5 Ways to Maintain Cash Flow For Your Struggling Business in 2021
On top of everything else, 2020 has been a tough year financially for most individuals and businesses around the world. Many small businesses have lost the fight to stay open amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and several larger organizations have had to make serious budget and staff cuts to survive. This has all led to many companies leaning heavily on their emergency funds and perhaps you as well running extremely low on your line of credit.
It all started off simple enough—stay at home, operate as best you can, or take a brief break while we flatten the curve. However, as the months have drawn on and life has not returned to normal, it’s become harder and harder for many businesses to keep their doors open. The second wave of the pandemic certainly hasn’t helped.
However, it’s not the end of the world if you’ve reached the end of your credit. There are many ways for you to maintain cash flow for your struggling business in 2021, and even fund it’s growth!
#1: Make Strategic Budget Cuts For Your Line of Credit
If you haven’t started tightening your belt, it’s time to do so now. You need to see how your company can survive on less money each month.
The first step is to draw up an extensive list of regular expenses so you can see where your money goes, and where you can cut costs.
The biggest damage to a company’s profit margins doesn’t come from once-off expensive items—it comes from the regular payments that could be reduced. Look at items you can remove entirely, such as subscriptions to services that are nice to have but not essential. These can always be reinstated when cash flow improves. Then look at where you can reduce costs; for example, switching to more affordable coffee and cleaning products. It’s time to make concessions, and this means pinching pennies.
#2: Put A Spending Structure In Place
This is the kind of policy that a business should have in place regardless, but it may need to be tightened up a little bit if your credit has run dry. You need to be very strict with what can be expensed to the company, and what is for personal expenses. However, explain to your employees why you’re making these changes, how making them will help them keep the company alive, and how they contribute to ensuring their jobs stay intact. Without employee’s support and understanding, your efforts will probably look draconian and very demanding.
When changing your spending structure, focus heavily on why the changes are being made, and how you hope they’ll only be temporary. Then make sure that the changes are clearly spelled out so that there are no mistakes that could cost money you don’t have. This step will also help to give you clarity on your monthly budget for expenses, giving you a better understanding of what you’re dealing with.
#3: Clarify Your Payment Policy With Clients
Again, this is a policy that should already be in place. However, it’s well worth reviewing and ensuring that you, your employees, and your clients are up to speed–and that your payment policies are suitable for the current economic climate. This way, the people expected to pay you know what to do, and those who are following up on payments will have a straightforward procedure to follow.
When you are in a situation where businesses are operating on a knife-edge, it’s even more essential to ensure that invoices don’t go unpaid, or payment gets delayed. Having no line of credit as a backup means that each payment coming in on time is crucial.
Your payment policy should cover:
Payment deadlines–you should always follow the same deadlines for each invoice. They should be on a specific date or by a specific length of time. Having the same conditions for each client across your company makes tracking invoices much easier.
Penalties and fees–it’s essential that you spell out what the penalty is for late payments and how it will impact the invoice.
Terms and conditions–this shows that the deadlines and penalties are something you’ve instituted company wide, and not just for a specific client. Using the right language here will also illustrate that your policy is non-negotiable, and that you will not give any client special treatment.
In addition to reviewing your policy regarding payment terms and penalties for late payments, you can look at offering incentives for early payment. If you know you need to get cash into your business because you have no credit left, you can offer customers the option of a small discount for quick settlement terms. This is a great way to help keep your cash flow looking good, it encourages loyalty with existing clients, and may even earn you some new ones. Customers may well need the break of the reduced rate as much as you need the income in trying times.
#4: Investigate Business Loans And Investors
A line of credit is not your only source of extra income for a business. You can look at getting a loan from a bank or some of the less traditional (but still safe) lenders. Crowdfunding is another great way to bring in income if you’re struggling with cash flow, as is looking for investors to help you stay afloat.
Credit running dry doesn’t have to be the end of your business. It’s all about finding the right way to bring in extra funds. Ensure your business plan is watertight, your financial records are in order, and your business is a solid investment, then approach lenders for assistance. Even a short-term loan could be enough to see you through a rough patch, or to facilitate the growth you need to keep pivot your business and keep generating profits.
