What is your cash target?

What is your cash target?

Rising input costs are biting into cashflow for many businesses and, as we know, if the cash dries up, other problems follow thick and fast. How we manage our cashflow in tough times is a challenging question for business owners but – as with most things – a good plan can get you on the right track.

If you’re looking to improve your cash position have you thought about how you can take stock of your products and services and focus on areas you can improve?

With this in mind, do you have in place?

  1. A cash target i.e. two months of core capital, (two months of Labour & Operating expenses)?
  2. Processes to improve cash on hand (see some ideas below)?
  3. Regular Forecasting, to predict future Profit and Cash positions?

Cash flow management goes hand-and-hand with business management. If you’re looking to improve cash in your business try the following suggestions;

  1. Focus on it – without cash, you fail!
  2. Look for ways to constantly improve your business.
  3. Shorten the cash cycles (the time period between when a business pays cash to its suppliers for inventory and receives cash from its customers). In other words, speed things up.

Following is a list of suggestions that could improve cash in your business. See which ones might work for you.

  • A daily Cashflow statement so you see what has come in, what has gone out, and what requires attention today
  • Adjust your billing process to ensure you aren’t missing any money owed to you and to get everything on a schedule.
  • Send friendly reminders to clients prior to deadlines.
  • Look at your terms of payment, and offer incentives for alternative methods of immediate payment (i.e. direct deposit).
  • Check for customer satisfaction as soon as jobs are completed, and send invoices immediately
  • Ask for better credit terms from key suppliers or see what expenses you can pay with a credit card (you still have to pay, but you may be holding your cash for longer)
  • If you are achieving 10%+ Net Profit over a longer-term (Rolling 12 months) your cash will be improving.
    • As inflation is rising, adjust pricing and look to improve margins and profit.
    • Ensure your Labour productivity is improving: $ of Gross Profit for every $ of Labour
  • Forecast Profit and Cash using sales and the true margins from your business
    • Rolling 12 numbers: COGS %, Direct Labour, Operating Expenses.
    • Assumptions are constantly changing so keep it updated, we suggest a re-forecast every three months and set 90 Day Goals for the next Quarter.

If you would like to improve profit and cash in your business, reach out to The Alternative Board. We offer NumerEyes reports to assess your business and work with you to achieve your Profit and Cash targets. And If you have any other ideas for improving cash in your business please let us know!

What does your business plan look like now?

What does your business plan look like now?

We’ve all been learning fast this year as we’ve had to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances and growing uncertainty. As we approach the end of 2020, we’ll need to bring those learnings into sharp focus as we either renew or adapt our business plans to take account of the changes we’ve collectively experienced this year.

Take supply chain management. Many of our business owners have started to experience disruption in this area so our planning for 2021 needs to address the risks and issues around our supply chain, what that might mean for the business and what we need to adapt in our planning process in order to meet the challenge.

If this feels too hard, or trying to look ahead seems overwhelming, don’t be deterred.

Take a breath, follow the process step by step, asking the following questions:

  • Where do I want my business to be by the end of next year? Think about things like;
    • business structure,
    • revenue,
    • profit,
    • cash,
    • staff,
    • customer experience,
    • my role
  • What do I need to get right to make this happen? In other words, what are my top three Critical Success Factors?
  • What are my key objectives (no more than seven) for the year?
  • How will I know I am achieving this?
  • Who will hold me accountable for meeting my goals?

If you are struggling with any of these questions, talk to us. We’ll bring you together with a board of other business owners who want to help you to get this right and achieve your goals.

Minimum 3, Maximum 7 (Optimum 5)

Minimum 3, Maximum 7 (Optimum 5)

A big frustration for many people is having too many things on their lists or, alternatively, not thinking they have enough options when faced with a problem.

Think about “Minimum Three, Maximum Seven, Optimum Five”.

This is a great rule to keep things simple, make better decisions and assist with planning for business or personal issues. The key is to force your thinking to come up with at least three or more items on any list you prepare (minimum three), and to limit the list to no more than seven (maximum seven).  The optimum number is five.  This rule can be used in many facets of our everyday lives, and helps to clarify thinking, and make decision making easier.  Start looking around
and I am sure you will see it in practice, and many places where it can be applied.

If you have an issue that needs to get sorted and you can only think of one or two solutions, keep thinking until you have at least three.  If you are brainstorming and have created a list of ideas or options that is very long, go through and prioritise the list.  Often, as you are prioritising, you will see that some of the options are really just hybrids of each other.  Reword and shrink your list down to maximum seven.  Some items may become part of others within your list.  The end result of this is a very manageable and focused list of three-seven items.  Five is the most manageable number, and often gives the best results in terms of being most effective with resources available.

Extensions of this rule are everywhere.

• How many staff do you manage (effectively)?
• How many projects are you running (successfully) at one time?
• How many (quality) meetings did you have today?
• How many (important) customers/clients do you have that you manage very well?
• How many (profi table) products / services / divisions does your company have?

Look for the three-seven rule in your business.  It may help you solve issues in a way that you just haven’t used before.

Author: Scott Morris