The one thing I always hear from clients when I start working with them is “I want to make more money”, “cash is really tight”, “I want to grow but I have no money to do it” And here’s the thing, if you don’t manage your money properly, then it will leave you and it won’t be coming back.
There’s no point in spending your time at the gym, focusing on your personal health if your cash health is poor. There’s nothing that will bring you crashing down into despair faster than a dwindling bank account and bills still rolling in.
Cashflow is everything. Read that again. Cashflow is EVERYTHING.
If you have more money going out than coming in right now, then you have a serious problem. But the good news is, you can change that. You’re here and that’s a great start.
Growing a business as a side hustle or as a full time gig can be really exciting in the beginning and you might be lucky and start seeing a response to your business and sales rolling in, but what happens when you don’t?
Believe me when I say, I’ve found myself in the nightmare of having really poor cashflow and having the constant need to reinvest in my growing business. As a product-based business owner, the need to continuously reinvest in the business in marketing, manufacturing, product development and more kept the income always going out faster than it came in. As my business grew, so did my investment back into the business. Manufacturing orders were larger, shipping expenses were huge and the general upkeep on marketing was costing me time AND money. I had a problem. My cash was flowing only one way… OUT!
Sure, there are the old bank loans you can go and apply for but what happens if you can’t get approval because your business isn’t making PROFIT. You can have all the money in the world coming into your business from sales, but if your business isn’t profitable then the banks won’t look at you. And what if you have dependants or your household expenses are stacked against you? Fast forward to PANIC MODE!
The bank isn’t responsible for saving you. And forget your ego and thinking that your business deserves to be taken seriously. They don’t care. But that doesn’t mean that’s the only way to keep growing without having to sell the house.
You really need to understand your cashflow cycle, that’s the money you can foresee coming in regularly.
Tip – Don’t pay your bills before they are due!
I know for some of you this might sound crazy, but it’s the best way to control your cash flow. If you’re struggling in your cash flow, talk to your debtors and be honest with them about your current cash flow state and ask for an extension if needed. Holding onto your cash allows you to use it as you need, day to day. And sometimes one day makes all the difference. You may have a bill not due for 2 weeks and many of you might be tempted to pay it today, but what if something more urgent comes up tomorrow? You have TWO weeks to make some additional income before that bill needs to be paid. So hold your cash people.
And this doesn’t mean not to pay your bills. Always pay your bills. Just don’t pay them til they are due.
As a business owner who is in the product game and my own manufacturing, I can tell you that the hardest juggle with cash flow is the outlay between producing your next order and collecting the money from your customers. It’s the ultimate juggle in business. But there are a couple of ideas that you may not know about that can sometimes save your skin.
PayPal has a great opportunity for business owners where they can provide you a Working Capital Loan. If you already use PayPal in your business you may not even be aware of this, but it’s a good one. It works by giving you a loan, based on your online sales for the previous 12 months. You can borrow up to 35% of your PayPal sales. Once you’ve applied for the loan, it’s a one-time fee, interest free and is paid back via your online sales. I’ve recommended this to lot’s of my clients and it’s been instrumental in allowing them to keep growing. Once your PayPal loan is paid off in full, you can then apply for another one. It’s that simple. No credit checks, no crazy 25 page loan applications. It’s gold.
Minimise your spending and unnecessary expenses. Reduce your waste. If you don’t NEED it don’t do it. Get really disciplined and learn to scrutinise your own spending. I’ve seen so many people spend money frivolously and then in tears at the end of the month because it’s all too stressful. You’re not a Kardashian, so don’t spend like you are. Get SMART! You can’t control your sales but you can control your spending.
Are you addicted to the credit card tap? How easy is it these days simply to tap and forget? Well, you only really forget until you open the dreaded credit card statement and that big scary number smacks you in the face! We’ve all been there.
When was the last time you took a good hard look at your Profit and Loss? And did you really understand it? Where was your highest spend? Did it make an impact in your sales? Or was it something you could have probably done without?
The biggest mistake business owners are making right now is advertising. So much money is being spent on online advertising and getting little to no result. Most of the time business owners don’t even understand their ROI because they are outsourcing this part of their business and putting way too much trust in someone who’s selling them on “big picture”. If it’s not working in your business today, then stop wasting your time and money.
If your cash flow is stalling and you are a product-based business consider cutting your losses and clearing dead stock lines. It’s a great way to promote a sale on your website to drive traffic and if you offer a deal that’s too good not to jump on you’ll get that conversion.
An example of this was when in one of my product-based businesses I was sitting on over 15000+ units of a product line I had decided to stop manufacturing. And the second I decided to stop manufacturing, it was like the whole world caught on and the product line went dead. Nothing. Nada. Crickets! And I had 15,000 of them sitting, collecting dust, perfectly fine products but no one was buying? It was dead money. Money I could use to reinvest in my business and money I wanted back.
I ran a HUGE promotion where I slashed the price from $15 a unit to $2.50 a unit. Cost price. I wanted my money back and I wanted it fast. I pieced together some clear punchy promotional material, picked the best photos and ran targeted campaigns on Facebook. I also put together a newsletter to all of my wholesalers who were used to paying $7.50 a unit and offered them the same deal. And guess what?? I SOLD OUT! BAM! Over $37,500 back in my account in less than 2 weeks. It was a frenzy and yes the warehouse ran HOT. But the money was in the bank and better yet, the stock was gone. See ya.
You can use the above situation even to clear existing product lines. If you’re going to do it, go BIG! A $5 discount won’t bring in the sales. But 50% off or more and you’ll get peoples attention. Stop worrying about whether running sales will look bad for your business. Pick any retailer out there and if you’re on their newsletter list then chances are they’re running sales at you constantly!
Sell your shit. You know the old garage sale people run? Well you can run one for your business too. Chances are you are sitting on a whole swag of goods that you no longer need/use/want. But they’ll be there collecting dust, filling cupboards and taking up space. Get rid of them. I worked with a client recently who when I mentioned this started going through a list of things they had they thought were “still useable” but had no use for. I challenged them to make a list and send it back to me. When the list came back I did rough calculations and realised they were sitting on about $3000 worth of “still useable” stuff! They listed the goods and surprise surprise, they sold. Once the listings went up people started enquiring and day by day things were sold, money in, stuff out. It’s always an overlooked one for business owners, but get rid of stuff and get some money back. You need to remove the emotions you have with business. Particularly around holding onto things. Those things aren’t going to hug you when you can’t pay your bills and your breaking down. Say goodbye.
So there it is. Cash might be King but Cash flow will always reign supreme. And the sooner you get your cash flowing the sooner your business will ROAR!