Remember, a lack of credit isn’t the end of your business. It’s a push you need to investigate new ways to cut costs, streamline expenses, reaffirm payment policies, and seek alternative avenues of funding.
SOLUTION: Shift your focus from credit to getting creative with what you’ve got.
#5: Try Bartering to Reduce Out of Pocket Spending
One creative solution for your struggling business when cash flow and credit runs dry is the age old currency of bartering. Coming up with new ideas is one way to think outside the box, but sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
You can simply do what our forefathers perfected and trade your services for goods and services you need. There are various bartering networks you can google. One we recommend is Better Business Barter Club. You can contact the member chairperson at BucksContractors@gmail.com.
QUESTION: Which of these tips could you implement IMMEDIATLEY to maintain cash flow for your struggling business? Share with us in the comments below!
For a team to be successful, its members need to have confidence in their abilities and know that they are making a positive contribution to the effort. That confidence may come from being allowed to make mistakes and learn from them, without fearing career-ending consequences.
Enabling people to spread their wings not only builds self-confidence, but the courage to take on new challenges and share their ideas. These strengths will serve them well throughout their careers. Thus creating a stronger leadership for business owners
Support and Development
A good leader will recognize the potential in others. They will see beyond the tasks on a person’s job description, provide the opportunity to develop their skills and support their career growth. In return, they will have gained a lifelong ally.
Though it’s easier to limit a person to the role you hired them for, a good leader will nurture an employee’s growth, even if it means that they might eventually move on. Interacting with people as individuals and trying to accommodate
their unique personalities and styles of communication is an essential skill for an effective leader.
They must possess the necessary people skills to handle any situation professionally. Developing effectiveleadership habits takes commitment. It also takes time, effort, and real-life experience. Building a leadership for business owners
will not be easy and will take perseverance.
Empower and Encourage
Mutual trust is critical within a successful team. Effective leaders demonstrate that trust by allowing people to do their jobs without micromanaging them, which encourages them to take ownership of their work and responsibility for it.
They empower people by giving them the latitude to make decisions and thentrusting their judgment. Successful leaders are as transparent and honest as possible with their people and stand behind them.
Vision and Purpose
Leadership for business owners is great, but when a team that is led by someone who is committed to their life’s purpose, it can bring about positive change in both its members and society in general.
Effective leaders inspire people toshare their vision and a sense of purpose. As a result, they will strive to achieve your mutual goal because they want to.
People who learn to approach their work in this way are more likely to become future leaders who will have the opportunity to bring about positive change.
Strength and Honesty
Leadership for business owners know adversity requires both strength and honesty. If a company has hit a rough patch, the employees usually know it, so telling them everything is just fine may result in a lack of trust.
If a situation is dire, an effective leader will be as honest as possible about what it could mean to the team and how leadership plans to reach a solution. Armed with the truth, people will usually help to put things right, and they’ll do it out of loyalty.
Effective leadership for business owners can make life better for those who follow them by providing opportunities to learn and grow. Showing confidence in people will help them to have more confidence in themselves and encourage them to keep striving for more knowledge and improved skills.
If people understand a leader’s vision, values and purpose, they will be more likely to follow willingly. And with a common goal, the journey can be a lot more rewarding.
Leadership for business owners skills are not always innate and may require some additional study. Whether through instructor-led courses, books or with a mentor, acquiring these skills is an important part of effective leadership. The tools are available. It just takes some practice and commitment.
When I launched my first three businesses I did so with a sizable budget to fund my startup costs. But, when I started my consulting business back in 2007 I found myself in a very different situation. For the first time in my life I had no income coming in.
My husband was in the midst of a long season of unemployment after I had already sold my previous businesses. We had three hungry mouths to feed at home, so I was determined to launch my new business leaner than ever before — like as close to zero startup costs as possible.
That’s when I decided to figure out the LinkedIn thing.
