Money in, money out. How can you keep track of it all -- and manage it so that you meet all of your business obligations in a timely manner? Take these steps to manage your cash flow.
Know what is coming in -- and going out. Set up a system to keep track of all your business-related costs and all your business-related income. You don’t need a fancy computer or the latest high-tech software to do this. Simple sheets -- electronic or paper -- can do the trick. The point is to develop a habit of consistently tracking income and expenses. Include ongoing costs such as salaries or rent as well as one-time costs such as those associated with starting up the business. Bookkeepers, accounts, and other financial advisors can help, if you don’t know how to get started. Several BOS partners offer workshops in tracking small business expenses and income.
Look for patterns in your cash flow. After you have tracked your income and expenses for a while, you will begin to see patterns. For example, many businesses have a time of year when they are more likely to provide more product or services, and times of the year when things are “slow.” Once you recognize cycles in your cash flow, you can begin to find ways to manage the flow.
Explore your options. Keeping your cash flow patterns in mind, brainstorm options with a colleague, mentor, employee, or advisor. You might want to hire employees seasonally instead of permanently. Perhaps you can contract for services as needed in some areas of the business. Maybe you can secure loans to bridge between the lulls in income. There may be other ways to trim expenses. Or perhaps you need to rethink your pricing strategies.
Anticipate future needs. As your business grows, plan for how the growth affects your cash flow. Will you need new facilities? New employees? New equipment? Is it time to pursue financing or new investors? Do you have insurance to cover disruptions to production, distribution, or other problems that may impact your business income?
How BOS Partners Can Help:
BOS partners can help you establish ways to track and manage your business finances. Each of the resources below has information and resources to assist you:
- AnewAmerica - San Jose
- Environmental Business Cluster
- Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Santa Clara County
- Gilroy Economic Development Corporation (GEDC)
- Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Silicon Valley
- Meriwest Credit Union
- Northern California Minority Business Enterprise Center
- San Jose BioCenter
- Silicon Valley Black Chamber of Commerce
- Silicon Valley SCORE - Counselors to America's Small Business
- Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center
- Women's Initiative for Self Employment
Additional Online Resources: