Leading Edge: Paging for Cash Flow
Joseph Popper's pager doesn't just reach out and touch him -- it also sends vital figures for company sales, accounts receivable, and cash flow daily. "We've been paranoid about cash from day one," says Popper, CEO of $1.5-million Computer Gallery, in Palm Desert, Calif. "My banker warned us that it's easy to go out of business even with 30-day receivables, so I want to monitor numbers daily."
With his AirNote alphanumeric pager (from Notable Technologies, 800-732-9900), he can get those numbers wherever his weekly travels take him. The pager is lighter than a laptop and outdistances cellular-phone networks. When Popper got the $299 AirNote, in January, it was one of the few pagers offering electronic-mail capabilities; messages sent to an Internet or on-line-service address are routed to the pager, which displays up to 240 characters and saves 20 messages in its memory.
Popper wrote a series of macros that automatically extract sales, cash, and collection figures from his Excel spreadsheet back home and E-mail them to the pager. So, for network service of $19.95 a month, Popper has the numbers he needs sent to him each day. That helps him to better manage the daily deposits that go into his two bank accounts, as well as track sales and receivables figures.
"If you grow too fast, you run out of cash," Popper says, "and we've been undercapitalized from the start." But downloading numbers daily has helped him avoid cash-flow crises. "My banker is really impressed when I walk in and tell him my account balance."