If you’re like most Canadian business owners you’re somewhat skeptical of either the press or perhaps the agenda’s of financial institutions you deal with or borrow from .
Yesterday we got one of those newsletters from a bank – the content was mixed… We’re quoting here : ‘Automotive industry rebounds …. Business confidence down… business barometer mix down sharply…business credit trending up …’
Talk about some mixed signals… and how do we interpret those type of messages in our own business situation and needs when it comes to working capital management and the analysis of that all important business life blood… cash flow?
How you manage your working capital, and how you borrow for it are one of the most important aspects of running and small and medium sized business in Canada. Simply things like billing and collecting your A/R promptly and matching those payables outflows make or break any business.
What are the factors that affect your need for cash flow and what are some analysis and financing techniques to accelerate working capital management. That’s effectively called the cash flow cycle. Did you know for example that many larger firms actually manage their growth, they use simple formula’s that any small and medium sized business owner and financial manager can use to determine how fast they can grow based on their operating profits and their ability to manage receivables and inventories without over borrowing . Frankly, you should be doing what the big boys do also, and it’s not as hard as you think.
The three things that affect your need for working capital are your profits, how fast you collect from your customers, and the ability to control operating costs and overheads as you grow. The big corporations call this formula – the ‘ Sustainable Growth Rate ‘ – as a business owner you need to accept that growth can often mean running out of cash.
So how do business owners ‘ accelerate ‘ working capital management strategies to optimize growth. First, as we said they can use some basic formulas to determine how fast they can growth without outside financing. When outside financing is required a number of options are available – probably more than you thought.
They include receivable financing, working capital facilities that are non bank in nature and combine inventory and a/r financing , and true asset based lending which monetizes on a daily needs basis our current and fixed assets .
External cash flow can also be provided by lesser known, but very viable vehicles such as purchase order financing, securitization and even the financing of any SR&ED tax credits if you’re in the manufacturing or tech space. Capital can also be conserved by effect lease financing strategies that finance assets you need on a short term or long term basis.
So, we’ve been told business is about a bottom line. What’s ours today? Pretty simple. Use tools to measure your cash flow needs, plan for growth with working capital management and analysis in mind, and take advantage or cash flow techniques that are traditional and non traditional in nature . Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor on what it takes to implement strategies that work for your firm.