Here are a few simple steps from SmallBusiness.co.uk and Bibby Financial Services to help you avoid the stress of cash drying up.
• Firstly, budgeting is essential at all stages of the business lifecycle, and not keeping an eye on your finances may soon lead to your business becoming over-stretched. Be realistic when forecasting, rather than setting targets that are impossible to achieve.
• You should credit check your customers before entering into a business relationship. Aim to trade only with companies that have a good track record of paying their bills. It will help if you set your customers realistic credit limits and are clear what your payment procedures are in the terms and conditions. See also: The importance of credit checking for small businesses
• Always check your invoices before they are sent and make sure they are addressed to the correct department and to a named individual where possible. Every invoice should include details of the job, purchase order number, the correct amount, your business terms and a date.
• It is important to issue invoices as soon as a job is completed and follow them up with a phone call to check if they’ve been received and that all details are correct.
• If your customer starts acting differently, is suddenly hard to get hold of or begins sending you post-dated cheques, take note. This can often be a sign that something is going wrong and that they are struggling with cash flow.
• When you set up your business structure and systems, it is essential that you work as efficiently and effectively as possible. Don’t be afraid to review your suppliers regularly to ensure their quotes are competitive and offer the best value for money.
• Don’t be embarrassed about discussing money. Remember, if you’ve kept your part of the deal you have the right to be paid. Be polite but firm.