As many an experienced businessman knows, being great at what you do is only part of managing a successful business. From successful marketing to human resource management, there is a lot required for your success.
Perhaps nothing is as fundamental however, as proper cash flow management. Many otherwise successful businesses fail because of a failure in cash flow management. Small and medium businesses can often find themselves fully occupied, selling their goods or services at a profitable margin, with their owners working hard day in and day out happy to see so much profitable activity, only to find themselves unable to pay basic expenses at the end of the month; and then descending into a death spiral as cash becomes less and less available.
Proper accounting, administration and long-term cash flow management are incredible important, and necessary to match up income streams with expenses (who often have very different cycles and schedules), but also to be able to recognize what is and is not working in the company. Very often orderly analysis of the numbers will reveal very different profitability or even loss of different parts of the business than what one would expect.
When we do accounting, and cash flow management correctly, we will often identify cycles with periods of low cash flow and low capital balances. This can be true of any business, but especially true of seasonal businesses or businesses with some seasonal aspects.
For example, a harvester may find himself with very low capital by the end of winter, after months of not receiving any revenues, but in great need of capital to start out on Spring harvesting projects that will only generate revenues, days weeks or months after completion. The lack of cash flow management in this case could ruin what otherwise is a successful business whose services were in demand by quality customers.
Examples of similar situations are varied and many; Air Conditioning services (or Heating) in summer vs winter, luxury retailers dependent on the Christmas season, pool maintenance uncalled for in winter, seasonal sports rental equipment (such as skiing vs surfboards), tax services, landscaping and gardening, vacation related services, snow removal, and moving services just to name a few.
Besides the sharply seasonal businesses, most businesses experience some degree or another of seasonality. Finally, there are other businesses that may not necessarily experience a drop in activity or revenues, but rather will be subject to sharp increases in their costs or raw materials.
For example, a natural gas distributor (or other business dependent on natural gas) may find himself having to purchase natural gas at the peak prices of spring during what is called “injection season”. Had he purchased his gas earlier during winter (that may be counterintuitive but natural gas prices tend to follow the wholesale supply and demand, which precede the retail demand), there may have been thousands if not hundreds of thousands in savings for the taking. What to do when a business expects a period of low cash flow?
Opportunities and Dangers
There are many examples of businesses that could benefit from “locking in” a good price in advance of future demand. It can be as simple as purchasing bigger volumes of inventory, or purchasing more effective and lower priced marketing media. But all these require spending capital up front before those good revenues come in.
While there are great opportunities for businesses when they can identify future costs and purchase them up front at lower prices, there are great perils for businesses who don’t plan for upcoming slow months. Many can be stuck with payroll and fixed costs expenses that can bleed them dry, or leave them without the working capital required to jump-start again once the big projects of the new season come in.
Once a business enters that death spiral it is extremely difficult to get out of, since the lack capital causes further drops in revenue which in turn keeps feeding the cycle. It is also very frustrating to business owners because they realize that here is nothing fundamentally wrong with their business, and that if they only had a little working capital, they could succeed.
Very often, it is during these times that they start to look for working capital. They find themselves more often than not frustrated at the lender or bank who does not seem to understand or care about the seasonality aspect. The business owner looked for capital too late.
With a little foresight, disaster can be avoided and opportunities seized. Traditional bank business loans or lines of credit are an option, but today’s federal and state regulations make this process nearly impossible for most small and medium sized businesses. Besides the fact that stellar FICO credit scores are required (and the personal guarantee of the owner or owners), the long and tedious process which requires drowning in documentation usually takes at least many weeks if not months, even when possible.
For large companies with established credit relations with banks, or established line of credits to use as working capital, those options may be the most cost effective. For most businesses, it is not an option, as either financing will ultimately be refused or is too difficult and lengthy a process for it to be useful in critical times.
Great Financing Option Available or Small and Medium Businesses
Fortunately, there is a great option for these businesses. Your business’s greatest asset and proof of the fact it exists and operates successfully is its revenue. Revenue is an indication that customers want what your business offers. There are investors and lenders willing to take a chance on businesses based on their monthly revenues.
The quality and honesty of these varies of course, and one should beware. Efficient and Straight-arrow operators like www.quickloansdirect.com are your best bet. They offer various financing products and know how to custom fit you to the right one. For example, advances on your monthly revenue often do not require a good credit score, nor even a personal guarantee from the owner or owners. Your business gets to actually finance itself. Best of all, with a much simpler and painless process, they can fund you within 1 or 2 business days… and quite often the very same day (if you have the few basic documents needed on hand). The cost of these funds is somewhat higher than traditional bank loans, but they are fast and easy to access, if the funds are needed for the right reason or opportunity, then they often times make great sense.
Applying and getting offers with them is completely free, and you are never under any obligation to take an offer.
The key to accessing financing products such as those offered by Quick Loans Direct is to apply when your revenues are still strong. This is the most important lesson conveyed herein. When businesses start looking for funds once they are in rough waters, they are less likely to succeed in finding them and less likely to get them at good terms. The key is cash flow planning, and if you know that a few slow months are coming up, an have a few strong months behind you, NOW is the time to get the capital you will need.
Since these products are most often based on the strength of your recent bank statement deposits, even one week month can hurt your chances of getting the capital you need. The key is to get the capital when your recent revenues have been the strongest, even if the ones coming up will be the weakest. Once your statements reflect that weakness, this flexible financing option will many times no longer be an option.
Good accounting, resource management, and cash flow management and planning will go a long way to give you the strong fundamental base you need to actually do what you do best for your customers and have a thriving and successful business.