fbpx

10 Most popular cash Flow Questions I have been asked in the last two decades by a small business owner

10 Most popular cash Flow Questions I have been asked in the last two decades by a small business owner

Skip to...

Try The Cash Flow Calculator

Calculate your cash flow from all sources and have complete clarity on your cash flow situation.

In this article, I will share the top 10 common cash flow questions I have been asked in the last two decades. I spent a year creating the cash flow hub, a vital tool for problem-solving. I wondered what else I could do to help you with your cash flow challenges.

I delved into my past interactions with clients as part of my cash flow planning and forecasting services for UK-based clients. So I dug out from my inbox, going as far as I could. Also, from my memory, I have found these are the most common cash flow questions I get asked. I thought you might find it helpful, as you may be having some of these questions in your mind right now.

Here’s the best part. If you can’t find an answer to your cash flow question, you can send it to me using this link. I will try to answer as soon as I can.

Remember, the cash flow hub is for a business owner like you. A business owner just like you created it.

So let’s get started.

1. How Do I Get A Grip On My Cash Flow?

Soon after I had woken up, I received an email from one of my NEW clients on a foggy winter morning.

This client was doing about £ 4.4 million in annual revenues. His email scared me because the subject line said: “Where is my cash, Shishir? It’s all gone.” I quickly opened and read the rest of the email.

Inside that email, he asked me, “Shishir, how do I get a grip on my cash flow? Why doesn’t my cash flow look like my profit and loss statement? Why are they different?”

This was not the first time a NEW client had asked me this question.

From the email, I sensed that the client was fearful and distraught that his company might go bust. He was finding it hard to believe that his business with millions in revenues could have negative cash flow.

That’s why he wrote that email with a scary subject line.

So, he asked – How do I grip on my cash flow? – is one of the most common questions I get asked because most entrepreneurs don’t have much control over their cash flow.

Here is an edited version of what I shared with him:

First things first, to get a grip on your cash flow, Manage, Analyze, and Project cash flow on a weekly or monthly basis.

Manage – to control cash flow what you are going to do weekly. Cash Flow management is crucial

Analyze – to see how well you manage cash flow every month.

Project – to predict future cash balance today. You can use cash flow projection as a base to manage cash inflow and cash flow weekly and monthly.

To do it all simply, you can follow The MAP Method.

To learn more about The MAP Method, check out this video.

2. Is My Cash Flow Healthy?

You are not alone if you have asked yourself the same question and feel anxious about your cash position.

Because this is a question that I get asked often.

Here’s the thing.

The only way to answer this question is by having an accurate cash flow statement.

Your cash flow statement is like the mark sheet for your business. It tells you how well you have created, controlled, and compounded cash flow.

To have a healthy cash flow, You need to have two things for a healthy cash flow:

1) Positive cash flow, i.e., having a bigger cash inflow than cash outflow in any given month.

2) A cash flow cushion covers fixed expenses for at least three months, and ideally six months. It covers the time when cash inflow suddenly dries up, as it did for many of us during COVID-19.

Knowing your cash flow is healthy, you can relax once you have these two.

 

Take the Quiz

Curious to find out how healthy your cash flow is? Take this quiz. In less than 60 secs, it will show your situation and the steps you can take to improve.

3. How do you create cash flow when there’s no revenue?

It is the kind of question you didn’t even know you could have asked and benefited from.

So, lack of sales is a big challenge that entrepreneurs face. This leads to no or low cash inflow.

This is a catch-22 situation.

As a small business owner, you can’t invest in marketing or get extra help to sell more when you lack cash.

What can you do about it if you are in this situation?

You can get creative.

Here is what I did when I found myself in this situation.

I remember starting my entrepreneurship journey with limited capital.

I contacted my network and sought help from someone with a different skill set than mine. We bartered skills. She didn’t pay me, I didn’t pay her, and we both benefited.

I used a business credit card and my limited funds elsewhere to create regular cash inflows. Slowly, I got out of this no-cash-flow situation.

Have you tried something similar?

Let me know by tagging on LinkedIn

4. How Does Cash Flows In My Business?

My clients ask me a variation of these questions:

“I Don’t Understand the Difference Between Cash Flow and Money.”

“I don’t understand profit and loss. I wish someone could make it easy.”

“How does cash flow in my business, Shishir?”

When I get asked these questions, I think about when I went to the hospital and a nurse explained how to take the prescribed medicine.

She said to me, “Take this medicine BD and that medicine OD.”

With a blank look on my face, I asked her, “What do you mean, BD and OD?”

She had assumed I knew about BD and OD and replied, ” BD – both times a day and OD – once a day.”

Now, I’m not being funny here. In my world of finance, OD means Overdraft or Overdrawn. So how am I supposed to know OD means to take medicine once a day?

