Cash Flow Your Business
Build a Business One Step at a Time
Capital for Small Business
In our latest series, we are studying techniques for capital development in small business. Out of the many options for getting funding, my favorite is the cash-flow startup.
A cash-flowed business can be as robust as Jotforms or as simple as a high-school student selling crocheted doilies on Etsy.
Because of that diversity, you need to ensure your cash-flow activities follow the tips below.
The highest risk and least recommended way to start a business, loans are sometimes necessary to start a small business.
You can do SBA, traditional, or personal loans.
Crowdfunding takes advantage of the reach of the internet to start up a business quickly and with little risk.
Different platforms have different advantages.
Depending on your business needs, you may be able to sell part ownership in the company to raise funds.
Care needs to be taken: its a relationship not just business.
1. Start with One
When cash-flowing a business, you cannot wait for the right business plan, marketing plan, or storefront.
You find someone who needs your business and sell to them.
I was teaching an English language in Business course in Cairo, Egypt. My students, when asked to sell something, asked for an investment instead. I pointed out that their investment would make me the owner of their business.
It would also cause problems with Egyptian legal requirements. As a marketer and teacher, I know and understand American business legalities. Not so much Egyptian.
So if they had me invest in their companies, we would have to hire local lawyers. We would have to spend additional money getting official licenses and business locations.
By the time we had fulfilled the requirements to start, my investment in my students’ business would be long gone.
I countered with the idea that my students needed to sell something to someone.
A business starts with one.
Use word of mouth to get one more.
And build a business.
By the time you are large enough to need lawyers and licenses, you at least have a business that can bring in money to pay for them.
2. Is this Bringing an Income?
Businesses have many expenses that are not related to their core service or product.
When cash-flowing, you have to limit these.
- Is this software necessary to serve a customer?
- Is this purchase essential?
- Is my to-do list just busybody work?
- Can I rent for less than purchasing?
I often struggle with this part of cashflowing businesses myself. It can seem fulfilling to do the busy work, to make the nice brochure, and so on.
But if your activities are not contributing toward an income, change them.
3. Embrace Everything as a Service
If you follow point number 2, this tip will help you scale your cash-flowed business. If not, wit will nickel and dime your business to death.
That said, find software and technology that can be purchased via subscriptions. Rent space from coworking locations on a monthly basis avoiding long-term leases and purchase agreements.
The best subscription price is free. For example, if your mail list is under 50 people, you don’t need to pay for an excellent product like Active Campaign, Constant Contact or Sharpspring.
Use a freemium plan like Mail Chimp or just use your email system and avoid mail management software until you really need it.
4. Use Sinking Funds
As your business success grows, you can use your cash to scale without losing equity or increasing debt. Save some of your cash in a sinking fund for specific large investments.
Reduce your costs by switching from monthly subscriptions to yearly or buying licenses outright.
If you start managing your business from your phone, set up a sinking fund to get a laptop.
When you need to purchase legal expertise or talk to a CPA, save up for it.
If you follow these 4 principles, you can successfully start and grow your business using only what you have available now.
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Great post! I appreciate the emphasis on starting small and building up from there, rather than waiting for the perfect business plan or funding. The idea of cash-flowing a business is a great way to get started and the tips you’ve provided are really helpful. I especially like the point about embracing everything as a service and finding software and technology that can be purchased via subscriptions to save costs. It’s important to be mindful of expenses and focus on activities that contribute to generating income. Thanks for sharing your insights!