The money you need
Tips for maximizing cash flow
Lower your overhead
Look for ways to lower your overhead. Shop for better pricing on what you buy. Cut back on non-essentials.
Work with reliable vendors
Work with reliable vendors that deliver quality merchandise on time. If a shipment is late or of poor quality, you miss opportunities to sell your inventory and bring in cash.
Lower prices selectively
Make the hard decision, when necessary, to lower prices when items don’t sell. You’ll be able to recover your cash and put it into products that will sell more quickly.
Improve your cash tracking
Create a monthly cash flow chart, showing when you expect cash to come in and go out. This will help you anticipate possible cash shortages. Streamline your bill collection process so that you get paid more quickly whenever possible. That way, you’ll have your own cash to work with, rather than paying interest on borrowed money. Double-check your bookkeeping to avoid fraud and overpayments.
Invoice and collect promptly
Invoice and collect promptly from your customers. Consider having a 14-day payment cycle rather than a 30-day payment cycle. Be sure that your invoices permit you to charge interest for late payments. Be careful to track accounts for prompt payment. When you extend credit, you lose access to cash and the interest it may generate if invested. Follow past-due accounts closely. The more overdue an invoice is, the less likely you are to collect it.
create a customer database
Marketing tactics may include advertising, public relations, customer communications, special sale pricing, etc. But what’s important to remember is that a good marketing strategy always starts with understanding your customers and prospective customers — who they are and what they’re looking for.
A customer database can be a fantastic tool to help you market your business successfully. Here are some tips for how to create one that will help your business grow.
research your market
It pays to understand the world your business would like to reach — and doesn’t have to cost a lot to do so.
When should a business conduct research? Two excellent situations are when you’re considering launching a new product or service, or when you need to find new customers for an existing product or service.
Where do you find published research? Ask at your local public library. Look on the Web. Visit Web sites for trade associations and government agencies related to your industry.
How can you conduct research on your own? Create a questionnaire for customers, prospects, vendors, and suppliers. Ask: do you like our product or service? What are we doing right? What can we do better?
Go to industry meetings and trade shows. Ask questions. Listen. Find out what your competitors are doing. Get a sense of what’s happening in your industry, and what’s helping others to succeed.
How can you make hiring a market research firm more affordable? Find non-competing businesses that are in a business related to yours and propose sharing the expense of a research study.
Note: Learn about your customers, competitors, and market by observing, listening, and asking questions. If you use an outside research firm, customers may be more willing to give honest feedback.
increase sales with pr
A well-written press release will attract positive attention for your small business. Public Relations (P.R.) means a business’ efforts to maintain a positive public image. Public relations are often conducted through the media. Writing and distributing a press release — a thoughtfully prepared written statement — is one traditional way for businesses to communicate with the media.
What is in a press release?
Here is a list of the main parts of a press release, in order as they appear:
The most important, attention-grabbing, newsworthy idea
Essential info; who, what, when, where, why
Background or supporting info; optional first-person statement from key person/expert
Brief summary of your company: location, type of business, who you serve, year founded
Your name, phone number, email address
The date of your release and the phrase “For immediate release”
use low cost tactics
Effective marketing can be affordable. Here are examples of techniques used by a small retail store.
Give free samples
Give away free samples of your products to customers who visit your store.
Print your own
Produce your own catalogs and other marketing materials. With today’s technology — personal computers, software, and color printers — you can produce small quantities of professional-looking materials less expensively than ever before. If graphic design and marketing are not your strengths, look for reasonably priced vendors to assist you.
Use email promotions — but only customers who have given you their permission to contact them. The people who know and like your products already are far more likely to read your emails and respond to them positively.
Send personal notes
Mail thank-you cards to clients shortly after they’ve purchased from you. These cards need not be expensive, but a warm and friendly, hand-signed note will help build customer loyalty.