Our November topic was “Cash Flow.” Discussions ranged from tightening up our business practices to creative thinking in solving cash flow and other business challenges. Considering joining a Round Table? See https://thebusinessrt.org/round-tables/ for current information on all Round Table dates and times.
How rigorous are your business practices? There are many distractions, tax breaks, supply chain disruptions, etc. These are distractions from basic, honest, straightforward business principles. You should not tolerate excess account receivables; you shouldn’t extend payables. We get distracted by outside influences, rather than running our lives and our businesses by the inside out.
Put your money into assets you can easily convert to cash with no penalty. Ask, “can I get my money back quick, so I have it when I need it?” If you need to make payroll and things change, that is your number one priority. You do not want to sell your house; you want to sell your assets.
Year end is a good time to try to reduce your costs. Many vendors are looking to achieve their year-end goals and are agreeable to making price adjustments. Examine vendors in the 4th quarter to keep costs down.
One member has a business with ‘lumpy’ cash flow. For example, he shipped goods in May and was paid for those goods in November. He must track and understand his costs, particularly the cost of money, especially now as the cost of money is increasing.
Look at your account receivables practices to ensure that there is cash available. Review the terms and conditions for payments to ensure there is money in the bank.
Creativity is Key
One car dealership owner has shifted their focus from sales to service due to the lack of availability of cars. Now, cash receipts from service far exceeds the receipts from sales.
- To address the radical increase of order cancelations, they implemented a policy requiring a larger down payment on orders. This provides some ability to negotiate when a customer wants to cancel an order.
- We have needed to raise our service rates, when we did, we diligently communicated the reasons for these increases to our customers.
One business leader shared the joy of today’s readings from the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12). The first one, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” does not mean blessed is the poor. Poor in spirit means we may not be opening ourselves up wide enough to what God can do in our life. CBRT exists to challenge ourselves to ask the question, ‘What are you doing today to open yourself up a little more to apply Christian principles in the workplace?” The first step is opening up your spirit to what God can do for you.
Focus on Your Purpose
You can go into a negative mindset if you panic about money, but you can achieve a positive mindset if you focus on purpose. We must learn how to manage emotions as cash flow goes up and down.
If our mindset is bound to the rollercoaster of cash flow, then our leadership is going to go up and down with it. Our ability to lead, our ability to foresee opportunity, and make decisions will go up and down with the roller coaster. If we stay to purpose, the why, and who we serve, then our mindset can be right.
We practice “casting your bread on the water.” We seek to act out of a spirit of generosity rather than fear.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10) One business leader has been trying to coach his team to focus on their purpose in their sales roles. He advises to not focus on sales but focus on helping your neighbor keep their jobs. Their purpose is helping companies remain in business in the USA. If you are trying to help your neighbor, you will get back more than you give. When you find your purpose in your job, it’s a much easier job to do.
One member has a creative way for his business to support a ministry. Rather than donating cash, consider donating product. This member is in the ink and toner business and donates ink and toner cartridges to his non-profit of choice. The organization, who has a need for print cartridges, benefits as well as the member.
Take Advantage of Opportunities
There are other paths to explore, such as cash flow and the role it plays in the growth of a business. In a downturn, there are growth opportunities that may present itself. A business may want to have liquid assets to take advantage of these opportunities. Acquisitions are usually best during a downturn.
Get a crystal-clear list of all your hard and soft assets. You may have idle assets, such as old inventory, which can be converted to cash. In some cases, you may not make a profit, but it may help with cash flow.
Also, consider buying inventory that you know you can turn in a year. You may be able to purchase this inventory at a substantial discount because the vendor needs to liquidate.
Trade and association shows and events give businesses opportunities to shake hands, and meet new people in your industry. They can be a powerful way to generate business, cash flow and connections.
Focus your sales pitch on the benefits of your product instead of the features. Ask clients, “what is the end result of the interaction with a potential client?”
Monday Morning Moment Encouragement
Monday Morning Moment messages (via email from CBRT) are helpful to members to get a little piece of encouragement. Linda Kleist’s recent message is very helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAhxXajdZ2g. Linda’s videos are instructive about purpose, and on re-evaluating or establishing what is the value proposition of your business and why is it so important. It takes your mind into a positive place and away from the roller coaster.
- Virtual Leadership Event with Fred Sievert, Christian Author & Retired President of New York Life. This event takes place on Friday, December 16 at 8:00-9:00am.
- Join us in Birmingham for our Detroit Leadership Breakfast Social, on January 20, at 8:00-10:30 am at the Birmingham Country Club. Randall Klee, President of Klee Insurance Group will speak, along with others.