One of the most common reasons small businesses fail is poor cash flow. Cash flow is about more than just being profitable. It is about mastering the inflows and outflows of cash and their timing so that you are always in a position of health in your bank account. A cash flow forecast is one of the most powerful tools you can possess as a business owner in order to anticipate possible issues, identify solutions and take action to drive growth and results.
Cash flow forecasting is not difficult, but it does require some effort and consistency. The most important part of cash flow forecasting is to have a clear understanding of your business' operating cycle. This will help you anticipate when cash inflows and outflows will occur so that you can plan accordingly.
But, how do I predict what will happen in the future?
There are a number of different methods you can use to forecast your cash flow. The most important thing is to choose the method that makes the most sense for your business and stick with it. One popular method is called the percent-of-sales method. With this method, you simply project future sales and then estimate what percentage of those sales will be collected in cash. This method can be very accurate if your sales are relatively predictable.
Another method is called the cash budget method. With this method, you track all of your cash inflows and outflows on a monthly basis. This can be a more time-consuming process, but it can also give you a more detailed picture of your cash flow.
Once you have chosen a method, you will need to gather some data. This data can come from financial statements, sales projections, invoices, bills and any other documents that show how much money is coming in and going out of your business. This requires you to look back and reflect on past financial behavior. Once you have this data, you can begin to create your cash flow forecast.
For newer business owners, maybe you do not have a lot of historical data to use to compile a cash flow. That is okay. Instead of using past data, you can use current data and make assumptions about the future. For example, if you know that your business typically has a slow month in January, you can assume that this will happen again next year and plan accordingly.
Once you have created your cash flow forecast, it is important to monitor it on a regular basis. This will help you catch any discrepancies early so that you can make adjustments to ensure accuracy. The cash flow forecast is a powerful tool, but only if it is used correctly.
If you are not already using cash flow forecasting in your business, I encourage you to give it a try. It could be the key to ensuring your business' success.