Christmas without cashflow can mean a crisis, but it doesn’t have to be.
The Christmas decorations are already out in the shops, and we’re starting to think about the holidays. It may be that you shut down your business for a week or two (or more), or it may be the impact of others shutting down business and/or taking holidays then to enjoy our Aussie summer.
Either way, as a business owner, Christmas may mean an impending cashflow crisis.
Here are my three tips to help you through this time:
Regular customers or clients can help with your cashflow if you have a conversation with them. Yes, a real conversation. You know the one. Pick up the phone and talk to them. Or if you’ve got a meeting, even better, talk to them face to face. Don’t be afraid to talk to them about cashflow.
Tell them that you’re looking into your cashflow over the upcoming couple of months and ask them to arrange to...
How is your reliability? Do you do what you say you’ll do? Are your actions in alignment with your words?
We’ve all heard the saying “Actions speak louder than words” (Abraham Lincoln).
While that is true, I recently came across another quote from Abigail Adams, wife of American President, John Adams, who said:
“We have too many high-sounding words and to0 few actions that correspond with them.”
While that was written 245 years ago, it got me thinking about what we do in business today. It’s more than about being reliable.
I believe there are three ways to look at and interpret Abigail Adams’ quote.
High-sounding words could be complex multi-syllable words that the average person doesn’t use on an everyday basis.
Equally, it could be the use of jargon, terminology or abbreviations which aren’t well known or understood.
In “accountants-speak”, like many industries, we have lots of...
Lack of concentration will impact your business in many different ways.
One of the biggest culprits is, as we know, social media. But I believe that there are other times where a lack of concentration will impact also.
I used to be of the firm belief that to concentrate, you needed to be in a quiet place. I need to concentrate, working as I do with numbers all day (except when I’m writing articles and books).
One small mistake can lead to hours of work to find it and correct it. This particularly applied when accounting was more of a manual exercise than it is today. It still applies today, though, when working with spreadsheets.
When I first started writing, I needed to be in a room by myself with no distractions. This ensured my concentration was at its best.
I couldn’t comprehend how people could work in cafes; surrounded as they are with clinking, talking, laughter, and so on. How could you possibly concentrate...
Important business lessons can be found in the most unlikely places. I’ve recently been to Europe and visited two Benedictine Monasteries.
The drawcard for both, in the first instance, was the opportunity to visit their libraries, but we found so much more.
The libraries were the second most important places in the monasteries after the church itself. In the Melk Monastery in Austria, the oldest book is 1200 years old and is on mathematics and astronomy.
You see the monks didn’t just study the religious texts; they studied a wide range of topics.
Many researched and wrote books on subjects completely unrelated to their religious beliefs.
From a business perspective, it is important to not only read books and become an expert in your area of expertise but also to read more widely.
For me, this first of three important business lessons is a no-brainer. I guess the weekly trips to the library with my librarian mother instilled...
The key to success is consistency.
It’s not always about being the best or having the best product or even being good at what you do. It’s about being consistent. Consistency in everything you do.
While this may seem obvious, it’s easy for consistency to falter. I’ve just stayed for two days at a hotel in Vienna. The first day along with the selection of juices, there were champagne flutes and a bottle of bubbly.
On the second day, the champagne flutes were there but no bottle of bubbly. The bottle arrived an hour after breakfast had started. Also, on the second day, the coffee pot was empty for a period of 15 minutes. While these are all minor issues, those small differences on the second day, meant our final impression was of lack of consistency.
Most times, as a...
Have you been blacklisted as a customer? You may not even know that you have.
Whatever sized business you deal with, you run the risk your actions could have you blacklisted without you realising it.
Here are three top reasons you could be blacklisted as a customer.
This is the big one. I’ve asked a group of my friends and colleagues. What’s the longest period they’ve waited to get an invoice paid.
The answers ranged up to four years, with many quoting two years.
What was horrifying to hear was how many of them gave up chasing for payment and never did get paid. It’s just not on.
If you enter into an agreement for a business to provide you with services or products, you have to pay. It’s as simple as that.
While there may be the thought that if it’s a big corporate, they can afford not to get paid, or they can wait for payment. When you’re dealing...
More and more your cashflow is at the risk of hackers. It may be money that’s due to you being redirected into a different bank account. Or, it could be you paying bills owing to your suppliers into the wrong bank account.
I’ve recently had the situation with a client where they received emails purporting to be from a supplier. The emails advised details of a new bank account. The challenge was that the emails looked legit.
I think the challenge as small business owners, is we’re so busy that we don’t stop and think. We accept the email from the hackers as real and act on it without considering whether it makes sense.
The last thing you want is to pay your hard-earned money to the wrong bank account. When you’re believing that you’re paying your supplier, only to find out you haven’t. This creates a whole rigmarole of contacting banks to get your money back.
Not only is this a nuisance, frustrating and time wasting for you, but...
What has society come to? Are we so caught up in our need for instant gratification that we can’t wait two months to buy what we want?
Seriously, if a customer can pay off their purchase in four fortnightly payments, surely they could have been saving the same amount for two months prior and have the money to pay immediately.
Or decide what they want and then save for two months to get it.
From the business owner’s perspective, I understand that you’re offering a service to your customers.
The benefit for your business is making that sale or bringing it forward, which improves your cash flow, and that is always a good thing. The quicker you can turn around your stock and make your sales, the better your cash flow will be.
I get it, it’s an added service to your customers to encourage instant gratification, and when other retailers are offering the service, you’re crazy if you don’t too.
Does your business keep you too busy to look at the numbers? Busyness is a part of business until you have systems and processes in place that allow you to concentrate on running the business rather than doing the busyness.
If you’re like me, I seem to do even more now than I’ve ever done before, cramming writing, podcasts, videos and marketing into my working week. But the one thing I always make time for is the numbers.
I know, I’m an accountant, so logically I’ll look at the numbers, but I’ll let you in on a secret, it hasn’t always been that way.
There was a time in one of my prior businesses where I knew the numbers were bad. I was too busy to look at them for many months; too afraid of what they would say, too scared that they would show me up for the failure I was feeling deep down inside.
When I eventually did look at them, they were even worse than I thought. By looking at them, I was able to identify my course of action. This...