivering the level of service that consumers are demanding, especially regarding technology.
Increasing competition from financial technology companies. Financial technology (FinTech) companies are usually start-up companies based on using software to provide financial services. The increasing popularity of FinTech companies is disrupting the way traditional banking has been done. This creates a big challenge for traditional banks because they are not able to adjust quickly to the changes – not just in technology, but also in operations, culture, and other facets of the industry.
Regulatory pressure. Regulatory requirements continue to increase, and banks need to spend a large part of their discretionary budget on being compliant, and on building systems and processes to keep up with the escalating requirements.
These challenges continue to escalate, so traditional banks need to constantly evaluate and improve their operations to keep up with the fast pace of change in the banking and financial industry today.
What are the banks doing to help support and keep up with the technology companies in which are now in the alternative lending space such as Ondeck Capital?
A combination of changes, including: rising interest rates, a less zealous regulatory environment, tax cuts, and overall optimism among business owners will provide a much-needed profit boost for banks.
This in turn will help offset rapidly rising technology expenses and enable banks to accelerate transformative digitization of platforms and processes.
In addition, significant advisory opportunities will benefit those bankers bold enough to help clients navigate these changes in 2017.
Now the good news for small business owners out there is a clear majority of employers feel good about the growth in the coming years.
Small businesses—which are defined as having 500 or fewer employees—are the bedrock of the nation’s economy, with small businesses accounting for 54 percent of all U.S. sales and 55 percent of all jobs, according to the Small Business Administration.
The NFIB survey, which includes responses from 619 small businesses, asked companies how they feel about 10 factors related to overall optimism. Key takeaways from the survey include:
Fifty percent of small business owners said they anticipate business conditions to improve over the next six months.
Fifty-one percent of survey respondents reported they were hiring or trying to hire new employees.
Sixteen percent of small business owners said they planned to create new jobs.
Key to growth for small business owners is simple, hire the right people! Sound simple enough?
Well here is a strong way to start acquiring the right individuals to help growth and retention- Good Benefits Key to Hiring Effectively
Although the overall outlook of small business owners is positive, they also identified areas that inhibit growth.
Specifically, 8 percent of small business owners responded that the cost or availability of insurance was the “single most important problem” confronting their business.
When companies turn their eye toward growth, they need to attract new talent while ensuring current employees remain confident and happy about their jobs. One of the best ways for employers to maintain the balance between growth and employee retention is to offer good benefits package
6 of the biggest small business challenges And how to overcome them
Times are tough for small businesses in particular, who are facing issues that are unique to their situation in an economy that still certainly looks and feels as if it’s suffering a recession. There are many key small business challenges which recur over and over in business forums as major problem areas.
As every small business knows, the reality is that there are dozens of issues out there – however, we’ve had a look at six of those you can take definite action on and set out ways to conquer them. Let’s get to work!
1. Cash Flow Issues
Money problems in their various forms are top of most lists of company woes, and for small businesses the major worries are clients stalling payments, unexpected outgoings, and outstanding bills that won’t wait to be paid.
There are some tried and tested money management tools that can help you to manage cashflow, multi-talented apps that can create budgets, calculate VAT, KPI’s, automate bill payments, alert you to unusual outgoings and provide a free credit score.
It’s tempting to try to do everything if you’re a small business owner, and long hours add pressure. Fatigue, one of the most commonly overlooked small business challenges, can leave you disorganized, forgetful and cranky, not paying as much attention to clients as you should, and making mistakes. Business owners must pace themselves, which includes embracing strategic delegation, something that for any highly motivated individual isn’t an easy ask.
Start by identifying business elements that don’t require your expertise, such as mailing, and take on an assistant, even part-time, to help out – after all, it’s an investment that frees you up to do what you do best!
You could also consider delegating tasks that are outside your skillset to specialists, such as accountants or legal experts – the results will likely be more professional and can save you endless headaches.
Get into the habit of segmenting your day – analyses when and how you work best, the time you’d like to put into leisure or family, and create schedules that identify key activities and how long they’re likely to take.
3. Finding and Retaining Profitable Customers
There is a business adage that you need customers with a problem only you can solve, and it’s for you to identify that unique selling point and communicate it clearly to your would-be customers.
