It’s the end of January and whilst the waist band might be a bit looser than the start of the month your cash flow is getting tighter. For many it can take a couple of months in to the New Year to feel like you are back on track and in the meantime it’s just a balancing act to keep things ticking over. So now is the time to think about why it’s always like this in January and what you can do to avoid the pain next year. Some common reasons that I’ve seen clients experience are below and some thoughts about what you can do about them
My client didn’t pay me before Christmas….
If your client didn’t pay before Christmas think about whether they are slow payers all year round or just in December. I’ve felt the pain from mid-December when you just can’t seem to get hold of your client to discuss a payment date. Worse still they promise to pay and by the time its failed to arrive they have closed for Christmas.
Be pro-active and think about what you can do to try and improve this cycle. If it’s a big company it’s always good to find out when their regular payment runs are so you can adapt the timing of your invoicing to meet their schedule. Just bringing forward any monthly invoicing a couple of days could mean you meet their payment run and get paid 15 or 30 days earlier.
If you are dealing with a smaller business, then just talk to them and explain the pressure the delayed payment is putting on you. Honesty from your side may result in them being more honest with you. It may be you can agree a payment plan to clear a larger debt or just a regular monthly payment to keep them on track with on-going work.
January is always an expensive month
January may mean a Vat payment, the rent is due or the dreaded personal tax bill is higher than you thought and so cash flow is always tight.
Be pro-active and plan your cash flow. If it is the case that due to timings January is always a stretched month then it’s time to do some high level planning. Can you spread some of your costs throughout the year, can you get more clients on regular payment plans or do you need to think about your funding requirements. Planning the year ahead for your business will help you identify when these pinch points are going to arise so you will see them coming far earlier and be prepared.
I’m growing I need to invest
You may be growing your business which requires investment. Detailed planning will ensure you know how much you need and how long the pressure will be on so you can get the appropriate funding at a cost you can afford from the start. This enables you to focus on the challenges of growth knowing you have the cash behind you to support this and you can get on with making your business the best it can be.
If cash flow is tight and you want to have a chat about how you can ease the pressure, then drop me a line or give me a call.