LinkedIn is an incredible free tool to market your business. Once I invested the time to figure out how to get better at using it, I was able to track 6 figures of annual new business all came from LinkedIn.
So, if you want to start monetizing LinkedIn here are 9 tips to help you start generating leads for your business:
Lead Gen Tip #1. Have the Right LinkedIn Success Mindset.
Thousands of business owners are killing it with LinkedIn, but new clients aren’t going to come flooding in if all you’re doing is logging into LinkedIn to accept connection requests and post a few comments here and there.
LinkedIn will work for you if you put forth the right consistent effort. I love this famous quote:
“Your diamonds are not in far distant mountains or in yonder seas. They are in your own backyard, if you but dig for them.” ~ Russell Conwell
If you’re not sure whether your target market is on LinkedIn watch this video where I share 5 reason why you should be marketing your business on LinkedIn.
Lead Gen Tip #2. Craft a Stellar LinkedIn Profile for Instant FIND-ability and GET-ability.
Keep in mind the user experience on LinkedIn. People will land on your profile in 2 ways. Direct search and an indirect search. Direct search is easy low hanging fruit because they are typically ‘buy intent’ – ‘hire intent’ searches. Potential clients search LinkedIn for the type of person they are looking to hire. This is why you want your profile to be SEO optimized for the right keyword phrases. Your LinkedIn profile should also have a professional looking photo of you. Most people skip profiles where there is no picture or only a logo.
Indirect search can happen in many ways. For instance, let’s say you post an update on your personal LinkedIn profile and you share a few tips about a frequently asked question you get. Let’s say you currently have 1,200 1st degree connections and 45 of those connections liked or commented on your post. Not only does your post get seen by your 1st degree connections, it also gets eyeballs from the connections of the people who commented on your post. So if your 45 comments each had an average of 1,200 connections then your one post can also reach 54,000 2nd degree connections. You’re bound to get some of those people who saw your content click on your profile to find out what exactly you do. They will skim your profile for all of 3 seconds. If they don’t immediately get what you do, they WILL MOVE ON to find someone else.
So, you don’t want to miss out on this EASY passive lead generation opportunity simply because they don’t get what you do. That’s why it’s so important that your LinkedIn profile captures an immediate GET-ability (and wow factor).
Naturally, you want to have the updates you post on LinkedIn reach more people. So, be sure you develop the habit of sending targeted connection requests to grow your 1st degree connections.
Lead Gen Tip #3: Create Customized Connection Requests
When searching for connections on LinkedIn, you are given numerous filters to choose from. This allows you to get really strategic with your search.
You are able to drill down to where someone lives, where they went to school, what their interests are, and so on. With this information, you can take it and personalize your connection requests.
Lets say, For Example, you search for CEO’s and filter by 2nd degree connections located in Philadelphia. Instead of sending a pre-baked template to someone, study their profile and find a way to insert a question about their city in your request.
You can also ask about things like the weather, their sports teams, and much more.
By creating customized connection requests, you break the ice and open up an easy dialogue with the other person.
Lead Gen Tip #4: Don’t Spam Connections. Talk to Them.
When it comes to messaging your connections on LinkedIn there are two common pitfalls occur. Pitfall #1. You send out tons of requests to connect, but then fail to talk to them after they accept. Pitfall #2. You blast straight into a sales conversion. From its inception LinkedIn was not built to be a marketplace to bombard members with advertisements and solicitations. LinkedIn was designed to foster relationships.
If you use LinkedIn to blast straight into solicitation messages to cold connections, you’re just going to burn through those connections.
Instead, just follow the natural sequence of relationship building when having 1-1 conversations on LinkedIn. For instance:
Welcome / build rapport message
Give value message
Value follow up message
Invitation to call, coffee, interview, etc
If you have a well written profile and tagline often times you can go from step 2 straight to step 6, but it’s good to have a 6 step sequence like this to continue the conversation for people who aren’t ready to be a client of yours.
