Tag Archives: Line of Credit

What are Best Ways to Boost Cash Flow? Five Guidelines

Situation: A company is frequently short of cash at payroll time. It has good revenue and profitability, but timing of receipts can make it difficult to meet payroll. Are the CEO and CFO doing something wrong, and what changes should they look at to better manage cash flow needs? What are best ways to boost cash flow?

  • All financing begins with your cash flow pattern! Your ability to manage cash flow is the foundation of credit worthiness. It is both a reflection of past performance and specific future performance expectations.
    • What can you do to optimize your situation?
      • First – put your own house in order!
      • Review your business model and the aspects of the business model that are causing cash flow challenges. Based on what you find, fine-tune your business model and its cash flow capacity. If receipts are the challenge, work with your customers to focus on timely payments.
      • Understand your financing needs in their full context. What short-term financing options are available? Will your bank offer you better terms on your line of credit to keep your business.
    • Stop, think and analyze before you act.
      • Framing:  View the problem in its full context!
      • Alternatives:  Consider all relevant choices!
      • Trade-offs:  Get more than you are giving up!
  • It is important to fine tune your business model, not just in slack times when you have the time, but also in good times so that you are well-prepared for the next slack period.
  • When times are flush, set aside funds to invest in analysis of your business model.
  • Special thanks and in memory of Eric Helfert, PhD for his advice in this discussion.

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