In the same way, a beginner entrepreneur may think the money in business is his or hers to take. Still, a financially savvy entrepreneur knows that money in business and your pocket are different.

To understand this difference clearly, you need to know how cash flows in business.

Money in your business has to go through FIVE stops. Then, it reaches the ultimate destination: your personal bank account.

Let me take you through each of these five steps by clicking here.

5. My Cash Flow Is Negative? Should I Take A Loan Or an Overdraft Facility?

“Shishir, my cash flow is negative. Should I take out a loan or overdraft facility? Or can I turn around the situation and become cash-flow positive without needing bank support?”

This was the question that a dental business influencer asked me when he reached out to me around 18 months ago. He had a dilemma about funding his dental practice.

He wanted a second opinion on whether to go for a debt or an overdraft facility.

Well, if you are dealing with the same question, then do it based on the following factors:

  • What’s your sales pipeline for the coming months?
  • Can you make the business leaner and operate with fewer resources?
  • What’s your payback ability?
  • What are the interest rate charges for a loan vs. an overdraft (OD) facility?

There are other factors to take into account, too.

As for the dental business influencer who became a client, we decided not to extend the debt facility. We also decided not to increase the overdraft or take out an extra loan. These would have been the easier options in hindsight.

He is glad we did it the hard way.

He has cleared the overdraft and now has £297k in the business bank account. Some of the cash relates to Government-backed grants and loans, but the business generates most of the cash.

6. How Will A Sales Dip For A Month Affect My Cash Flow?

“Shishir, I get worried. How much would a dip in sales in one month affect my cash flow?”

A dip in sales results in a dip in cash receipts.

If one month’s sales dip affects the ability to pay for fixed expenses in the business, then it is a cause of major concern.

To understand the impact of low sales, you must also consider the business size. For example, a business needs to add an extra £100k in cash to cover a dip in sales. It is at a bigger risk than a business that only needs to add £10k.

Usually, a one-month sales dip will not hurt a business’s cash flow badly. However, if it continues for a few months, it may even lead to business collapse.

You might want to check what affects cash flow. It will give you a broader view of the link between sales, cash flow, and other things that affect cash flow.

7. Which Part Of The Business Should I Focus On Improving Cash Flow?

“I work so hard and have hardly had any time for myself. I have been so busy serving clients, and every month, there’s hardly anything left for me when I look at my bank balance. Why is that, Shishir?

I know some of my products perform better, but I don’t know which one to focus on.”

This is what one of my clients asked me. And many others ask similar questions.

Trying to serve your clients is not fun if you hardly have anything to show for it in your bank account.

It just means you don’t have financial clarity on which product to focus on to have the biggest cash flow impact on your business.

The way out is to find your most profitable product. It offers the fastest path to cash and has the most cash impact on your business.

Then, focus all your attention and resources there.

If you feel like you are running a business blindfolded and want to have cash flow clarity, then here’s what I have for you.

8. What To Ask Your Accountant?

This is a typical one and a question that smart clients ask me.

Ask your accountant questions like:

  • How can I help you help me grow my business?
  • How can you help me to manage my cash flow?
  • When and what information/data do you need to have my accounts done on time?
  • How can I be sure I have claimed the expenses to lower my taxes? This will make my tax season smoother. Also, are there industry-specific tax rules I should know?
  • What are the things I can do differently to grow my business? Am I making any cash flow mistakes? What do I do if I can’t afford to pay the tax bill?

Ask your accountant these questions. This will create a win-win relationship and help your accountant help you best.

9. How Can I Invest In Business Growth Without Risking My Earned Money?

“Shishir, I want to grow and know I need to invest in it, but I fear losing my hard-earned money. Is there a way to limit my downside?”

You see, one of the common causes of business not growing is a lack of marketing investment.

Do you ever think that you should be further ahead in your business?

Then, you look at the missed opportunities or times when you did not invest in marketing because you feared losing money.

You’ll find my FOUR STEP framework useful if this is you.

With the FOUR STEP framework, you can transform your financial fear into a fortune.

I call this framework the Financial F.E.A.R. Remedy Framework.

  • Where F in F.E.A.R. stands for Fact fluency.
  • E stands for Experiment.
  • A stands for Accountable and
  • R stands for Rightful Contracts

Let’s understand each of these a little better and go through them step by step.

F = Fact Fluency

What are the facts in the case of a business?

Numbers.

Numbers do not lie nor generate in a vacuum. Numbers tell a story.

They tell the story of how your commercial decision has turned into action and action into numbers. There are different numbers that you need to be fluent in. Like, what are the margins? What is the breakeven cost per lead?

