One Way to Solve Your Toughest Cash Flow Problem
Most small and medium sized companies run into cash flow problems at one time or another. Read this article to learn how to deal with one of the toughest cash flow problems.
One of the most challenging situations a business owner can run into is having a lot of invoices that will be paid in 60 days, a lot of expenses that need to be paid now, and not enough cash in the bank to pay the bills. This is a very common situation for small and midsized businesses that have to give their clients 30 to pay their invoices. Sooner or later, they run into cash flow problems - especially if the company is growing.
In this case, the biggest risk is not having enough funds in the bank to cover payroll. A business owner can delay paying their vendors, but not paying employees is usually an unacceptable option. Usually, missing payroll can signal the beginning of the end since few companies can recover from that.
One solution is to accelerate customer payments. A way accomplish this is to offer customers a discount if they pay quickly. A common rule is to offer a 2% discount if the customer pays in 10 days or less. This strategy is well know and usually works and will help you build a cash reserve. The problem is that this it will leave you at the mercy of your customers who may chose to opt out of the discount at any time.
Many business owners require both quick payments and predictable cash flow. In those cases, the best solution can be to use business financing to cover the cash flow gap. A solution that has been gaining traction in the past years is invoice factoring. Factoring can help cash flow by reducing the length of time it takes you to get paid for your invoice from 30 days to just a couple of days. It works by introducing an intermediary called a factoring company who advances your company funds against your invoices. The factoring company holds the invoice and then waits until your customer pays ay which time the transaction is settled.
Most factoring transactions as structured as two payments. The first payment, usually 80% of the gross invoice value, is given as soon as the invoice is sent to the factoring company. The remaining 20%, less a service fee, is paid as a second installment once the customer pays the invoice. The service fee will vary and be based on the factoring volume and credit quality of your invoices.
One of the advantages of factoring is that it's easier to obtain that other forms of funding. Most factoring companies look for clients that have customers with good commercial credit ratings. A small company whose biggest asset is a roaster of good customers would be a good candidate for this type of financing.
Factoring is a great solution for companies whose biggest problem is that they can't afford to wait 30 to 60 days to get paid by their clients.
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