The net result of the money that comes into your business account minus the money that goes out of your business account is your cash flow.
Manage Your Accounts Receivable
Accounts receivable are monies owed to your business. You must be aware of Accounts receivable and learn how to improve your cash flow.
Cash Flow = Health of your business.
If you are not keeping a close eye on your accounts receivable, you’re missing an opportunity to improve your cash flow and the health of your business.
No matter how great your customers are, some customers invariably don’t understand how important it is to you that they pay their bills on time.
A day or two late isn’t a big deal but a month or two is. If you allow customers to get into the habit of paying late, getting them to pay on time can be almost impossible. Allowing customers to accumulate debt can eventually force your client to quite because the debt has become too large.
I (Paul) do not believe any USAIGC Club should use a monthly payment program unless it is tied into an automatic credit card debit program with a signed contract that allows the Club to debit X number of payments. It is to time consuming to keep up with individual monthly payments and this payment program has the largest delinquents and highest drop out rates because clients fall behind.
Identify your late payers and take steps to get them to pay on time. No matter how much you love your customers, understand how important it is to your business that your clients pay their bills on time and if not they must be removed.
If clients are in the habit of paying late, getting them to pay on time can be almost impossible. As the Owner you must identify late payers ASAP and take the necessary steps to get all your clients to pay on time.
Collecting Your Money: Require Instant (Or Advanced) Payment.
A Standard Payment Policy: Clients pay at the time of enrollment. Automatic debit is a great way to collect money owed to your business on your due dates. Clearly written contracts play a big role in this type of payment and guarantee your money on whatever the terms of the agreement are with a no cancelation clause.
The incentive to pay up front in advance should be built into contracted yearly or semi-annual payment-discounts plans. You do not want to be chasing your Clients every 30 days for your money (this is the worse payment plan).
Payment Incentives: some type of discount. Publicize your “discount program”. Make sure you fully understand how much money is needed per child for business operating costs before you set your costs and discount programs. This is a critical step. Collect all your money ASAP to improve cashflow.
Accept and Encourage Credit Card Use
Online stores require customers to provide payment at the time of the transaction, usually with credit or debit card. Credit card payments increase sales (cc are not real money) and the owner receives their money more quickly than sending out an invoice. Research shows companies that accept credit cards enjoy up to 40% more sales than those who do not. You do have to pay your credit card company or bank a fee for the privilege of credit cards, but most companies have found that the additional sales and enhanced cash flow more than makes up for the fees. Shop around. On-line payment services are available that accept cc from customers on your behalf and then deposit the funds for your products/services. PayPal www.paypal.com is most prominent and charge service fees, but the fees tend to be lower than payment through a bank or other cc processing services.
Hold Onto Your Money
How? YOU the Owner pay your bills when due, not earlier. You’ll have the benefit of holding yourcash longer which positively impacts your cash flow. Note: YOU MUST PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME.
Make Sure Your Invoices Are Correct
Before an invoice goes out, make sure they are absolutely correct. If you are using the mail for money collection double check all invoice addresses before they hit the mailbox.
Payments Discounts allow a customer to decrease a payment by some percentage quarterly, semi-annual or all up front. Offering this can be a powerful incentive for your clients, thus improving cash flow. In many cases, this positive impact on your cash flow exceeds the small amount of money the companies lose in extending discounts. To give any type of discount you MUST know your total cost in operating your business every hour it is opened.
FOLLOW UP ON /COLLECTING LATE PAYMENTS OPTIONS:
a. A note if amount is small, a friendly reminder with a copy of the balance due
b E-mail/snail mail: if payment is dragging and you need to get a little more serious about it, send either and request payment.
c. Phone: patience has run out and you want to head off a potential payment crisis. The most effective way to encourage prompt payment is to pick up the phone and call your client directly. Be respectful but firm. The sooner you follow up on late payments, the better your customers will understand that prompt payments are a priority and the more likely they’ll be to pay on time in the future.