Happy holidays, folks! It’s that time of the year again. This year took its toll on all of us, and it’s a bittersweet feeling finally reaching its end. Let’s hope and pray that the trials this year brought along end with it and the next year brings us plenty of reasons to feel good.
Let’s hope the lesson of community and unity we learned in the COVID-19 crisis continues to be a part of how we help each other in trying times.
Another observation I made during the year – and it’s also something that made me proud of our nation – was the generosity of businesses that were equally hit by the pandemic but found ways to help the community around them.
I hope this holiday season brings us all joy and be the beginning of an era of prosperity and success.
I hope you like this month’s issue. My team and I have focused on some crucial business and social ideas for the holiday season and after.
How To Optimize Your Cash Flow in the Holiday Season
Cash flow is one of the biggest and most consistent problem small businesses have to deal with. As long as more cash is coming in than the amount going out, it’s okay, and you know how difficult it is to keep it tipping towards the right end all the time.Looking back at 2020, and what the year did to the economy and countless small businesses, focusing on your cash flow as the year comes to an end is more important than ever. As we enter the holiday season, which comes with added pressure on the cash flow, we have to be extra careful with how to keep cash coming in. There are a number of things that you – as a small business owner – can do to push your cash flow balance to the positive. I thought I’d make you a list of the most important ideas and tips that could help you with that goal.
CALCULATING YOUR CASH FLOW
If you’re new to this newsletter and managing your business, the first two things you need to know about cash flow is what it is and how to calculate it. In simplest terms, your cash flow is what’s left when you deduct your liabilities from the cash that’s coming in. In accounting terms, the difference between your accounts receivable and accounts payable is your cash flow at any given point. You can calculate it using this simple formula: Cash In – (Cash Out + Inventory) = Cash Flow. If the value you get is positive, it means your cash flow is flowing in the right direction and you’re collecting more money than you’re spending. If it’s in the negative, that’s bad news. Now, when it comes to cash flow, most of the things you plan will not work out if you’re not smart about your calculations and use them to predict whether or not your cash flow will be in the positive in any given month.
MAKE YOUR HOLIDAY BUDGET
Now that you have a clear picture of what cash flow is all about, here’s the first thing you need to take control of your cash flow: make a holiday season budget. You will be making far more sales in the holiday season compared to any other part of the year – and this is much truer in 2020. The fact that you’ll have more to deal with during the holidays is the first reason you need to work out a budget. Without a budget and an estimate of your cash flow accurate to a certain degree, you’ll be baffled managing your cash and, thus, not only make bad decisions but may also miss on big opportunities.Even if it’s a rough estimate, it will do as long as you keep in mind all the key factors that could affect your cash flow during the holidays, such as when you’re sure to receive payments on outstanding invoices or where your liabilities will stand in any particular week. Keep each of your liabilities’ due date in mind so you can make sure you get your invoices cleared before then.
IT’S TIME TO REVISE YOUR PAYMENT TERMS
Now that you have a somewhat clear picture of what your cash flow position will be during the holidays, the first thing you should do is renegotiate your payment terms both with your customers and suppliers. Except the invoices you can’t ignore during the holiday season, you should get on the phone with your suppliers and extend due dates for the rest of your due payments.
On the other hand, you should connect with customers and talk to them about clearing their outstanding invoices before you are needed to clear your liabilities. The goal of this exercise is to create a buffer in your holiday season payment cycle so that your cash flow stays positive throughout.
The next idea you should try to boost your overall cash flow is offer prepayment sales for your products or services. In simpler terms, you offer your customers to pay for services or products that you’ll deliver after the holiday season. You will probably need to make it worth their paying you in advance with some kind of an incentive. Discounts work great, and you can come up with many ways to offer them for prepayment sales.
USE FASTEST METHODS TO RECEIVE PAYMENTS
You might also want to consider restricting customers to certain payments during the holiday season. The idea here is, again, to keep your cash flow in the positive, and that’s not going to happen if you accept international transfers that take several business days to complete – especially when you’re in the holiday season.
KEEP STAFFING NEEDS LOW
Finally, a very important idea that many small business owners fail to execute in the holiday season is to keep their staff to the minimum. It keeps your costs lower and helps your cash flow balance. These are just some of the suggestions I often give to my clients for improving their cash flow during the holiday season. If you have any other ideas in mind that you want to try, call in to set up a consultation with me and I’ll tell you if you can improve results that way.
USING TIMES OF CRISIS TO FIND NEW ROADS TO SUCCESS
2020 has been a long test for small businesses. With limited support available from the government, business owners have to do more than usual to survive the pandemic economy – and I mean that for more than how well you apply my suggestions for optimizing your cash flow during the holiday season. I think a much more fundamental factor needs to be looked at for this problem: your perspective of a crisis. You see, people who get overwhelmed by a crisis often fail to survive it. Those who keep their perspective in check and try to look at a crisis as an opportunity find unexpected ways to build a successful future for their business.
It’s certainly easier said than done, but it does help a lot. If you look at a time when you’re the economy is in a rut as an opportunity, you will find you can do a lot of course correction for your business. If you’ve been using a poor strategy that you didn’t find the chance to fix before, you can do that now. If you had been putting off something new that could increase customer engagement for later, now is the perfect time to try it out. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve worked with a lot of my clients along these lines. It was the ideal opportunity for me to try out this idea that I’ve had for a long time, and it allowed my clients to reorganize their businesses with a much more robust strategy that will surely benefit them in the post-COVID economy. With this perspective, you will not only find something useful to do for your business but may also find ways to revive business faster than you thought you would once things begin to get back to normal.