If the idea of messaging people individually feels too daunting, I use a tool called Auto Text Expander to speed my responses to FAQ’s when I’m on desktop.
When I’m messaging people from my mobile I just use the keyboard shortcuts on my iPhone which functions the same way as Auto Text Expander. I can reply 10x faster when all I have to do it type in 2 or 3 letters I set up.
Lead Gen Tip #5: Use Trigger Events to Engage and Re-Engage
Not all of your prospects will be ready to talk about your services immediately. However, they may be ready in 6 or even 12 months from now.
Your goal is to remain in their minds, meaning you’ll need to continue engaging them.
Fortunately, this can be done easily with trigger events. These are situations that will provide a comfortable way for you to re-engage with someone if they’ve shown no interest in your solutions so far.
These situations include:
they engaged on one of your posts (liked, commented, or shared)
they viewed your profile
they’ve published an article on LinkedIn
they’ve posted a status update on LinkedIn
they had a job change
they were promoted
they engaged on one of your posts (liked, commented, or shared)
they or their company were mentioned in the news
they’ve published an article on LinkedIn
they’ve posted a status update on LinkedIn
By re-engaging in this manner, you are more likely to stay on their radar and be top of mind when the time comes that they need the solution you offer.
When you’re posting an update, whether it’s a simple text update, a picture, a video or audio LinkedIn allows users to follow various hashtags. This way, they can get content on a topic in their feed, even if they don’t follow specific influencers for it.
Additionally, when you post an update, LinkedIn will auto-suggest hashtags, which can give you some inspiration for what to include.
You can also do a quick search a topic in LinkedIn and you’ll be able to see the number of followers on that hashtag.
Here’s an excerpt from SEO expert Neil Patel where he shares the importance of posting videos on LinkedIn to grow your business.
Advantages of Video
Native videos are videos that are uploaded directly to LinkedIn or created on the platform itself, as opposed to embedding videos from other sites, such as Youtube, Vimeo and more.
There are numerous advantages to using native video. According to Neil Patel, “A staggering 84% of buyers reported that they had been convinced to buy after watching a brand’s video.
And that same study found that 97% of businesses believe that their video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service.
That means the right type of video will help you sell and engage more.”
How to Upload Native Videos
To upload a Native Video, go to your feed, and you’ll see a button with a camera icon next to “start a post.
From here, You can directly upload a video between three seconds and ten minutes in length. This will appear directly to your update feed, allowing your audience to start watching your content immediately.
The dimensions of a native video can be from 256×144 to 4096×2304, and the orientation can be Horizontal or vertical, though vertical videos will be cropped into a square in the feed. Native video’s will also loop automatically.
Another advantage of Native Videos is that, Once you post a video, you are able to see detailed analytics. This includes things such as the number of views, likes, and comments your videos are receiving.
Additionally, you can also see audience insights, including top companies, titles, and locations of your viewers.
You can find these insights in the dashboard section of your LinkedIn profile. This works on both mobile and desktop.
Click the drop-down that says “Me” and scroll down until you see “Posts and Activity.”, which brings you to a feed of every post you’ve ever uploaded to LinkedIn.
At the bottom of each post, you’ll see a breakdown of it’s likes, comments, shares, and views.
With this information, you can begin to understand if you’re reaching the people and companies that matter to your brand.
Lead Gen Tip #8: Get to the Point Quickly in Your Videos
On Social media, attention spans are short, so there’s no time for you to waste. This means that you need to hook your viewers by getting to your point quickly at the beginning of your video.
LinkedIn themselves recommend capturing attention with a hook in the first 0 to 3 seconds.
From there, seconds 3 to 15 should be used to identify the problem or opportunity, and should address one of the biggest pain points of your potential customers, in order to really draw them in and entice them to watch the rest of your video.
After you have successfully hooked your viewers and drawn them in, seconds 15 to 50 should be used to describe the solution. Explain what you’re offering and why it’ll help your viewers.
