Tag Archives: Bank

How Do You Manage Cash Flow Gaps? Nine Suggestions

Situation: A company has a significant monthly payroll, and business is growing. Accounts payable collections are 90-120 days. Their challenge is to finance the gap. They have tried, but can’t get their bank to provide financing. An SBA loan will help. How do you manage cash flow gaps?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Look for private non-bank financing.
    • Your AR is safe, low risk, and from reputable companies.
    • Non-bank financing offers better rates than banks, with access to cash from the lender on reasonable notice.
  • Investigate Lendingclub.com. They offer business loans up to $300K at 5.9%. Lendingclub.com operates by spreading the risk over thousands of investors.
  • Talk to lots of banks – not just those with whom who’ve worked in the past. Given your cash flow needs and good credit history, if you offer to shift all of your business to another bank you may get a more positive response. Once you have talked to other banks, let your current bank know your plans. They may become more responsive.
  • Change your service policy so that you give your best service to customers who pay you fastest. Once the purchasers at companies with whom you work learn about this, they will pressure their AP people to speed their payments to you.
  • Put more focus more on services which pay up front.
  • Going forward switch as much business as possible to ACH payments.
  • Offer customers early pay discounts – 1% net 10 or ½ of the Lendingclub.com rate to your biggest clients.
  • Befriend lower level employees in client companies. Particularly those with whom you have regular business contact.
    • They can tell you how to get to the top of the AP pile.
    • Let them teach you their company’s practices.
  • Plan finances going forward so that you can finance the gap yourself.

Category: Finance, Operations

Key Words: Payroll, Financing, Accounts, Payable, Bank, Lendingclub, Non-Bank, Service, ACH, Payment, Early, Pay, Discount

How Do You Fund Growth? Five Points of Focus

Interview with Hannah Kain, President & CEO, ALOM

Situation: While funding from banks and institutional sources has been challenging in recent years, growing companies need to fund their growth. How have you funded your company’s growth?

Advice from Hannah Kain:

  • We focus on frugality and prevent wWhile funding from banks and institutional sources has been challenging in recent years, growing companies need to fund their growth. How have you funded your company’s growthasteful spending. However we invest in tools that enable staff to purchase wisely and stay ahead of customer demands. We also collaborate with vendors to manage costs.
  • As a result, the last two years have not forced us to change how we fund growth. We are getting large contracts and work globally to solve customers’ logistics challenges. Our challenge has been moving from centralized distribution to strategically placed centers around the globe, increasing inventory costs and cash needs.
  • Where we have changed is in how we negotiate terms and credit with our customers. We manage vendor accounts payable to maximize cash flow while treating them as business partners. This requires close vendor communications to assure that everyone’s needs are met.
  • We have been cautious with our banks and seldom dip into credit lines. Managing vendor payments has been more effective.
  • Essential to vendor communications are open sharing of information and goal setting. We work to create a team atmosphere. This is similar to what we do in our offices. In our experience, instilling the right culture is far more powerful than financial incentives.
    • We share information through all-hands company meetings and regular updates so that everyone gets the full picture.
    • We also share information with our vendors so that each side is aware of the other’s needs.
    • We create an annual one-page business plan for the company, and parallel plans down to the supervisor level. Performance against plans is updated regularly to assure that we remain on top of situations.
  • We focus training on new tools. Our staff gets technology they need to be successful.
    • We generously provide technology to our employees, provided that they give a logical business rationale. This includes home computers, iPhones or Applets to help them do their jobs.
    • Similarly, when a vendor or customer asks for a service improvement or a new service with a good business rationale, we invest to support this.
  • These methods have allowed us to finance most of our growth internally.

You can contact Hannah Kain at hannah@alom.com

Key Words: Funding, Bank, Institutional, Growth, Spending, Tools, Empower, Customer, Demand, Costs, Vendor, Cash, Needs, Terms, Credit, AP, Partner, Payment, Information, Sharing, Goal, Culture, Performance, Technology, Service

What are the Best Ways to Manage Cash Flow in a Recovery? Six Suggestions

Situation: As business improves the Company needs to manage cash flow to support growth. How are you managing your cash flow in the recovery?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • This is a common challenge following a down period. You’ve reduced personnel and used up cash reserves to survive. As demand resumes, you may need to add resources as you increase production. It’s important not to let accounts payable get ahead of your receivables.
  • Ask customers for deposits on orders – giving you up-front cash. Give priority to those who do.
  • Redesign the work flow:
    • Add independent contractors on a project basis.
    • This requires good cost estimates and well-defined deliverables.
  • Work with your bank and Line of Credit:
    • An LOC should cover 1-3 months of operation.
    • Ask for a lot, and shop different banks for favorable lines and rates.
    • An LOC is a short-term obligation whereas debt may be long term. Watch your debt covenants for restrictions on obligations to assure that you stay in compliance.
    • LOCs are frequently Prime plus 1-2%
  • If you have a broker, see what rates they will offer on a business credit line to keep your brokerage business.
  • The best alternative is to plan ahead and develop a strong relationship with your banker – including a reliable credit history – so that when need arises, the banker will help you based on your past performance and the confidence that they have developed in you and your operation.

Key Words: Cash Flow, Recovery, Growth, Deposits, Contractors, Project, Estimates, Deliverables, Line of Credit, Bank, Covenants, Credit History

How Do You Boost Short-term Cash to Finance Growth? Two Approaches

Situation: The Company is seeing an upswing in work and backlog, but doesn’t have cash on hand to support the work. The bank won’t increase our credit line. How can we increase cash flow and better position ourselves with the bank?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • First, try to speed payments from customers or delay payment to vendors.
    • Add a schedule of values to contracts to prompt earlier payment. Sweeten early pay terms.
    • Ask for money up front to cover out of pocket costs.
    • Ask vendors for additional time. They’d rather be paid later than not paid at all and can be surprisingly supportive if approached honestly.
    • Negotiate terms with customers and suppliers in advance. This gives you additional information to take to your bank.
    • Slow down longer pay term sales by raising prices to finance your cash flow needs.
  • Study the ratios that your bank requires in your line of credit agreement. Adjust assets and expenses to fit these requirements.
    • Can you time your sales between quarters to smooth performance?
    • Update inventory counts. Look for uncounted inventory.
    • Look at your equipment. Have you been expensing or depreciating it? Shifting big items to a depreciated basis can benefit cash flow statements.
    • Once you’ve gathered this information, see if your accountant can update or restate recent statements. You may be able to generate enough impact to go back to your current bank or approach a new bank to secure a larger credit line.

Key Words: Cash-Flow, Bank, Credit Line, Payments, Payables, Vendors, Early-Pay Terms, Terms, Inventory, Depreciation