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Transitioning your business, what you need to know

Is cash flow killing your business?

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Eighty per cent of businesses fail because of cash flow problems. Regardless of how profitable you are, or how many investors you have lined up, it’s vital you know how to manage your cash flow so you have a clear idea of the financial health of your business.

Kate Gibson, ANZ General Manager Small Business Banking, shares her money-smart tips on cash flow.

Understand how much working capital your business needs to run

Working capital – the money needed for the day-to-day running of your business – needs to be managed closely. It is essential that you time your debits and credits so that you have enough to cover your expenses each month, advises Gibson.

  • Review your debtors: Have you credit checked your new customers? If you’re not being paid in on time, develop good engagement processes such as providing accurate quotes and detailing payment terms.
  • Speed up invoicing and your collections cycle: Are you slow to issue invoices, or still writing paper invoices on the spot? Cloud-based accounting services or apps can help you generate and send invoices on the spot to get customers paying more quickly.
  • Take stock and review your inventory: Avoid holding stock or buying more than you need by checking stock levels before ordering.
  • Review your suppliers – take a look at your current terms and consider re-negotiating.

Create a budget and track results

“A budget will ensure you have the financial resources available to fund your business’s growth,” says Gibson.

“It is also a good way to keep track of the month’s payments, and ensure you stay on track.”

A budget can also be a useful forecasting tool. According to Gibson, looking at past budget inflow and outflow trends can help you forecast any factors that could impact the timing of revenue.

“If you want to easily track your cash flow, it’s important to have separate personal and business bank accounts,” says Gibson.

“It becomes harder to keep track of different personal and business income and expenditure when all funds are combined in the same account.”

It can also mean if someone tries to sue your business, your personal assets could be at risk.

Make it easy for your customers to pay you

From internet payment solutions to EFTPOS terminals, you need to offer options that make the payment process easy for your customers. Who wants to wait for a cheque to be processed?

Another way to speed up collection is by providing customers with incentives, says Gibson, such as a discount for paying on time or encouraging customers to pay on the basis that they can receive reward points.

Keep finding new business

If you’re becoming overwhelmed by cash flow concerns, don’t become stuck and reliant on existing customers or turn opportunities away, advises Gibson.

This is the time to gain new business and grow your incoming revenue.

ANZ’s Business Ready tool can help you achieve your business goals with easy-to-use tools that set your business up for success.

Written by: Thea Christie

This material does not take into account your personal and financial needs and/or circumstances, and you should seek appropriate advice (which may include property, legal, financial and/or taxation advice) before making any decisions or acting on any of the information contained in this material. To the extent permitted by law, all members of the ANZ group of companies disclaim liability or responsibility to any person for any direct or indirect loss or damage that may result from relying on the information contained or this site, or any act, omission or error, by any person in relation to the material contained on this site.

Next article in seriesMoving your business online
ANZ
With ANZ Business Ready, you can find everything you need to help take your small business to the next level, online.

Moving your business online

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Looking to take your business online? If you want to expand your reach, this is a smart move – more than 86% of Australian consumers search for products and services online.

According to a 2016 Sensis eBusiness report, 60% of small businesses with websites believe that having an online presence has improved their overall effectiveness, primarily by increasing their exposure, followed by being able to provide customers with valuable information.

Whether you’re transitioning your bricks-and-mortar to an online-only business, or embracing online as an extension of your physical store, you can never be too prepared, says ANZs Head of Digital and Data Driven Marketing, Brendan Cooling.

“With a physical store, naturally you’d be required to learn about leases, staff and stock, but as an online retailer you also need to think about visual design, usability, navigation, and SEO tactics, to begin with.”

Here is a quick checklist to ensure you set yourself up for success:

Register a website domain name

“Your domain name is your website address or url that gives you an online identity,” says Cooling. “Ensure your domain name is original and represents your brand and your business.”

You’ll need to check it’s availability before your register it.

With ANZ’s Business Ready tool you can get your business set up online in less than a day. Find out more here.

Select the right online selling platform

If your website is functioning not just as an advertising tool, but as an online store, here’s how to decide on the right selling platform, according to Cooling.

  • The cost: Calculate how much you can afford to pay for basic software each month, including account-related expenses such as hosting fees.
  • Ongoing maintenance: Do you have the time and money to build and manage an eCommerce site, or are you planning to have it maintained by a third party? Hosting your store on your own website gives you more control, but also requires the most maintenance and security to protect your customer data. If you can’t see yourself running an eCommerce store, consider joining a marketplace like Etsy, Amazon or eBay.
  • Payment gateways: Check that the eCommerce platform will allow for your preferred payment method.

First impressions matter: Establish a stellar customer experience

Imagine walking into a store to find the products thrown about, the paint peeling off the walls and the staff looking bored and disinterested. What would your first impression be?

Being online doesn’t always mean you plan on selling. If you are creating a website to act as an online shop front, the number-one consideration is still your customer, says Cooling.

That means showcasing your services or products with high quality photography, engaging content and information to build confidence and trust.

If you are selling, encourage the path to purchase by ensuring fast page loading times on all devices, easy returns and great customer support, he/she advises.

“Rather than crowding your web pages with the entire product range and multiple categories, every page should be intuitively easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing.”

Provide reassurances on privacy

“If you want to boost growth and reduce cart abandonment, anticipate and reduce frustration from errors at checkout time. This means good UX [user experience]!” Cooling says.

Make it clear that you use a secure online checkout service by using strong SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) authentication. Adding a trust seal can also increase your conversions.

Secure a high ranking

Once your website is in good shape, ensure customers can find you in the first place by devising a search engine strategy from day one. SEO increases your website’s traffic leading to a growth in your customer base.

Spend some time determining your site’s keywords and keyword phrases so it attracts relevant traffic, advises Cooling.

This will save you time later on and avoid you having to redevelop elements of your website in order to be found and ranked highly according to Google’s ever-changing search engine algorithms.

Written by: Thea Christie

This material does not take into account your personal and financial needs and/or circumstances, and you should seek appropriate advice (which may include property, legal, financial and/or taxation advice) before making any decisions or acting on any of the information contained in this material. To the extent permitted by law, all members of the ANZ group of companies disclaim liability or responsibility to any person for any direct or indirect loss or damage that may result from relying on the information contained or this site, or any act, omission or error, by any person in relation to the material contained on this site.

Next article in seriesIs cash flow killing your business?
ANZ
With ANZ Business Ready, you can find everything you need to help take your small business to the next level, online.

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