Several of my clients bring in very little by way of sales between Christmas and New Year, making December and January tight from a cash flow perspective. While other clients make a high proportion of their sales over the festive season, and summer is their quiet period. If you run a seasonal business, there are a number of strategies you can deploy to maintain a positive cash flow.
If you read my article last week, Business Lessons From It’s A Wonderful Life, you’ll know there’s one thing that all businesses will benefit from — maintaining a cash flow forecast. A cash flow forecast will help you keep track of the inflow and outflow of cash so you can predict with confidence how much money you’ll have on week-by-week for the next few months.
This is always a busy time of year for me. As well as completing my own annual business review and preparing my financial forecasts for 2018, I’ve been helping my clients with their 2018 financial forecasts so that they can continue to grow their businesses.
Financial forecasting is a vital part of business planning. A financial forecast is simply a financial plan or budget for your business. It is an estimate of two essential future financial outcomes for a business – your projected income and your expenses.
Every December, I like to find a big cinema screening of It’s a Wonderful Life. A Christmas classic, not only is the film a story about appreciating what you have and never giving up. It also offers a lesson in the importance of cold, hard cash, and the importance of keeping a cash flow forecast.
Played by Jimmy Stewart, one of my favourite actors, George Bailey, the owner of the Bailey Building & Loan is devastated to learn his Uncle Billy has lost an $8,000 cash deposit on his way to the bank. This was the entire cash position of the bank. And because of one careless moment, the Building & Loan is about to not only close its doors, but bankrupt almost everybody in town.
Today I thought I’d explain my business model and how I make money. The received wisdom in my industry is that business consultants and coaches should deliver their services online, and eschew a one to one model. But I don’t do this.
Every day I see adverts encouraging people to start or take their business online, when this is not the right model for their business, budget or skill-set. That’s why I thought it would be helpful to explain why and how I’ve developed my own business in a way that’s right for me, my budget and my skill-set.
A business owner I know is struggling to operate a profitable business. She offers a vast array of products, some of which are clearly more popular than others. She regularly discounts products in the mistaken belief that this will bring in more customers and boost sales. But this doesn’t drive up sales, revenues and profits.
I’m itching to talk to her about what I call the Product Profitability Quadrant™ as I’m sure this will help her to create a far more profitable business.
In Friday’s article, I shared five ways you can boost sales after a summer slump. But if your cash reserves are low right now, there’s more you’ll need to do if you’re to prevent a cash crunch after Christmas.
Many businesses make 20 to 40% of their sales in the final quarter of the year. If that’s the case, why might you experience a cash crunch after Christmas? Because unless you’re in the retail, hospitality and entertainment industries, customers often put other purchases on hold in the run up to Christmas and don’t start buying again until January. For many businesses, especially those in the B2B sector, this means there can be a three to four week period in December and January when there’s not a lot of money coming in.