E = Experiment

With the numbers, you know you can run small tests.

For example, when you know that you have $100 or $10,000 cash to invest in the market, you can take a fraction of that to test an advertising medium or two.

So, you can put some money into running ads on Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn and see which platforms work better for you. And, if you find Facebook performs best for you, you can test variations of ads there to dig even deeper.

While testing, you don’t have to spend huge amounts of cash. Instead, spend an amount that will not hurt you but gives you enough data to know what works. So, experiment to get the best return on your investment. I call it Test and Invest.

This is also how you avoid financial fear because you can take a small risk by testing, and when you know what works, you can play a bigger game.

Think of a vaccine. It first goes through animal trials and then multiple human trials to ensure its safety. In business, we test marketing and other investments.

A = Accountable

Hold yourself accountable for your actions.

That is the only way to grow your business as well as yourself.

Keep running experiments the way I shared above.

If it works. Great. If it doesn’t, I believe you haven’t wasted the cash; you have learned something new AND gathered data that shows what works and what doesn’t.

I believe there is no such thing as failure. You either earn or you learn. I would much rather be able to earn or learn rather than not do anything about it.

R = Rightful Contracts

When you are ready to invest in your business growth, you need to enter into a contract with the other party that states you invest X and get Y in return. So there is a certainty.

Follow this four-step plan to reduce fear of failure or losing money in your business. It will increase your chances of winning.

10. How Can I Improve My Cash Flow?

If you have this same question, know there are two ways to improve cash flow in your business.

Increase Cash Inflow

AND/OR

Decreasing Cash Outflow

Remember the three words I use to improve cash flow for remembering and implementing these two.

CREATE, CONTROL, COMPOUND.

Create Cash Flow = Increase Cash Inflow

Control Cash flow = Decrease Cash Outflow

Compound Cash flow = Increase cash inflow AND Decrease Cash Outflow.

Here are three tips you can use to increase cash flow FAST.

  1. Immediately send invoices as soon as the work is completed. Ensure you have contractual terms in place so that, legally, you are in a strong position.
  2. Provide different payment methods for your clients to pay you.
  3. Have credit control in place as a part of your business process to be on top of your receivables.

Here are the three tips you can use to control cash flow immediately.

  1. Scrutinize bank statements every six months to eliminate unnecessary expenses or costs.
  2. Get on top of purchasing. Schedule a supplier payment run so you know in advance how much to pay and when
  3. Have internal control to approve the bills so that you are not paying for something you didn’t have to.

When you do these two – Create/Increase and Control/decrease – together, you end up COMPOUNDING YOUR CASH FLOW.

That’s how you can improve cash flow in your business.

If you want to go deeper on this topic. Here’s a useful section for you on cash flow improvement.

Do you have a burning cash flow question unanswered occupying your mind space?

If you have any burning cash flow-related questions and cannot find the answer to your question in the cash flow hub.

Click here to ASK ME ANYTHING. I will answer and update it.

BONUS Question

What are two cash flow questions that balance sheets can answer?

Although the balance sheet does not directly show cash flow, it provides insights related to cash flow in mostly three areas:

  1. Liquidity is simply current assets minus current liabilities. Do you have enough cash or cash equivalents to cover payroll, tax, and supplier payments on time? If not, your business operations will come to a halt. This covers the working capital aspect of the business.
  2. Solvency– Is your business solvent? Are you able to meet long-term financial obligations?
  3. Free Cash Flow is money you can reinvest in your company or give to shareholders as dividends. It shows the success of your venture.

 

 

SUMMARY

In this article, we looked at ten questions about cash flow. You should ask them to your financial advisor, accountant, or cash flow expert.

Having answers to these questions and a plan to make the changes will keep your business stable.

Share this page...
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
WhatsApp
Email

Shishir Khadka, qualified as a chartered certified accountant in 2009. He is the creator of cashflow hub– the world’s most comprehensive cash flow resource online and is one of the UK’s leading cash flow specialist who helps busy business owners and entrepreneurs generate more profit and create consistent positive cash flow without over relying on getting new sales.

He has delivered a masterclass to a global software Zoho’s audience to create consistent cash flow. He has written articles for floatapp– one of the leading cash flow software and has also been featured in the major publications such as Independent. He has been sharing his learning and insights on his youtube channel.

He wrote about his learnings from helping an e-commerce client scaled the business cash flow positive from £500k to £1.6m in four years in “The Three Key Obstacles to Faster Growth: How You Can Overcome Them Using Cloud Accounting.

In his career spanning 18 years as the cash flow specialist, he has helped businesses of all sizes, ranging from £40K to £40M.

10 Most popular cash Flow Questions I have been asked in the last two decades by a small business owner

By Shishir Khadka, FCCA.