More tips on working from home, ok? who agrees?

Thanks to https://www.allbusiness.com/manage-business-cash-flow-during-slow-season-119423-1.html

In partnership with Simply Business

By Rieva Lesonsky

1st in a series of articles exploring how to make 2019 your business’s best year yet.

Getting your business in shape for a successful 2019 starts with cash flow. If your business is a seasonal one, such as a landscaping company, or a home remodeling or construction business in which work slows down during the winter months, year-end cash flow planning is especially important.

Without positive cash flow, you won’t have the working capital you need to finance your operations, pay your vendors, or meet payroll during the slow season.

Getting a grip on your cash flow

A cash flow statement tracks money coming into your business (customer payments, interest, etc.) and going out of your business (payroll, payables, materials, etc.). When you’ve got more money going out than coming in, your cash flow is negative—and that’s not a good thing. Your goal is to maintain positive cash flow throughout your slow season so you can meet your financial obligations.

Develop a cash flow forecast for the next 12 months. Review your financial statements from the prior year, as well as your sales forecasts for the next 12 months, to develop a projection of your cash flow going forward.

Using the cash flow forecast, look for potential problems. For instance, do you have a huge loan payment coming due the same month your business slows to a halt? Do you have a big construction job starting in April using materials that need to be ordered in February to arrive in time?

Figure out how to reduce expenses and accelerate your income so you’ll have a “cushion” for the slow season. Here are some ideas:

  • Start now to set aside cash for the slow season.
  • Go over your monthly expenses to see which can be cut or eliminated altogether. Are you paying for subscriptions or memberships you no longer use?
  • Ask if your suppliers are willing to extend better credit terms during your slow season.
  • Aggressively pursue outstanding invoices. Follow up as soon as payment is due.
  • Be persistent in reaching out to late-paying or non-paying customers. See if you can work out a payment plan or get partial payment.
  • Figure out ways to quickly generate cash from customers. For example, could you request partial payment or deposits upfront for future projects?
  • Expand your services or your customer base to bring in more income. Perhaps your lawn-care customers don’t need your services in the dead of winter, but they do need snowplow or driveway-clearing services. Can you offer those? If you normally do landscaping for commercial properties, how about providing and maintaining indoor plants for offices?
  • Offer off-season discounts. Generate cash flow by giving customers special deals on services such as pre-season inspections or end-of-season maintenance. If you own an HVAC company, offer a discount for customers who have their furnaces serviced before the cold weather hits.

Monitor your cash flow closely

If you use an online accounting software program such as QuickBooks, it’s easy to generate cash flow statements. Review your statements weekly (or even more frequently) as your slow season approaches. Compare your actual cash flow statement to your cash flow forecast, and adjust your plans accordingly. The sooner you spot a possible cash shortage, the sooner you can deal with it by tapping into your working capital sources.

Look at your cash flow forecast to pinpoint when additional working capital will be needed, and develop a backup plan for getting it. (Remember, the best time to apply for business financing is before you actually need it.)

You should always match the financing method to its purpose. In other words, if you need working capital to get you through a three-month slow season, don’t take out a long-term loan that you have to pay back over three years. Instead, look for short-term loans or alternative financing methods such as a business line of credit, invoice/accounts receivable financing, factoring, or business credit cards.

You may never need to use these financing options—but having them available will put you in a better position to weather the winter and deal with any financial ups and downs.

About the Author

rieva lesonskyRieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at rieva@smallbizdaily.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.

The post How to Manage Your Business Cash Flow During the Slow Season appeared first on AllBusiness.com

The post How to Manage Your Business Cash Flow During the Slow Season appeared first on AllBusiness.com. Click for more information about Guest Post.

Enjoy This Post! Big financial freedom fan here

Thanks to http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/personalbrandingblog/~3/HNh-suUPvws/

What is as unique, authentic and differentiating to your personal brand as a handwritten thank you note in a world of email, text messages and instant message? The answer: following through on promises and closing the loop, even if conflict is involved or you don’t have the answers.

Friends and colleagues are generally surprised when you take the time to follow-up. How many emails have you received saying, “thanks for getting back to me so quickly?” or “I appreciate your follow-up and for providing that information?” It makes you feel good and you get an extra boost of dopamine in your brain, right?