Lead Gen Tip #9: Use Closed Captions for your videos
Let’s ask Darren Travers, who shares, “Showcase pages are add-ons to your LinkedIn company page for highlighting a specific business unit, initiative, product, service, or for targeting unique demographics. They are standalone pages, meaning people can follow them without following your main page.
If you have multiple target audiences or brand personas, you need Showcase pages. With them, you can avoid over complicating your main page and creating confusion for your audience by spreading out your offers and messages across multiple pages.
To create one, simply click ‘Admin tools’ on the right of your company homepage and select ‘Create Showcase Page’ to get started.”
Lead Gen Tip #11: Make Use of Sponsored vs Targeted Updates
If you have a LinkedIn page for your company, then you are able to take advantage of two powerful features. Targeted Updates and Sponsored Updates.
With Targeted Updates, you can target your content to a specific audience. This is useful for many reasons, such as if you want to show specific content to your investors, and other content to your consumers. However, the segment you are targeting must have at least 300 followers for you to use this feature.
Sponsored Updates: Sponsored updates are paid posts that allow you to reach a broader network. If you would like some content to get even more visibility, or if you want to get your content in front of people who aren’t following your Company Page (or your employees) you can pay to sponsor it.
To use targeted updates:
Click on start a post from your Company Page
Click on “Anyone” and you’ll be taken to “Who can see Your Post?”
Click on Targeted Audience and you’ll be able to customize what audience you want the post
While Targeted Updates can be used to build an organic following, Sponsored Updates allow you to pay to get your posts in front of a larger audience to further build your following.
These will appear in the your audience’s feed and look like a normal post, the only difference being a “sponsored” label next to your company name.
You are also able to target specific audiences just like you can with Targeted Updates.
To use Sponsored Updates:
Post an update to your company page and click the “Sponsor Update” button.
Within the Campaign Manager, name your new campaign.
Target your campaign by choosing Location, Company, Skills, etc.
Choose Your payment option. You can select either Cost-Per-Click (CPC) or Cost per 1000 impressions (CPM).
So, there you have it. I just shared 11 tips to help you start generating more leads on LinkedIn. If you’re starting at zero, don’t be overwhelmed by trying to implement all 11 by tomorrow! Bookmark this page to review it each day and decide to implement one at a time until you add all 11.
If you’d like to nail down your LinkedIn profile faster check out our free and paid LinkedIn Profile Makeover services for you here:
QUESTION: What’s one thing that’s been working well for you on LinkedIn? Share With us in the Comments below!
Take it from the CEO of Jetsmarter (a.k.a the Uber of Private Jets), Sergey Petrossov: reducing time and effort wasted on inefficiency can revolutionize your whole business. He upped his company’s annual business by over seven times, simply by spotting an inefficiency.
Common inefficiencies stem from a lack of communication, getting stuck in outdated procedures and a constant search for something new (the shiny object syndrome). Therefore you have to root out these inefficiencies so that your business can run smoothly.
Knowing every inch of your business means observing what you are currently doing and asking yourself:
Do I have a clear understanding of what’s important and what’s not?
Am I simply focusing on each task or crisis as it comes along?
Can these tasks be systematized?
Observe your current patterns to determine your strength. Then, apply those useful principles to the rest of your business to systematize the entire process. You can‘t really be objective about your company’s situation if you’re constantly carrying out daily tasks, as the ‘doer.’ You have to step back, zoom in and observe.
“Those who are most successful are capable of ‘higher-level thinking’ – i.e., they are able to step back and design a ‘machine’ consisting of the right people doing the right things to get what they want.” – Ray Dalio, Founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund
This is the only way to create a system that allows you to remove yourself and let the business take care of itself. Principles by Ray Dalio is a great resource to learn more about this approach. As is Work the System by Sam Carpenter.
Once you’ve built your machine, improve it over time. Create a solid diagnosis of your goals and the problems blocking their path so that you and your team can stimulate creative solutions.
Would you agree? If so, you may benefit from a mastermind group that allows you to brainstorm core business challenges with fellow CEOs. Get that conversation started.
#2: Determine What Your Communication Strategy is Lacking
Don’t just say: “I can’t transfer my knowledge to my team.”
