When finances start to get tight, our first instinct is often to look for ways to increase our earnings. You can, however, improve your cashflow significantly by stopping leaks and spills in your everyday accounts.
Time and money are your most valuable business assets. In this feature, we’re looking at three ten-minute tips to help keep your cash flow flowing.
#1 Don’t be late: automate
Have you ever tracked the late fees that accumulate on bills paid past their due date? While we all have the best intentions of paying accounts on time, our ‘real work’ (the fun stuff) often gets in the way. Both Telstra and Optus will slug you with a $15 late payment fee if you miss their due date. Missing your energy bill will cost you around $12, too, and late payments on credit cards can cost you up to $35! Maybe you’re ok with donating your hard-earned dollars to these hugely profitable players? If you’re not, though, taking ten minutes to set up an automatic payment system should be top of your list of to-dos.
#2 Track your Transactions
Studying your bank statements isn’t a particularly fun task. Still, it’s something all small business owners should get in the habit of doing. Allowing ten minutes to check your transactions at the end of each month can uncover all kinds of leakages, including:
- Online subscriptions – how many times have you tested a new app or program with a ‘free trial’ lure. If you’ve handed over your credit card details to get the download, and haven’t cancelled the account when you discovered you wouldn’t need said app or program, a new sneaky debit could be an expensive long-term leak.
- ATM and bank fees – withdrawing cash from random ATMs will typically incur a sneaky fee; a couple of bucks seems insignificant, but these ‘drips’ can certainly add up. The same goes for monthly bank fees – can these be negotiated with your bank? Will another bank offer a ‘no-fee’ account? What kind of interest rate are you paying on your credit card? Could you do better with another type of card, or perhaps another lending institution?
- Increased service fees – monthly payments for insurances and other services are super convenient and can help your cash flow. They can, however, make us a bit lax when it comes to comparing prices at renewal time. When you’re keeping a check on your monthly debits, you may be surprised at the increase in premiums and fees between one year and another. When you see an increase, take action right away and investigate your options (more about that below).
#3 Comparing Cover
We all gripe about paying insurance, but not having cover when you need it could cause a lot more pain down the track. Finding the best value insurance is essential: allow yourself ten minutes per week for the next four weeks to price check your business insurances (PI & PL, Vehicle, Office or Home & Contents and – while you’re at it – health insurance). Ask how much you’ll save by paying annually rather than monthly. Compare the savings you make to your hourly rate, and you’ll see it’s time well spent.
Note: when you’re looking at PI & PL, don’t forget our tailor-made group policy. This cover is designed for designers (so you know it’s a good fit), and with the benefits of a group buying power, it’s a hard-to-beat price. Learn more here.
Do you have a ten-minute tip that’s made a big difference to your bottom line? We’d love to hear it, so comment below.