Take a minute and reflect upon how well you do on follow through. Taking out a piece of paper and pen for an informal “Real Deal” quiz. Rate yourself on a scale from 1-5 (1 being the lowest, 5 being the highest).

  1. When you commit to writing a recommendation or review on LinkedIn, how often do you do it?
  2. When you promise to introduce colleagues for networking purposes, how quickly do you do it?
  3. After a conference, do you follow-up with new people that you meet?
  4. When a team member asks you for information, how many times does he have to remind you?
  5. If a sales person sends you a cold-call email, how often do you respond?

Chances are, you thought to yourself when reading this, “oh my goodness. I have room for improvement.” So no need for formal scoring!

Don’t feel bad. We live in a world where multi-tasking is part of our day-to-day survival. We balance work, family, money, household needs, friends, health and exercise, to name a few. Many of us self-talk our way through the day, saying “Everything is great. Everything is awesome. I am great. I am awesome.”

Unfortunately in solving our follow through challenges so that we avoid undermining our personal brands, there is no Program Management Office to help us with our day-to-day follow through. As professionals, it is up to us to make sure that we do what we say. Here are some simple tips:

  • Follow through in the moment: If you are enjoying coffee with someone who needs an introduction, stop, pull out your smart phone and make the introduction. If you do it in the moment, it is up to the other person to kick the ball forward. It’s one of the few times that using your smart phone in a coffee shop or restaurant, or multi-tasking in front of someone else isn’t rude.

 

  • Write it down: Tasks on our to-do-lists, are typically not forgotten and do get done. 
  • No thank you: Saying “no thank you” or declining “a request or invitation is okay. Sometimes we just need to do it and not feel guilty. Imagine if the community bank client would have said to the executive coach, “I’m not much of a LinkedIn user and am sorry that I won’t be able to write you a recommendation. I would be willing to serve as a reference if another client were to call.”

 

  • Lose the temptation to ignore: If someone sends a long email request, ask the individual to cut through the details and be more specific about what they need or want. If the task is too daunting, let the person know that you are struggling and could use extra time, or to talk it through. If you are regretting promising to connect someone with a colleague, let them know that it’s not a good time. Just don’t ignore others.

 

Remember, people do not just listen to what you say. Your credibility, trust and integrity of your personal brand is on the line, based upon what you do. Imagine a game of Simon Says. If you were to say to your group, “Simon Says, put your hands on your hips” and you put your hands on your head, what do you think would happen? More than half the group would put their hands on their heads.

The post Following Through: The Toughest Easy Job appeared first on Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career.

Important Post about financial freedom! Click now to See more! Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Thanks to https://www.allbusiness.com/manage-business-cash-flow-during-slow-season-119423-1.html

In partnership with Simply Business

By Rieva Lesonsky

1st in a series of articles exploring how to make 2019 your business’s best year yet.

Getting your business in shape for a successful 2019 starts with cash flow. If your business is a seasonal one, such as a landscaping company, or a home remodeling or construction business in which work slows down during the winter months, year-end cash flow planning is especially important.

Without positive cash flow, you won’t have the working capital you need to finance your operations, pay your vendors, or meet payroll during the slow season.

Getting a grip on your cash flow

A cash flow statement tracks money coming into your business (customer payments, interest, etc.) and going out of your business (payroll, payables, materials, etc.). When you’ve got more money going out than coming in, your cash flow is negative—and that’s not a good thing. Your goal is to maintain positive cash flow throughout your slow season so you can meet your financial obligations.

Develop a cash flow forecast for the next 12 months. Review your financial statements from the prior year, as well as your sales forecasts for the next 12 months, to develop a projection of your cash flow going forward.

Using the cash flow forecast, look for potential problems. For instance, do you have a huge loan payment coming due the same month your business slows to a halt? Do you have a big construction job starting in April using materials that need to be ordered in February to arrive in time?

