Keep a close account of money owed to you

Tips For Small Business

December 02, 2007|By Stephen L. Rosenstein

Without a steady cash flow to cover expenses, your company can stumble quickly.

The object is to make certain more cash enters your business than exits your bank account. You need to translate sales into real money as quickly as possible. Slow or nonpaying customers and unexpected expenses are your worst cash-flow problems.

One way to shift cash your way is to ask for all or a portion of payment up front. Accepting credit-card payments can also be helpful.

You should manage "receivables" closely. This is the money people owe you for products or services delivered. Create a detailed "aging" schedule of what you are owed, by whom and for how long. Call overdue accounts, focusing on the largest amounts due.

Finally, don't overlook the power of an operating budget. Pay attention to due dates for payables as well as receivables. The balance between the two won't always be predictable. The budget can give you a snapshot of where your business stands with regard to cash flow.

Stephen L. Rosenstein is co-chairman of Greater Baltimore, SCORE Chapter No. 3. Call 410-962-2233 to speak to a SCORE counselor or visit www.scorebaltimore.org.

To send a question to SCORE representatives, e-mail smallbiz@baltsun.com.

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