Protecting your business from risky clients

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We just got clobbered by a client who went under, taking our receivables with them. We’ve gone from having tons of money in the bank to being very thin. Since this was a sizable account, it’s going to be hard to replace. We want to learn from this experience. What should we have done differently – so we can do it right next time?

Thoughts of the Day: Big clients can help boost the business, but they can also be dangerous. Make sure you have a good handle on what’s going on with every customer. Build in protections for things that might go wrong.

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Manage your cash flow so your business stays afloat

Cash flow is short, cash is tight. Makes it hard to plan the next three to four months. We’ve been making money, so I don’t understand. And I’m worried about what comes next, in case we lose money in our slow period. On top of everything, we have three payrolls in one month coming up soon. Yuck! How do I get out of trouble?

Thoughts of the Day: Look at the whole picture to figure out how the business is doing. Use credit lines properly. Be disciplined about managing the situation. Sell your way out of the problem the right way.

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Mitigating risk in your business

We have an insurance renewal coming up. We know prices are going up in general. On top of that we’ve had a couple of claims, which we’re sure will hurt us. We need help and we’re looking for recommendations.

Thoughts of the day: Know what kinds of risk you want protection from. Lower risk by making constructive changes to how you conduct business. Decide how much risk you’re willing to shoulder.

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Digging yourself out of a financial hole

I have no more money to put into the business. Over the years the business has been good to me. It has supported lots of families — mine, as well as my employees. Right now, I need more cash to pay the bills, I can’t get a line of credit like I used to and I’m tapped out. I’m planning to sell the business in the next few years, but it’s going to take some work to get it ready for a good buyer. Have I dug a hole too deep or is there a way out?

Thoughts of the day: It’s a different financial landscape for many businesses today versus 10 years ago. Figure out what got you into trouble in the first place. Be a conservative borrower. Prove your business has high value by turning it into a money machine.

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Buying a building? Think future as well as present

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We’d like to buy a building. We also want to invest in developing more sales. Unfortunately we have limited funds to work with and we’re thinking this building could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. How much do we need to buy a building? What is the best decision to make?

Thoughts of the day… Investing in growth is essential to the future health of any business. On the other hand, a building is a tangible asset, something that most service businesses lack. Make sure you have a handle on all anticipated costs. Cash flow is going to be king as you consider taking on new expenses and juggling priorities. Think long term, while you manage through the short term.

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