Dealing with an uncertain economy is never easy, especially for small businesses. Unlike their larger counterparts, small businesses rarely have the resources to monitor and take corrective action for every trend and issue. And even those owners who have weathered numerous business cycles may be faced with new circumstances that confound their otherwise successful instincts and knowledge.
While there is no crystal ball that accurately predicts the future, small business owners can take a number of steps that will help their enterprises endure the worst of times, and position them for success when conditions inevitably improve.
- In the face of the ongoing credit crunch, consider an alternative to borrowing funds from a commercial bank.
Consider a funding line from Charter Capital, a preferred provider of accounts receivable factoring services. Charter Capital has vast experience in economic cycles, and can advise you on issues specific to your business and industry. It may be helpful to arrange for a factoring or funding line. You may not need it for several months or at all. But if a lag in cash flow occurs, you will have a ready source of bridge money in place.
- Make sure you have good relations with your vendors.
You may find it necessary to renegotiate terms, but overdue bills and inconsistent payment practices will not help your position. What’s more, your vendors may be experiencing financial difficulties as well. Any flexibility will hinge on whether they perceive you as a reliable partner, or a risk. A factoring or funding line from Charter Capital will help establish you as a reliable partner.
- Similarly, keep a close watch on your receivables.
Follow up with whoever owes your company money and make sure they are meeting their terms. Be firm when dealing problem accounts, but also be willing to negotiate where appropriate. It may take only a matter of months for a struggling customer to become a highly stable source of income. If you can accommodate such situations without adversely affecting your company’s financial position, everybody wins. A factoring or funding line from Charter Capital will give you the freedom to extend even more generous payment terms to your valuable customers.
- Step up your marketing efforts.
Many businesses mistakenly see marketing as a luxury when money is tight. The truth is that this is the time you need marketing most. Along with reassuring your current customers that you are still there to serve them, marketing can help you reach new markets that will sustain your business now, and facilitate its growth in the future. A factoring or funding line from Charter Capital will give you peace of mind to accelerate your marketing effort knowing that you have the cash flow to support your increase in sales.
- Make sure expenditures can be justified, and that they contribute to the financial health of your business.
You may find it necessary to redirect money to areas that will enhance business performance. If you carry an inventory of products, check the accuracy of your records and procedures to prevent losses. Do not feel pressured to hold down sales for lack of inventory. A factoring or funding line from Charter Capital will give you freedom to invest in even more inventory than you might otherwise be able to afford.
- Review your operations and expenses on a regular basis.
If you monitor your profitability on a monthly basis, it’s a good idea to do it weekly or biweekly during slow economic times. Likewise, you should review your business plan more often. Monthly or quarterly reviews will make it easier for you to make adjustments and keep your business on track. A factoring or funding line from Charter Capital will give you a certain amount of flexibility in meeting your cash obligations. Obtain cash to negotiate prompt pay discounts with your vendors. Meeting your payroll and payroll tax obligations on a timely basis will most certainly save you additional expense.
Keith Mabe is Director of Operations for Charter Capital, recognized as one of the hardest working independent providers of invoice factoring for small to mid-sized businesses. Chaterc Capital offers a complete line of factoring and related financial services. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Charter Capital provides accounts receivable financing and asset-based lending for major industries including freight and transportation, consulting firms, service providers, staffing firms, distributors and manufacturers, medical service providers. Find out more at http://www.CharterCapitalUSA.com