Small business owners face shortages of many things, but few would deny that capital and time top the list. You know the saying, “the hurrier I go the behinder I get.” That is a fact of life for growing numbers of business owners. However, there are solutions to, many of the issues that are sapping your time and energy—solutions that have the potential to can save huge swatches of time, affording you, the small business owner, the opportunity to concentrate on capital creation and growing your business.
So, if you are a small business owner and find that you have been too busy to seek solutions to the very problems you are trying to resolve, choosing instead to work harder still, what follows here may be an enormous help. At the very least, you may be motivated to explore for resources on your own that may better meet your unique needs.
If you have been laboring under the illusion that outsourcing is something only large corporations do, you are mistaken. You need to change your paradigm. The successful small business thinks big! Big corporations outsource for a variety of reasons and the size of your business has very little to do with the efficacy of outsourcing, rather, it is the size of your vision.
One positive outgrowth of the economic downturn has been the increased availability of highly skilled talent at a fraction of the cost you would incur hiring an employee. Hire this freelance talent for special projects or one-off requirements. Almost every skill imaginable is available. This type of outsourcing is tailor-made for small business. Not only is it cost effective, but it puts your business on an even footing with larger competitors.
Pride of ownership is in the nature of the small business person. However, buying is not always the smart choice—nor is it the least expensive option. Leasing can get you the equipment you need without large cash outlays. Leasing also provides you a hedge against obsolescence, an important consideration if you are leasing high tech equipment. There are can be tax advantages as well. Talk to your accountant.
3. The Cloud
The cloud can be an excellent choice for startups and offers significant opportunities for any small business that relies on computing for the successful operation of the company. Startups can save significantly because cloud computing can save the startup thousands of dollars in infrastructure costs. Established businesses can also migrate to cloud computing and save on the personnel costs associated with maintaining an extensive infrastructure.
Put your toe in the water with SaaS cloud providers. That stands for software as a service. This service will afford your business access to the latest software applications, minus the investment in servers and multiple licenses. Software updates are automatic.
PaaS is money saving option that pairs well with SaaS. This one stands for platform as a service and allows a business to create its own applications that run on the provider’s infrastructure saving you the expense of building your own, which is great for startups looking to conserve cash.
Service commerce platforms are a great option for businesses that involve customers placing orders. The service can facilitate delivery and pricing based upon information provided by the business.
Other cloud computing services are available, but these are great introductions to the benefits of cloud (internet) computing.
4. Software & Technology
The technology sector is always creating software and hardware to meet the needs of business. Staying abreast of these developments can be a full-time job as the rate of innovation accelerates. Subscribing to a handful of tech newsletters such as Software Magazine and PC can keep you current on developments that may enhance your business.
5. Accounts Receivable
Every business person knows or should know the importance of maintaining cash flow by having a well managed accounts receivable department. Small business is particularly vulnerable to disruptions in cash flow that result from poor receivables management. Because of the close relationships smaller businesses have with their customers, many owners find themselves reluctant to put the arm on a customer for past due payment. This mindset can quickly snowball, paralyzing your business due to a lack of cash.
Other businesses simply may not have the in-house expertise to properly manage a significant volume of receivables. Whatever your situation may be, consider the services of an invoice factoring firm such as CBAC Funding. Firms like this have the ability to insulate you from negative customer contact while maintaining your cash flow via cash advances on invoices assigned to them. You may know it as invoice financing or accounts receivable financing, something of a misnomer because there is no loan involved and your balance sheet will not reflect any short or long term obligation as a result of working with a factor.
Factors can address virtually all your accounts receivable management concerns allowing your business to deploy assets in other directions. Alternatively, they can help you with a handful of critical invoices to smooth out a rough spot in your cash flows.
These 5 suggestions could make a big difference in your business operations. Please give them due consideration.
Andrew Cravenho is the CEO of CBAC Funding, an innovative invoice finance company. As a serial entrepreneur, Andrew focuses on helping both small and medium sized businesses take control of their cash flow.