Updated: Feb 11, 2020
Make no mistake, cash flow is a huge deal for ALL business owners. Some consider it to be the most crucial aspect of their business. It’s so essential it causes significant anxiety and adversely affects attitude. Sounds important! Let's get into it.
First off, what is anxiety? According to Health Line, anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. It’s a feeling of fear or apprehension about what’s to come. The first day of school, going to a job interview, giving a speech, or dealing with cash flow shortages may cause most people to feel fearful and nervous. Anxiety is a negative emotion and has a harmful effect on a person’s attitude. A business owner’s bad attitude can have a tremendous negative effect on the operation of their business.
Anyone who has ever run their own business knows what I’m talking about here. The panic feeling that starts in your gut and pulsates throughout your body resulting in a pounding headache while you worry endlessly about how you’re going to cover payroll, order materials, or hire new employees.
Anxiety is one of our emotions that have allowed humans to develop into the dominant species on the planet. According to Thierry Steimer, a Clinical Psychopharmacologist at the Geneva University Hospital, Chêne-Bourg, Switzerland,
“Anxiety is a psychological, physiological, and behavioral state induced in animals and humans by a threat to well-being or survival, either actual or potential.”
That’s a fancy way of saying that anxiety causes a lot of shit to happen inside the human body. What I find interesting in Steimer’s definition is that anxiety kicks in whether a threat is real or not. Humans have interesting ways of making mountains out of molehills. That little voice in their head that keeps telling them the problem is more significant than it is. This ‘conversation’ they have with themselves can develop into something called pathological anxiety and should be treated by a medical doctor.
So, anxiety is stress, and stress is your body’s way of responding to threats. What could be more threatening to a business owner than a lack of cash flow? Not much. The thought of losing their business is horrifying. Not being able to pay debts, or their employees are direct personal threats. Their business is how they provide for their family, how they see themselves, and their purpose in life.
Here are some general tips on improving your cash flow skills:
1. Manage invoices
Send invoice reminders and provide incentives (the old carrot and stick strategy). Offer discounts to people who pay early. Charge penalties for late payments.
Take advantage of supplier discount offers. If there's no incentive to pay the invoice early, pay it whenever it makes the most sense to maintain good cash flow.
2. Increase revenues
Sell more! It sounds simple but also maybe THE reason you are in the cash flow predicament in the first place.
Develop or redefine your marketing plan. My guess is if you’re having trouble selling you have no marketing plan because you never thought it was necessary. How is that working for you?