Stay in control of your cash flow and create room for growth
Cash flow is one of the most important KPIs to assess the health of your company. Because of that we’d like to run through a number of action points with you in this white paper that can enhance cash flow and maintain it in times of challenges.
In order to steadily grow or be able to scale very quickly, as scaleups aim to, you need to be operationally strong. Your organization must be able to handle a growing amount of workload and orders. At the same time you want to arrange this in a cost-effective manner. In other words, you want to be able to grow exponentially without your costs showing that same trend. If you’re able to achieve this you’ll see your profit margins grow over time. An opposite scenario is that your losses continue to increase: more turnover leading to higher costs.
In practice, being ready for growth means that your business systems, employees, and daily processes can handle accelerated growth. If you suddenly get lots of orders in, can you deliver? Are you able to handle this in terms of numbers, delivery time, and quality? Do you have enough employees, suppliers, and partners all working at a high level to adequately handle a peak in work or sales?
Scaling your organization requires careful planning and some good investments. In short: you need the right systems, processes, technology, personnel, finances, and partners.
Start off with an audit of your business processes (core processes, support processes and management processes) to find strengths and weaknesses. Scan the bottlenecks in your processes and address them before you start scaling.
Always keep processes simple and clear. Less is more. Complex processes will only slow you down and hinder progress.
Create a growth forecast
Determine what your company needs to do to take sales to the next level. How many new customers do you need to meet these goals?
Forecast your growth with details about the number of new customers you need, and the types of orders and revenue you want to generate.
Take a close look at your business model and determine whether you can generate more turnover and/or profit. The following questions will help you with this:
Can you improve your lead generation?
Should you go for differentiation, offering more products or services?
Is there an untapped market?
Do you have a marketing system to track and manage leads?
Is your sales team able to follow up and close more leads?
Ensure sufficient capacity to manage an increase in turnover. If you do not have the capacity, consider automating more, outsourcing processes, hiring more people, or finding partners who are able to handle tasks more efficiently than your own organization.
Create a cost forecast
After forecasting your revenue growth, forecast your costs including the new types of employees, processes, and systems you need to handle a higher volume of orders. The more detailed your cost estimates, the more realistic your plan will be.
If you want to hire more staff, deploy new strategies, add facilities or equipment, and set up new reporting systems, you need cash. It’s important to think about how you will finance the growth of your company.
Prioritize satisfying customers
Recurring revenue and ongoing upselling opportunities lead to your business being more stable and successful. To continue fulfilling your growth ambitions, your company needs loyal customers. You create loyal customers by delivering high quality and good customer service.
Invest in automation
Invest in technology that automates your processes. Automation ensures that costs decrease and production becomes more efficient. Ensure your systems are integrated and work together smoothly.
We’d like to highlight the use of management dashboards. They allow you to keep an eye on your management KPIs, metrics and other essential KPIs. Empowering you and your management team to make quick decisions based on real time data-driven information about your business.
A dashboard continuously provides you with a comprehensive snapshot of your company's performance. This is crucial as it summarizes huge amounts of information within a single page overview. These numbers are invaluable for the future-proofing of your business and help you make decisions. This ensures you and your managers have direct access to the most relevant information.
The data is displayed visually using tables, line charts, bar charts, sparklines, or online maps so that you and other users can review the information at a glance.
The dashboards allow you and other users to zoom in to investigate further if necessary.
Dashboards have three different goals:
Operational dashboards that emphasize real-time monitoring. These continuously show the business processes and help you monitor KPIs.
Strategy dashboards that reflect the outcomes of KPIs or performance over a period of time.
Tactical dashboards that are mainly analytical. They help you to identify trends and see if the statistics have changed significantly.
These dashboards can show department specific information. Examples are the following dashboards:
Your financial dashboard needs to provide a summary of important aspects such as profit & loss and cash.
Sales and Marketing dashboard
Your sales and marketing dashboard should provide insights into how successful the company's marketing efforts are in generating revenue, attracting new customers, and retaining current customers. You have to be able to see where people 'get stuck' in your sales funnel or pipeline.
Your HR dashboard should include reports on internal metrics, such as employee satisfaction, as well as external metrics such as your company's hiring KPIs. Depending on the size of the organization, it can also be used to track retention rates.
An important factor for your business to take into consideration
Everyone knows: cash flow problems put your company at risk. Unless you and your team effectively monitor cash flow and make regular forecasts, your business might be at risk. Cash flow shortages mean that you:
can't pay suppliers on time
can't repay debts on time, or at all
can't buy new inventory to meet customer demand
can't pay salaries
can't advertise to attract customers
can’t hire new staff
This has a domino effect on your bottom line, your market share and also the reputation of your company. It can eventually even lead to bankruptcy.
How to proactively manage shortages in your cash flow
Fortunately, most cash flow problems can be solved with the help of the right people. They can help you identify the causes of cash flow problems in your company and advise on the best way to tackle them.
What can lead to cash flow problems
Circumstances that can affect your cash flow include:
A decline in sales or a decline in gross profit margins.
An unprofitable business model
Using a negative cash flow business model
Your cash flow problems could be due to any of the following:
Low revenue: often entrepreneurs try to compensate for a disappointing turnover by looking for new customers. But this also entails incurring more costs in terms of advertising and marketing to attract those new customers
Underpricing your products: If your prices are too low, but your expenses are rising, your business will almost certainly have cash flow problems
Customers paying late: When a customer doesn't pay on time, your business could face cash shortages
Not strict enough payment terms: Allowing customers to pay late for goods or services
Insufficient working capital: Rapid growth may require your company to invest in more inventory, equipment, or hire more staff to meet demand. If you don't have enough working capital, the company will have cash flow problems
Inventory management: Every euro you have in stock is a euro you don't have in cash
Disposable capital is essential for your business. Without it, your company cannot pay suppliers and creditors and meet its payroll obligations.
Scaling your business depends on two factors: the potential of your business and the ability to move with this growth.
Ask for help!
Never be afraid to ask for help from experts who have experience in scaling businesses. EBITWISE is happy to help you realize all the aforementioned conditions for success.