5 Ways to Turn Your Business Finances Around in One Week

Author: Caron Beesley | June 11, 2015

If you’re feeling the pinch at the end of every month when your bills are paid or a real punch in the face at the end of the quarter when you pay your estimated taxes, then it’s probably time to start taking control of your finances.

While there are some strategic things you can do to find and fix cash flow problems before it’s too late, such as reviewing your business margins and tax situation, there are some simple steps you can take for 30 minutes once a week to get your finances back into shape.

So if you’ve got time to spare this coming Friday, set aside some time for the following activities:

Put Money Aside
This is a golden rule for business owners and freelancers. Being self-employed makes it very hard to predict income, so be sure you have a cushion of cash to tide you over during leaner periods. Even better, separate your business and personal bank accounts and set up a business savings account. Take some time to set yourself a budget and each week pay yourself a salary (get tips on doing that here), then put any remaining cash into that account (including a portion of your income to cover your quarterly estimated tax bill).

Review Your Cash Flow Reports
Keep an eye on what’s moving in and out of business at least once a week. Check your cash flow statement (what moved in and out of your business) against your cash flow projection (your quarterly view of anticipated cash movements). This will help give you a clear look at when money comes in, when it goes out and what money you are left with at the end of each month after you have paid your expenses and recorded your income. It will also help you plan ahead so that you can move money around, chase receivables, or look for ways to boost sales if you foresee a slowdown in cash-in in the coming months.

Downgrade Your Spending
There are a myriad ways to reduce your business overheads; some of them are probably easier than you think. Get your team together and brainstorm some ideas for cutting costs. It could be as simple as coupon clipping to get a better deal on supplies or saving on gas by carpooling to your next business meeting. If you have budget set aside for luxuries like a team lunch once a month, try swapping it out with a potluck lunch in the office, take the team out for a (cheaper) early bird dinner or sign up for social deals on Groupon or Living Social.

Find a way to save on these luxuries each week. Small things quickly add up.

Chase Unpaid Bills
Check your accounts payable spreadsheet or accounting software for any delinquency in unpaid invoices and then chase your clients. Often invoices (especially if you mail them) can slip through the cracks. Politely remind folks that the invoice is due and ask when you can expect payment.

Brainstorm New Ways to Make Money
Gather your team and review your performance against goals, then brainstorm ideas for generating more sales or income. This doesn’t have to be a formal meeting, in fact, the more informal, the better. Raise the subject at the water cooler, take the team out for coffee. If you work for yourself, step back from the day-to-day and use your network or mentors to help you think outside your business for 30 minutes or so each week.

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