Cash flow. Do those words strike fear into your heart?
First and foremost, you must believe that everything will all come together with your business. There will be down periods, but they won’t stay that way as long as you remain focused on your Big Picture Vision. The cash flow will funnel in if you follow one or more of these eight tips.
- GET A CREDIT LINE
At first this may seem counter-intuitive: Borrow money when you don’t need it. It’s a lot easier to get a loan when you’re not in a desperate situation. Having the cash to draw from during a slow period takes off a ton of pressure. You’ll pay it back once you are busy again. Debt is not a bad thing when you’re using it to grow.
- GET YOUR CUSTOMERS TO BUY FROM YOU MORE OFTEN
On average, existing clients account for 41% of small business income. They are apt to spend five times more than new clients because the relationship already exists. They trust you and know what you can do. Many customers love the idea of a “one-stop shop” where they can have all of their needs provided by one vendor. Wherever possible, upsell additional products to your customer base and become that one-stop shop.
- THE PRODUCT PYRAMID
The Product Pyramid is a multi-tiered approach to bringing in customers at every level. Presently, you may be hitting on only one or two levels—but you have the potential to establish relationships with customers in every single one of them. For example, if you manufacture run-of-the-mill coffee makers for $79, you could also produce machines at every tier for every level of connoisseur—all the way up to the garish $2,999 model.
A great way to expand a business without stretching yourself too thin is through licensing. Some business owners feel that licensing their brands, products, or services is the equivalent of giving away their children—but it’s not. If anything, it’s a less taxing way to make more children (i.e., products, services, etc.) without having to do any of the work. Once an agreement is done, licensing becomes a bookkeeping function that brings in regular income.
Retainers are an excellent way to generate recurring revenue. Think about what you might be able to provide to your clients on a regular (i.e., monthly) basis. Rather than getting paid per project or by the hour, you are receiving a standard payment every month ($2,500, $5,000, etc.). It could be in the form of a marketing retainer, a public relations retainer, a consulting retainer, etc.
Once you have your business model down, you can sell your concept, systems, and marketing to others to create franchises. All you need to do in this case is develop a “business-in-a-box” that franchisees can step into and run and then help them find prime locations.
- CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS
Perhaps your business lends itself to creating a certification program. If you and your team have expertise in an area, you can build a program that trains others to become experts as well. This is a terrific way to scale because you are getting people to sign up for a number of sessions so they may fulfill the certification obligation, which means consistent cash flow with people paying up front.
- CONSIDER RAISING YOUR PRICES
While I’m an advocate of promotional discounts and other marketing incentives, I am opposed to pricing models that undervalue your products and services. Some business owners are afraid that customers won’t buy from them unless they are priced lower than their competitors. The truth is, you may get a customer through a lower price offering—but you won’t keep a customer this way. You want to attract customers who truly value what you offer. If you drop your prices too low, you are projecting to the marketplace that you don’t believe that your product is worth that much.
While scaling your business business, always monitor cash flow and prepare for inclement weather. But never allow low ebbs in cash flow to dictate decisions that will impact the long-term success of your Big Picture Vision.