5 Methods to avoid cash-flow log jams

Ironically, a sales victory puts you at your customer’s mercy about when you receives a commission. Get out before cascading shortages with these pointers.

Growth takes a lot of money outlay, so it’s unsurprising that businesses come across cash flow problems. That is especially difficult for small companies wanting to make that first big score with a sale to a big firm which might routinely take so long as 120 days (or even more) to pay an invoice. All the best finding employees (even freelancers) ready to work a month or even more without pay. (Don’t misunderstand me, they’re out there, however they tend to be the type of those who are secretly and actively plotting to kill you in your sleep.) I am always amazed by individuals who tell me that they quit with the dog owner owing them a month’s pay. Personally if my direct deposit is quarter-hour late I’m loading office equipment into my car and mentally calculating how hard it might be to harvest the owners organs to market on the black market (as it happens it’s really hard, incidentally). Fortunately there are methods to avoid this pitfall, ones that don’t involve not paying your workers or creditors:

Enough time to establish a more substantial credit line is before you enter trouble, not once you understand that you can’t make payroll.

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Also, where appropriate, you can require at least a partial payment in advance. The worst a possible client can do is say “no,” and in the event that you explain your position many will understand. Actually, I routinely devote outrageously favorable terms into my quotes just so the purchaser may take them out. It accomplishes a couple of things: 1.) it requires the focus off the purchase price, that i make a practice never to inflate, and 2.) it creates the purchaser feel like they have scored a victory — though it was a battle I never designed to fight.

When you speak to your customer — not the purchaser — however the person that placed the order, you can explain the realities of your firm’s cashflow. You can show him that you can’t afford to go months without payment.

10 Cash-Flow Surprises That Could Kill Your Startup

When I was head of organizational development for a worldwide auto supplier, I’d routinely source work to training providers, printers, graphic artists, and other smaller businesses that a $15,000 job was an extremely big deal, but company-wide it wasn’t uncommon for other departments to source $1 million or even more. Because I understood my vendors’ situations I could speak to the purchasing agent to obtain additional favorable terms also to expedite payment. I could do this because I talked to the purchaser before a purchase order (PO) was issued. Apparently it requires a papal bull to get payment terms changed following the PO has issued and approved. I never understood why, but passed it off as only a purchaser being lazy. I’m sure that’s not the true reason but I sleep better convinced that things I don’t understand are because others are either lazy or intellectually my inferior.

In lots of firms invoices are processed twice per month (usually on the first and the fifteenth) — what accounts payable does the rest of that time period is another among those imponderables where looking for answers likely involves no good end. This implies that if you’re invoice hits accounts payable your day after posting then yet another 14 days is put into when you can be prepared to receives a commission. The clock starts simply clicking payment terms after the accounts payable clerk puts your invoice in to the system, and plenty must happen before that.


Typically, your invoice will never be processed until it really is approved by the individual who ordered it, if you sent it right to accounts payable one thing they’ll do with it really is send it to the individual who ordered it for approval. This may take weeks, especially if see your face travels, is inattentive their email or interoffice mail, or has just put your invoice near the top of her or his pay-no-mind list. Once approved it gets repaid to accounts payable where it really is entered in to the system. Basically, net 3 months could imply that you don’t get your invoice payed for six months or even more.

The simplest way for this is to send your invoice to your contact electronically and specifically keep these things please approve it and forward it to accounts payable. I’ve also discovered that hand delivering a difficult copy (and would it not kill you to get lunch as long as you’re at it?) permits you to discuss the project and get feedback from your own customer. That may also take up a new conversation leadin