Figure out how to reduce expenses and accelerate your income so you’ll have a “cushion” for the slow season. Here are some ideas:

  • Start now to set aside cash for the slow season.
  • Go over your monthly expenses to see which can be cut or eliminated altogether. Are you paying for subscriptions or memberships you no longer use?
  • Ask if your suppliers are willing to extend better credit terms during your slow season.
  • Aggressively pursue outstanding invoices. Follow up as soon as payment is due.
  • Be persistent in reaching out to late-paying or non-paying customers. See if you can work out a payment plan or get partial payment.
  • Figure out ways to quickly generate cash from customers. For example, could you request partial payment or deposits upfront for future projects?
  • Expand your services or your customer base to bring in more income. Perhaps your lawn-care customers don’t need your services in the dead of winter, but they do need snowplow or driveway-clearing services. Can you offer those? If you normally do landscaping for commercial properties, how about providing and maintaining indoor plants for offices?
  • Offer off-season discounts. Generate cash flow by giving customers special deals on services such as pre-season inspections or end-of-season maintenance. If you own an HVAC company, offer a discount for customers who have their furnaces serviced before the cold weather hits.

Monitor your cash flow closely

If you use an online accounting software program such as QuickBooks, it’s easy to generate cash flow statements. Review your statements weekly (or even more frequently) as your slow season approaches. Compare your actual cash flow statement to your cash flow forecast, and adjust your plans accordingly. The sooner you spot a possible cash shortage, the sooner you can deal with it by tapping into your working capital sources.

Look at your cash flow forecast to pinpoint when additional working capital will be needed, and develop a backup plan for getting it. (Remember, the best time to apply for business financing is before you actually need it.)

You should always match the financing method to its purpose. In other words, if you need working capital to get you through a three-month slow season, don’t take out a long-term loan that you have to pay back over three years. Instead, look for short-term loans or alternative financing methods such as a business line of credit, invoice/accounts receivable financing, factoring, or business credit cards.

You may never need to use these financing options—but having them available will put you in a better position to weather the winter and deal with any financial ups and downs.

About the Author

rieva lesonskyRieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at rieva@smallbizdaily.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.

The post How to Manage Your Business Cash Flow During the Slow Season appeared first on AllBusiness.com

The post How to Manage Your Business Cash Flow During the Slow Season appeared first on AllBusiness.com. Click for more information about Guest Post.

More info on financial freedom, ok? like = agree

Thanks to http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SmallBusinessTrends/~3/0o3p6tcavBE/small-business-healthcare-concerns.html

Small Business Healthcare Concerns Top Worry

A new poll sees healthcare as the top issue for small businesses as the new Congress takes shape after the midterm elections. The numbers come from a recent poll conducted by The Small Business Roundtable, a small business and entrepreneur organization dedicated to the advancement of this critical aspect of the American economy.

Small Business Healthcare Concerns

A full 31% of the respondents marked healthcare as their number one concern if there was only one issue for the new Congress to deal with in the upcoming year.

Changes to Obamacare Remain a Focus

This comes after several attempts by the Trump administration to repeal and replace what’s been commonly referred to as Obama Care. At the center of some of this controversy are pre-existing conditions and whether or not they will be part of any healthcare packages.

Healthcare Outpaces Immigration as Top Topic

Although a number of Americans have protection against denial of coverage for these conditions, there is widely thought to be a percentage that will need to turn to private markets or be uninsured if they are denied.

The issues surrounding healthcare are top of mind for small business owners and the American population alike. The poll, called The Small Business Policy Agenda, even placed healthcare ahead of more red button issues like immigration reform, seen by only 15% of respondents as a top concern.

Continuing Uncertainty Impacts Business Optimism

The continuing uncertainty around healthcare is impacting small business optimism. In fact, only 20% of respondents reported that they felt more optimistic about the future of their companies.

Another 23% reported feeling less optimistic and the largest swath (57%) reported feeling about the same as before the Midterms.

When it comes to the bigger picture and small business owners’ general view of the entire American economy, only a small percentage (17%) were optimistic.

Almost half of the respondents didn’t think the changes to Congress were going to have a big effect. Nipping on the heels of that 43% is a full 40% of people who were less optimistic about the future of the American economy.

Small Businesses Also Have Other Concerns

One of the other big takeaways from the poll is a concern over the new Congress and implications for tax reform and small business. Half of the people responding felt that the new 116th Congress will hurt their business when it comes to the previous tax reforms brought in by the Trump administration.

When it comes to other issues like trade policy, retirement savings and recruiting and retaining employees, most of the people responding didn’t think the switch in the balance of government was going to have any impact for small businesses.

Finally, a big swath of respondents predicted a big change in the way Congress does its job after the midterm.  A full 43% saw upcoming changes as significant in that light.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “31% of Businesses List Healthcare as Top Issue for New Congress” was first published on Small Business Trends