Every business has to consider finance in decisions - some more than others. Every business could benefit from increasing their earnings - both profit and cash. But the real reason businesses want more money ultimately is so their owners (that's you) can have more money.

 

There are many possible issues to consider. If short-term cash flow falls too low, the business is in serious trouble. We need to identify what is the specific cause (or often causes).

 

We cannot list all of the possible reasons - there are very many. Money does two things: it comes into the business, and it goes out from the business. So there is the first division - we may need more in - or less out. Of course, it's seldom one or the other - usually its a combination. But it helps if we identify which can be dealt with easiest. For example, a quick review of where money is going may suggest quick ways to "plug the hole". If your outgoings are already tightly controlled, then we need to look at ways to get more money in.

 

That shouldn't be limited to thinking you need to sell more. While that could well be a valid longer-term goal, in the short term it may lead to sacrificing profitability, thus merely deferring the problem. It may be that you can improve things in the short term by better management of debtors and / or stock. Although these are just examples, they are common examples of business development practices that have been proven to work. There are well-known techniques for each that can work. Again there is not usually one simple solution - but a range of things which can work together to improve things.

 

Of course, they may improve the short-term situation - but if you don't develop, implement and maintain systems, then things will slip over time, and you'll inevitably repeat the same cycle. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Systematising every aspect of your business ensures any changes you make today will not be lost and need redoing next year. It also means your business will provide more cash when it comes to selling it - not the immediate issue - but a big benefit. Sadly when cash crisis hits, things like systemisation are sacrificed.

 

After the short term cash flow issues, we can move on to longer-term issues. Each area of the business (even if you're the only person in the business) requires some cash to keep developing. This allows for new products or services, marketing, training, systems and so on. Then there is capital expenditure - things that will provide benefits into the future. All of these can be deferred to some extent - but at what cost?

 

Finally, you can expect to receive some cash from the sale of the business - in whatever form that takes. Decisions you make now will affect the value of the business, so that should always be considered. Short term cash flow should never be your primary motivator. Developing a business of value ultimately requires a culture of providing value to clients. Decisions made for short-term gain can prove to be expensive in the longer term.

 

If your business doesn't have enough money, don't worry. Identify the need and the root cause of the problem. Identify possible solutions. Plan and develop your solution. Implement and test it. And keep an eye on it in the future - don't just think you've solved the problem once and for all.