Getting a bill for an unexpected expense can put a dent in your business’s cash flow. Here are some tips your business can use to handle these unforeseen bumps in the road.
Stick to a reconciliation schedule. Know how much cash you have in your bank account at any given time. This is done by sticking to a consistent bank reconciliation schedule. Conventional wisdom suggests reconciling your bank account with bills paid and revenue received once a month, but you now have the ability to reconcile your cash every day. Perpetual reconciliation is easier to do if your business has fewer transactions. It may seem a bit much, but with the correct team in place, you will be prepared for surprises as they happen.
Create a 12-month rolling forecast. This exercise projects cash out twelve months. Each new month you drop the prior month and add another month one year out. This type of a forecast will reflect the ebbs and flows of cash throughout the year and identify times that you’ll need more cash, so when a surprise bill shows up, you know exactly how it will impact your ability to pay it. If you have lean months, you may wish to explore creating a line of credit with your bank to be prepared for any surprises.
Build an emergency fund. Getting surprised with an unexpected business expense isn’t a matter of if it will happen, but when. Consider setting money aside each month into an emergency fund to be used only in case of a significant expense. A longer term goal could be to save enough money to cover 3 to 6 months of operating expenses.
Partner with a business advisor. Even small businesses sometime need help keeping their cash flow in line and avoiding unexpected expenses. Please call if you have any questions about organizing your business’s cash flow and preparing for surprises.
Mastering inventory levels is a key to many successful and growing businesses. Here are reasons why prioritizing your inventory management is something to consider for your business:
Less shrink. Shrinkage represents cash that goes to waste because inventory is damaged, stolen, or past the sell date. Shrink represents an opportunity to improve the inventory control process. Understanding the dynamics of shrink will help focus your attention in the correct areas and ultimately lead to money saved. Action: Create a shrink scorecard that shows the source of shrink. If theft, is it occurring at retail or in receiving? If out of code, is the problem in all products or a select few? If damaged, is it trackable to the supplier or a part of your production process? Remember to compare waste to prior years and against your goals to see how well you are doing.
More cash. In a perfect world, you receive your inventory as soon as it is sold. Material or product that sits in the warehouse adds storage costs and risks turning into unsaleable product. Aligning your inventory operation with your sales cycle plays directly with improving your cash flow. Understanding sales trends will allow you to optimize your stock levels and save money in the process. When you spend less on unnecessary inventory costs you have more cash to invest into marketing, new product initiatives or capital equipment that can bolster your bottom line. Action: Implement just in time (JIT) with key suppliers. Explore ways to deliver product when you need it versus purchasing a larger amount and then storing it.
Improved forecasting. The old saying garbage in, garbage out applies perfectly when trying to forecast inventory demand. If you can’t trust your inventory process, it’s impossible to accurately predict future output. This leaves you flying blind when budgeting and preparing for future expenditures. With a firm grip on your inventory needs and procurement-to-sales cycle, your forecasting will become more accurate. Action: Create a rolling 12-month forecast of sales. The forecast should provide details on major product lines. Translate this forecast into lead times for your inventory procurement.
Better customer relations. Once you’ve optimized your operation, the quality of your customers’ experience increases exponentially. You can cut prices without sacrificing margin, improve lead times, and add new product lines with your extra cash. While the effective inventory process you built is humming along, you can focus your attention on improving your products to better match the needs of your target market. This will help boost your sales! Action: Set inventory targets to shorten lead times. Measure how many back orders you have and note how often products are returned as defective. If your inventory management is improving you should see positive results in both areas.
Inventory management will not take care of itself. Giving your inventory system the attention it deserves will pay major dividends both now and in the future.
Financial experts are bracing for more interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve over the remainder of 2023. Any interest rate revision – either increasing or decreasing – can cause a ripple effect throughout the economy. Accordingly, the Federal Reserve’s actions will probably exert at least a moderate influence over financial choices you may make at home and in your business in 2023.
Here are several ways that you could be affected by interest rates that are continuing to trend upward.
Savings and debt
As a consumer, you stand to gain from rising interest rates because you’ll likely earn a better return on your deposits. Over the last ten years, placing your money in a certificate of deposit or passbook savings account has been hardly more profitable than stuffing it under a mattress. On the other hand, the cost of borrowing money will likely increase. As a result, mortgages, car loans, and credit cards will demand higher interest rates. That’s not a big deal if you’re already locked into low-interest fixed-rate loans. But if you have a variable rate loan or carry balances on your credit cards, you may find your monthly payments starting to increase.
On the investment front, market volatility may continue because rate increases are not completely predictable. Market sectors will likely exhibit varied responses to changes in interest rates. Those sectors that are less dependent on discretionary income may be less affected – after all, you need to buy gas, clothes, and groceries regardless of changes in interest rates.
As you adjust your financial plan, you might only need to make minor changes. Staying the course with a well-diversified retirement portfolio is still a prudent strategy. However, you may want to review your investment allocations.
Rising interest rates can also affect your business. If your company’s balance sheet has variable-rate debt, rising interest rates can affect your bottom line and possibly your plans for growth. As the cost of borrowing increases, taking out loans for new equipment or financing expansion with credit may become less desirable.
Please call if you have questions about deciding on the most beneficial response to potential future changes in interest rates.