You can start by researching your customer base, and identifying the characteristics of your existing best customers (those with the highest volume of sales, and the most repeat custom). Make sure you integrate into this analysis any costs associated with customers, so you have a clear view of their net value to you.
Once you’ve done this you can focus your energies on attracting new clients from your most profitable segment, carefully differentiating your offer to ensure it appeals directly to this type of customer.
To understand what customers, want, you can ask for feedback from current best clients, which also counts as part of your follow-up engagement – another ‘must do’ when you’re looking at keeping valued partners. Find out what forums or other types of social media these customers use, and make sure you’re in there and taking notes.
4. Motivating Employees
Employee buy-in is very important for small businesses, as there tend to be fewer of them and apathy has a greater impact. There’s a real need to understand what employees want (other than a million-pound paycheck), and there are a few possibilities to boost employee engagement for when this isn’t an option.
Ensuring employees are happy and productive means communicating clearly, and being approachable. Good companies foster a relaxed atmosphere where staff feel able to talk to management. Perks like free tea and coffee, decompression areas, gaming areas and staff holiday parties cost relatively little and can really help create a great and healthy work environment.
You should also ask for employee feedback on their needs – this is not an option, it’s a must. Too many businesses don’t look at what their employees want, assume everything is fine, then wonder why they have a high staff turnover. Don’t let this common small business problem sneak up on you too.
5. Having Too Many Overheads
Overheads are one of the biggest small business challenges, and excessive overheads have driven many otherwise good companies to the wall.
Resolving them involves paying close attention to what customers want and providing products or services sharply tailored to suit. This means working out what customers need and trimming back gold plating or unnecessary services, or elements of products that they won’t use or aren’t interested in. Analyzing your transactions and asking existing customers what they want is helpful.
Where you add value, make sure that it doesn’t increase overheads (for example through well-judged deals on less-popular products, or other offers that benefit both
you and the customer). And don’t forget to ask yourself hard questions, such as whether you need that new car or printer, or whether it’s just for show…
6. Staying Current
Small business owners can be so busy they forget to keep up with what’s current in their sector. It takes so much time just to keep on top of the work that blue-sky thinking can seem an unnecessary burden. Nevertheless, you need to keep up.
When you’re scheduling your week, don’t forget to allocate time to track competitors and undertake awareness-raising activities such as reading (or writing) blog posts.
If you can schedule days out to go to sector conferences and exhibitions, the payback in terms of contacts and potential sales can be massive. Research events thoroughly to make sure that their target audience is precisely your target client group. If an event is important, you could also investigate becoming a speaker, positioning yourself as a thought leader among your peers.
Overcoming the main small business challenges involves many key actions:
Use software to manage your cashflow and keep money rolling in
Delegate, automate, and set aside time for yourself
Target your most profitable customers to maximize your returns
Work hard to create employee satisfaction
Ruthlessly cut back your overheads
Keep your finger firmly on the pulse of your sector
With forethought and tenacity, there’s no issue that can’t be overcome. As a small business entrepreneur, you already have these skills in abundance, and applying them to boost your business should come naturally.
One of the best tax benefits for small businesses owners just got a whole lot better. The federal government provides a significant tax deduction for small businesses that lets owners take advantage of investments in capital expenses, and this year they made the deduction permanent with the recent passage of the 2009-page omnibus spending bill. Called a Section 179 deduction, the now-permanent tax rule allows business owners to deduct the cost of equipment purchases or leasing payments up to $500,000.
Chris Wilcox, Managing Partner with Premier Business Lending, El Dorado Hills Ca based lending company stated “A bulk of our 2016 Equipment Leasing Portfolio has been made up primarily of business’s looking to take full advantage of the $500,000 Tax Benefit by making equipment purchases. By doing so, it helps them create a Tax Shelter for their company.”
In previous years, lawmakers would not pass any tax extenders until the last possible moment of the legislative session, leaving business owners in financial limbo with questions about whether they would be able to deduct more than the lower threshold of $25,000. This typically meant owners couldn’t make definitive decisions on investing in technology upgrades or making much-needed capital investments, since they didn’t know whether government officials would extend the tax deductions. This happened last year, when business owners were left to wonder the fate of Section 179 in 2015 right up until mid-December. The total cost of these Section 179 tax extenders will cost $622 billion over the next 10 years, The Hill reported.
While politicians again waited until the final seconds to pass the current extension by adding it onto an omnibus spending bill, by making the $500,000-deduction level permanent, lawmakers have built in a sense of consistency for owners, who can now make sound investment choices with the knowledge that the deductions will be available. This relieves a considerable amount of stress for business owners who need to plan their strategies for the new year by investing in their company.
Not only does the bill include the permanent extension of the higher deduction level, allowing small business owners the ability to purchase more technology and equipment, but the new rule also includes an added depreciation bonus for property acquired between 2015 and 2019. For 2015, 2016 and 2017, owners can deduct 50 percent of the cost of putting the property into service, while this amount dips down to 40 percent in 2018 and 30 percent in 2019. The added deductions should encourage more small business owners to take advantage of the new rule, hopefully making up for much of the confusion caused in previous years.
Benefiting diverse industries
Small businesses form the backbone of the nation’s economy and without the extension of these crucial tax deductions, many enterprises would be unable to find the capital necessary to grow. But with the passage of the new bill, owners will have the opportunity to invest considerable working capital in their businesses.
According to the U.S. Census Department, in 2012, very small businesses, or those with fewer than 20 employees, employed national, or 17.6 percent of the working population, while small businesses, or those 20 to 99 employees, had 19.4 million people working for them, or 16.7 percent of the population. Meanwhile, medium businesses, those classified as having 100 to 499 workers, constitute 14 percent of the population, with 14 percent. Collectively, these enterprises account for just under half of the total work force. In many instances, companies in this range must take advantage of any additional monetary assistance they can find, and in the past the Section 179 deduction has always been a key force in providing this help. Organizations in essentially every industry can deduct the cost of capital expenses, from agriculture organizations to retail shops to financial-sector companies.
As Farm Industry News noted, this extension will help farmers boost revenues in the face of sliding crop prices. For construction companies, the deduction should help account for the rising expense of labor in light of the skilled worker shortage. For retail shops, the new tax rule can assist in the costly transition to EMV point-of-sale terminals. Offices can take advantage of the change to upgrade computers or invest in new data servers. While most small businesses are eligible for this great offer, owners should speak with a tax professional or accountant before making any final decisions.
Leasing or financing equipment
While small business owners can use this tax deduction to take advantage of capital expenses, Section 179 also allows companies to deduct the payments for financing or leasing equipment. In some instances, the IRS lets owners deduct 100 percent of equipment lease payments because this qualifies as an off-balance sheet operating expenses. Going this route means a small business can then speed up depreciation for the equipment, since this can be deducted during the term of the lease rather than the life of the equipment. In addition, most equipment does not qualify as an asset, alleviating the burden of having to pay the IRS’s Alternative Minimum Tax.
From computers and heavy machinery to complete offices, it is possible to lease almost anything for your business. Leasing business equipment can provide a lifeline for cash‐strapped businesses in need of the tools of the trade.
How to get it: Equipment leasing is basically a business loan in which the lender buys and owns equipment and then “rents” it to a business at a flat monthly rate for a specified number of months. At the end of the lease, the business may purchase the equipment for its fair market value (or a fixed or predetermined amount), continue leasing, lease new equipment, or return it.
Upside: Advantages include getting your hands on needed equipment without paying the costs up front. Lines of credit stay freed up because the leases are not bank loans, and lease payments can potentially be deducted as a business expense. It is also possible to easily upgrade equipment once a lease expires.
Downside: Leasing can be an appropriate for any business at any stage of development. But when it comes to startup businesses, it is likely the owner will be obliged to put his or her personal credit on the line in order to secure the lease.
Leasing business equipment will include a higher price over the long term. The lease also commits you to keep the equipment for a period of time.
Still, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association estimates that four‐fifths of businesses at least lease some of their equipment ‐‐ a testament to the usefulness of the practice.
With another year, comes another set of laws and regulatory issues that businesses need to be aware of.
In 2016, many issues affecting the regulatory landscape revolve around employee pay. Changes to overtime rules and paid sick leave, as well as increased minimum wages are all issues businesses need to stay on top of this year.
Business owners have been inundated with proposed regulations that will affect how they pay employees in 2016.
To help businesses deal with these changes, Premier Business Lending has identified nine regulatory issues that should be on small businesses’ radar in 2016:
1) Overtime regulations: In 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor proposed new salary thresholds for white-collar workers. The proposal would raise the salary threshold from $455 a week to about $970 a week in 2016.
After hearing input from the public on the proposed increases, the agency is expected to release its final ruling this spring. Employers will need to be prepared to take immediate action in order to comply when that ruling is unveiled.
2) Employee pay: Employers throughout the country will be adapting to minimum wage increases, as well as new laws on equal pay and paid sick time in 2016. Specifically, there is a new industry-specific minimum wage increase for fast food workers in New York.
The country’s most stringent equal pay laws went into effect Jan. 1 in California. These new laws require that men and women holding the same positions be paid equally. Also this year, Oregon becomes just the fourth state in the country to require paid sick leave for employees. The new statewide law requires employers with at least 10 workers to provide up to five paid sick days a year.
3) Worker classification: New guidelines from the Department of Labor expand the definition of what an employee is in order to ensure employers aren’t designating some of their workers as independent contractors to save overtime and benefit costs.
Based on these new guidelines, employers should examine their third-party relationships and monitor state and federal agency developments to assist in the efforts to appropriately classify workers.
4) Privacy: Many states have either recently enacted or are considering a wide array of stricter privacy and security laws. These include new minimum levels of encryption and security controls, and stricter notification processes and remediation steps when data breaches do occur.
With this in mind, businesses should be prepared to increase the data-security measures they have in place.
5) W-2 filings: While, previously, employers had until the end of February or March to file their W-2 forms with the state, those dates are being moved up.
In order to close the gap between when employees receive their W-2 forms and when employers need to have those documents filed, 11 states, along with Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, now require employers to file both annual reconciliations and W-2 forms by Jan. 31 each year.
6) Retirement plans: By this summer, the Department of Labor is expected to release new regulations that may affect the availability of retirement plan advisors and may result in more scrutiny of a business’ selection and ongoing monitoring of its retirement service providers.
In addition, states may start to mandate that employers not providing 401(k) or similar retirement plans have their employees participate in a state-sponsored plan.
7) Credit card fraud: In October, new credit card security measures went into place that increase the standards for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology needed to authenticate chip-card transactions.
With this change, liability for credit and debit card fraud shifts from issuing banks to merchants who have not yet installed new EMV terminals and processes. The businesses should work with their credit card processors in 2016 to ensure compliance with the rules, so that they aren’t held liable for any fraud.
8) Online sales tax: Recent changes in the congressional leadership could increase the chances of legislation being passed that would allow states to collect sales tax from online businesses, regardless of where the businesses have a physical presence.
Currently, states are limited by federal mandate to collect tax only on online purchases in which the seller has sufficient physical presence in the state.
9) Workers’ compensation: 2016 could see some states weakening requirements related to the insurance costs and processes of workers’ compensation. Facing this possibility, some in Congress have said the federal government may need to step in to maintain worker protections and increase oversight.
In addition to the decisions and strategies implemented by a small business, there are also external factors that impact the financial decisions of small business owners. One the more significant factors is the current interest rate and the actions of the U.S. Federal Reserve to determine interest rate change.
The Federal Reserve chose not increase their rate during the Federal Open Market Committee meetings on March 15th and 16th 2016. The Federal Open Market Committee is the Federal Reserve’s policy-making committee. The committee meets again in April and then in June. However, analysts and investors do not expect another interest rate change until June 2016.
The plan, however, was originally for the Committee to raise its benchmark rate about one percentage point, most likely in four quarter-point increments. But federal officials delayed those plans after financial conditions tightened in January because of concerns about the health of the global economy.
The move went over well with investors. When the Fed made its announcement that there would be no interest rate change, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index rose sharply and closed up 0.56 percent for the day. After a rough start to the year, the major stock gauges had almost recovered their losses.
