Small Business Cash Flow Top Tips

Cash flow is king in the world of the small business and unless you are particularly keen on using expensive forms of credit it is probably a good idea to adopt good working practices right from the start to keep cash flowing.

  • Be aware and forewarned. Only by keeping completely on top of your available cash situation will you be able to deal with any potential problems before they get out of hand. You will probably have included a cash flow forecast in your original business plan, don’t waste this, update it weekly and don’t ignore systems that can make this process easier; look at accounting software that incorporates a reporting tool as this will allow you to access the relevant figures at the touch of a button. It is however pointless having instant access to great information if you fail to respond to what it tells you. Look for looming cash flow issues and address them early.
  • Market Effectively. One potential reason for poor cash flow could be stagnating sales. Go back to your original marketing plan and revise your strategy. If you don’t reach your customers, existing and new, things are likely to grind to a halt.
  • Easy Payment. Once you have reached the customers and convinced them to order, make it as easy as possible for them to part with their cash. User-friendly systems like telephone and internet ordering are a must and if there is a way to pay accept it; card payments, direct debit, standing order. Make things as easy as possible for people to give your business what it is owed.
  • Credit Control. When customers don’t pay you will need an efficient strategy in place to recover debts as quickly as possible if you don’t want to end-up in a cash flow crisis, but one of the best ways to avoid the situation of bad debtors is to run credit checks before extending credit to anyone.
  • Supplier Management. Use suppliers with whom you’ve negotiated advantageous payment terms where possible and ensure prompt delivery, if every link in the cash flow chain is not working smoothly problems can and will arise.
  • Production Efficiency. Even if your customers all pay on time and your supplier is happy to wait for payment for months, cash flow issues will surface if you don’t get paid at all because you haven’t delivered. Assess the quality of your product regularly and maintain stock quantities sufficiently.

So, king or not, cash flow is something that can easily be managed and certainly doesn’t have to be a worry. If you take care to put the right measures in place early there is no reason at all that your small business can’t have great cash flow.

Team Building Tips for Small Business

If you own a small business you have obviously thought about how to better build your team to work together. If you’ve been in business a long time you’ve probably found that sometimes personalities clash and yet the people are such the same you wonder how this is happening. Sometimes it is the competitive attitude and similarities and personalities that cause the conflict in the workplace.

Yes, a small business is a workplace or at least it is for this article. No matter how you define your definition of what you call the business environment in your small business it is important to have a strong team that works together and maintains efficiency and a profit motivation.

There is no easy way to get people to like each other nor should you try. It is also OK to agree to disagree in a small business, but the team must work together instead of sabotaging each other’s work. The goal must be to provide great service to the customer and to make money. If one person on the team falls down other people need to pick up the ball and run with it and make sure it does not cause a conflict in the workplace or with the customer.

One of the best ways to build teamwork in a small business is to have a barbecue and invite the families together. Or go on an outing together on a weekend. There are simple things you can do to build strong teamwork in your company that may not cost a lot of money and as the workers get to know each other better they will get along better at work and also help propel your business through greater efficiencies in productivity.

Please consider this in 2006. And by the way I’ve been in business for 27 years and set up franchises in 450 cities, 23 states and four countries and I know what I’m talking about so if someone who is a Guru of workplace environment teambuilding says otherwise they are full of beans.

Small Business Tip – Sometimes, Less Is More

If you are a small business owner or are self employed, you have no doubt run into the challenges of designing a newspaper ad, sales pitch, or direct mail campaign. The tough part is deciding how much information to advertise, and many such marketing campaigns fall short or fail due to a lack of basic planning. Whether you are soliciting prospects by telephone, direct mail, door to door, television, radio, or internet, the campaign must be appropriate. What is your particular goal? Would you like your prospect to pick up the phone and call you? To visit your store? To send in a tear-off post card requesting information? The answer will determine how much, and what information should be advertised.

Here’s a good example that illustrates the point: Several years ago, I had some great success with a direct-mail campaign I designed for my business. I mailed out 3,000 postcards at a time to a list of prospects. My goal was simple – to get them to call so that I could set an appointment to meet with them and demonstrate my company’s services. The postcard was simple – on one side, it had a picture with a catchy slogan, and on the reverse, a list of features and benefits of our services. On the bottom, it said, “call today for more info,” and listed our phone number. We got many phone calls, which led to appointments and sales.

A friend of mine who is a business owner tried the same thing, but did not get the same results. Frustrated, he asked me to look at his postcard to determine the reason for the lack of calls. As soon as I looked at it, I realized the problem – in an attempt to seem more professional, he listed his website on the post card. Since it was much easier for the prospect to simply look at his website and get the info, only a few people called and therefore there were not many appointments set. This was a missed opportunity to speak to the prospect personally and gain her trust. Had my friend planned by asking himself, “What is the purpose of this postcard?” he would have realized that it is sometimes appropriate to include less information. In sales and marketing, there are times to saturate your campaign with information, and other times, it seems, less is more.

Local Internet Marketing – How a Small Business Can Dominate by Using These Internet Marketing Tips

Small businesses that are on a very tight budget can find out quickly that implementing local internet marketing techniques can give them the biggest bang for their buck. These techniques that I am about to discuss can be very easily implemented and tailored for any small business. There is a big misconception regarding marketing on the internet. Most small businesses are not aware that latest marketing mediums can pin point your requested audience. Marketing agencies are now using tools like geo-targeting and mapping software to ensure you maximize your advertising budgets.

One surefire quick local internet marketing technique is using the Pay Per Click model of advertising. Pay per click is also known as PPC is where you purchase clicks from a list of keywords you are requesting. Each surfer that clicks on your advertising is sent to your website of choosing. These clicks can range between .01 cents to as high as $15 per click. The costs are determined by how much your competition is willing to pay for that particular keyword. There are highly competitive keywords such as weight loss and insurance that are proven to be very costly. So to ensure you maximize your return on investment than you should be more specific with your targeting. Marketing middleman companies like Google and MSN allow you to pick the target audience you want. So if you are an accountant then you can pick keywords such as CPA or Tax Returns in your list. Then continue to narrow it down by picking what city, state, or country you want the users to be from. This is a surefire method for local internet marketing.

Second method of local internet marketing is posting to online classifieds internet marketing websites. I live in a fairly large metropolitan city. There is a wide and variety of internet marketing channels that I can use. The prices for this type of marketing are fairly cheap. They can be ranged from free and the highest I ever seen is $200 a month. A good free method is posting to Craigslist.com. Posting ads on Craigslist is the largest free internet classified marketing method you can implement. Depending on the size of your local city, there is a potential for tons of local leads that are ready to call your business on an ongoing basis. Typically, paid classifieds are purchased on a monthly basis. Try to see if there is a local newspaper in your city. More than likely they will also have a website. Find out if they sell marketing space for small businesses in the area.

Third method of local internet marketing is searching for blogs and forums that discuss issues and news regarding your local area. Do a quick internet Google search by typing “Your City+Blogs” or “Your City+Forums”. Do not be surprised if you see plenty of articles and postings about your local area. There is always some local citizen complaining about the city government not taking care of something. Or maybe there is an upcoming fall festival that is getting noticed. Find out the contact information of the website owner and call or email them. Just say you are willing to purchase advertising space on their website. Once I used this technique and received thousands of visitors for nearly pennies.