Instead, Ask yourself:
Which team member, and why?
Is it a problem of time or a lack of shared language?
Lack of clarity?
It’s Only when you’ve identified a problematic pattern can you get to work designing a solution. Get your team in the habit of raising issues and risks that they feel are out of their control or impossible to deliver.
Communication is a tricky problem for most organizations, but it is absolutely your responsibility as a business owner to get it flowing.
So, Make your vision and your values available to your team in file that is accessible to everybody in your company. This way your employees and contractors can keep coming back to whenever they are unsure of the direction of your company. Having a set of principles accessible to everyone means you don’t have to constantly re-exert effort to explain yourself. Document everything, including common Q&As, guidelines etc. Have them organized and updated, often.
Good ideas come from all places. If you have a team that understands company goals, encourage them to ponder and speak up. Let them bring their disagreements into the open where it can be discussed and settled logically.
Are you taking advantage of communication tools like Slack, Basecamp or ProsperWorks? Use communication technology to automate internal processes while decreasing inefficiency, human error and unnecessary delays.
Bonus tip: Outlaw long and complicated emails. Communications should be razor-focused on a task, an update, or a process.
#3: Remove Bottlenecks with Technology
Leveraging technology is the best thing you can do for your business. The benefits are endless: smoother operations, greater customer experience, increased productivity and higher profits.
Jetsmarter made it easy for customers to access technology and information by letting them directly schedule their flights through an app.
As a result, agents were removed as a booking bottleneck and re-directed towards other tasks.
For better or worse, every company is now a software company. There are hundreds of applications that can be used to run business tasks. It’s all about connecting people, processes, technology and data.
For your business to run smoothly and be highly adaptable to market needs, it needs digital integration. Use the proper tools to get you from knowledge to action in a systematic way.
How can you empower your business with technology?
Every industry has different needs.
Companies with manufacturing, transport and large investments may need to improve operations and take advantage of their infrastructures.
Other companies may want to focus on customer relationships and platforms.
Use technology to support your own goals, decreasing the amount of time and effort that you as a business owner need to focus on daily operations.
#4: Get Help So You Can Focus on the Big Picture
This means passing along some responsibilities when it becomes highly problematic or time-consuming. In other words: seeking help.
Escalation is not a failure — it’s recognition of responsibility.
Your business is meant to grow and run smoothly without your constant input. Because it becomes successful only when treated as a separate entity worthy of investment.
If time is the problem, get a virtual assistant to help you in a variety of areas, including administration, research, invoicing as well as marketing, sales and operational support.
#5: Define the Roles and Responsibilities of Your Staff
Did you know that there is a significant relationship between employee performance and clarity about roles and responsibilities?
According to one study: “Role ambiguity, which is absence of clarity for the roles, is considered to be one of the great bottlenecks for the effectiveness of the team.”
The research went on to indicate that employers who are clear about performance, evaluation and delivery improve their business tremendously. Not only are employees happier with their own performance; they uplift the entire organization.
We’re talking about goals, priorities and boundaries.
Your Employees need to understand not just how they fit into the puzzle but how the other pieces fit in, too, and how the whole thing comes together.
There is a freedom and passion that comes with clarity.
This includes you as the employer, CEO or business owner. The only thing you should be focusing on is making the best decisions for your business. Remove all the other noise from your head – you’d be amazed at how many different tasks there are that you can get someone else to do for you.
Are you ready to find out what it means to run a business that is so effective that you can pursue bigger and better goals? It’s possible. Schedule a 30-minute complimentary sessiontoday and find out exactly how you’re going to do it.
QUESTION: What inefficiencies have you found in your business that have allowed you to pursue bigger and better things? Share with us in the comments below!
Katrina McKinnon is a leading online innovator with over 20 years’ experience building and operating high performing businesses. In a market hungry for skilled online professionals, Small Revolution powered by Katrina McKinnon’s proven insights, is the fastest, most effective way to get the expertise to tap into this growing opportunity.