The Federal Reserve and Small Business
The Federal Reserve, or the “Fed” as it’s commonly called, impacts how much currency is in circulation, any interest rate change for institutions lending money, and is responsible for controlling the country’s monetary policy.
One of the main ways the Fed maintain its monetary policy is their benchmark short-term interest rate. This rate ultimately impacts everything from the price of groceries cost to the ability for businesses to hire new employees. Any increase or decrease in this rate inevitably spurs a subsequent interest rate change across the board.
Why is this?
Because high interest rates means it costs businesses more to borrow capital, while low interest rates make it cost less. At the height of the Great Recession, the Fed lowered its interest rate to near zero for the first time in U.S. history.
The Federal Open Market Committee did this in response to the fact that credit had dried up, and they hoped to spur bank lending to stimulate the economy. It took a long time for some semblance of economic recovery to come about and, during this time, interest rates have stayed at 0.0-0.25 percent.
The Fed kept its own interest rates at this level from December 2008 until December 2015 when it made an interest rate change from 0.0-0.25 percent up to 0.25-0.5 percent. During this seven-year period of near-zero rates, a large number of small businesses opened and closed their doors, while many entrepreneurs launched new enterprises and the economy slowly improved.
How Does This Benefit Small Businesses?
As previously noted, when an interest rate change results in an increase in rates, capital becomes more expensive, which means those owners looking for a small business loan may end up paying more in the long run.
However, many alternative lenders such as online lenders are not bound by this rate the same way traditional banks are. This can provide many more options for small business owners looking to access capital.
According to some analysts the decision not to hike rates could bring additional economic woes. However, despite some uncertainty in certain sectors regarding the central bank’s decisions, the bottom line is that small businesses can benefit from pursuing a working capital loan if necessary.
A common frustration among small business owners is the lack of execution or implementation of their business strategy and objectives. In fact, they may have clearly articulated their vision for their business – their Big Hairy Audacious Goal – as James Collins and Jerry Porras put it in their 1994 book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. But too often they feel stifled when it comes to seeing their stated business strategy come to pass.
And they’re not the only ones who see it; their employees do, too.
Business Intent & Your Mission
Make it so. – Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Commander, USS Enterprise
There is a planning concept that is used in the military commonly referred to as “Commander’s Intent”, or CSI. It is the idea that the commander, be it a General, Admiral, or even a lower echelon officer in charge of a particular operation, will articulate a high-level summation of the intended operation. In a business context it is the equivalent of the owner’s Vision Statement or business strategy statement.
Wikipedia has an entry which explains it this way:
Commander’s intent (CSI) plays a central role in military decision making and planning. CSI acts as a basis for staffs and subordinates to develop their own plans and orders to transform thought into action, while maintaining the overall intention of their commander. The commander’s intent links the mission and concept of operations. It describes the end state and key tasks that, along with the mission, are the basis for subordinates’ initiative. Commanders may also use the commander’s intent to explain a broader purpose beyond that of the mission statement.
So far, so good.
The “commander”, the business owner, writes out a business strategy statement and imparts this vision to his leadership team, his management team, and his staff. Everyone is inspired, excited, motivated and ready for something great to happen.
Time goes on.
A few initiatives are launched. Some processes are developed. Maybe a few new hires or capital expenditures are made. A little traction, a little activity, and then life gets in the way. Customers need to be taken care of. Things happen. But the main thing – the Commanders Intent – falls by wayside.
And time goes on.
Business Strategy vs. Business Planning
The commander’s intent was based on good intentions, but something was missing between developing a strategy for business growth and the actual tools, resources and processes for making the intent a reality.
There was no plan.
The business strategy was there. The vision was clear. The troops were on board. But no “battle plan” was written down and no tasks were delegated and scheduled. So nothing much got done.
And the troops got demoralized and disenchanted. The management got frustrated. And the Commander is not happy.
Plan your work. Write it down. Work your plan.
A business strategy is not as a plan. A plan is tangible. You can see it, touch it, read it, and pass it around. It takes your vision and your strategic intent, and makes it into a “project” and then breaks that project down into tasks. Big tasks, small tasks, short-term and long-term tasks. And even the task of managing and overseeing all the tasks.
