Cash is your business's lifeblood. Managed well, your company remains healthy and strong. Managed poorly, your company goes into cardiac arrest.
If you haven't considered cash management an important issue, then you're probably undermining your business's short-term stability and its long-term survival. But how can you manage business cash better?
Start with understanding how good cash-management practices can influence your company's growth and survival by reading "The Art of Cash Management," Inc Finance Editor Jill Andresky Fraser's classic article on the topic. Then dive into forecasting your business-cash needs and learning how to handle a cash crisis. Assembled here are practical pieces of advice, tips and tricks from CEOs, and tools that you can use to get a handle on business cash.
Credibility with vendors, bankers, and other creditors is built slowly, but can be destroyed quickly if your company falls behind on payments. Know how to break the bad news to preserve your business's relationships.
Hot Tip: Prepare for a Cash Crisis
How do you prep for a cash crisis? Wayne Karpoff, president of Myrias Software Corp., knew cash would be a problem late last year. His 15-employee, $1.5-million company dropped selling its products and became a full-time service business. So he built a contingency fund into his annual budget -- an amount equal to three months' worth of payroll. He got the idea when his bank suggested he set up a contingency fund to safeguard his mortgage payments in the event he found himself out of work. He dipped into the fund three times last year to float the company during project and payment delays.
Developing a budget is simple, and when created with solid sales and expense forecasts in mind, you can ensure that your budget will stand up to the daily demands of your business. Here are some steps you can take to create a cash flow budget you can rely on.