A plan must be written down, but it must remain dynamic, not static. Just because you have a great battle plan doesn’t mean anyone told the enemy. And just because you have a superb strategic action plan for your business doesn’t mean anyone told your competitors. Or your customers, or vendors, or suppliers, or the weather, the economy, and so on.
You must be agile and flexible while retaining your “Commander’s Intent”. Even your business strategy and vision may need to evolve over time. But without a plan to guide you and your staff along the way, nothing will really happen.
It is said that cash is the lifeblood of a business. That is never truer than when your business is growing. The faster the growth, the more cash you need. Even if growth for you is getting better rather than bigger, it still takes cash. Cash flow analysis is a vital component that is often overlooked. But doing so may cost you money that you already have.
Using Cash Flow Analysis
Finding hidden cash in your business requires looking at your business in a different way. Accounts receivable, inventories, accounts payable, and other assets are can be seen as “pools” of cash that can be tapped if you need them.
Along with the pools, your revenues and your operating expenses are like “streams” of cash flowing through the business. Some of the streams drain your cash out, and others bring it in. The key it reduce the drain increase the flow
Where’s the Money In Your Business?
Cash hides in two places in your business—in your assets and in your operations. Finding hidden cash in your business requires looking at it in a different way. And you only need to understand a few basic ideas about cash flow analysis to find it.
Your accounts receivable, inventories, accounts payable, and other assets are essentially “pools” of cash waiting to be tapped if done properly. Your revenues and your operating expenses, on the other hand, can be looked at like “streams” of cash running through your business. Some of the streams are draining it although you can reduce the drain, while others are nourishing it and you can increase the flow.
In physics, momentum is a function of both velocity and mass. The larger an object is and the faster it moves, the greater its momentum and its power. And that’s the same principle of the cash in your business: the more cash you have at your disposal and the faster it moves through your business, the greater your financial momentum and the greater your cash power.
In other words, you can increase your company’s cash power when you release more cash from the “pools”, or stocks, of cash that appear on your balance sheet, or when you move cash through your business more quickly.
Identifying hidden cash in your business is not overly complicated. You just need to know where to look and have the right tools. Here are eleven places you might find unexpected reserves of cash:
Accounts Receivable: By decreasing the amount of time it takes to get paid from your customers, you will increase the amount of cash you have on hand.
Inventory: If yours is like many other businesses, you have excessive amounts of money tied up in inventory. Work on having “just-in-time inventory” and you will improve your cash situation.
Equipment and Facilities: You may have money tied up in outdated, inefficient equipment. You could save money over time by simply upgrading them, or you may be able to free up cash by leasing back assets.
Accounts Payable: You may be able to stretch out your payments to your creditors over a longer period of time, or take advantage of early payment discounts where possible.
Debt: Sometimes, it makes sense to take out a loan for some expenses such as large purchases. But, if servicing the loans is especially costly, it can better to pay off those loans early. Get creative with your financing options.
Revenues: Besides raising prices or selling more goods, finding ways to decrease variable or direct costs could increase the flow of money into your business.
Expenses: Small reductions in your monthly expenses can add up to big improvements in your cash power. It pays to review these very carefully. Also, changing the way non-cash expenses are accounted for can help.
Purchasing: Always negotiate the most favorable terms possible with your suppliers. Review your current contracts and look to improve the existing terms, if possible.
People: Do you have the most cost-effective and productive balance of full-time, part-time or seasonal employees for your business operations?
Business Systems: If you haven’t already, systematize your business operations. By becoming more efficient and productive you cannot help but to improve your cash situation over time.
Bank Accounts: Talk with your bank and try negotiating more favorable rates or terms, and looking to take advantage of any special programs at your financial institution.
Know Your Financials
In practice as well as in your financial forms, cash is really an indicator of the way you run your company. If cash moves quickly and productively through your business, and generates a good profit, then your business is most likely working well.
If, on the other hand, your balance sheet is lop-sided with unneeded assets and crippling debt, is an indicator of issues that need to be addressed. And, if your income statement is bleeding cash and are hindered from making a decent profit because of unproductive systems, then that, too, must be worked on.
Fortunately, most businesses do have hidden cash they can access. By looking at these 11 potential hiding places we have described here, you may find unexpected sources of cash that you could really use.