Cash flow is the net change in your company's cash position from one period to the next. If you take in more cash than you send out, you have a positive cash flow. You have a negative cash flow if you have more cash outflow than inflow. Cash flow is a key indicator of financial health. Even with the fanciest brand name, marketing gimmick, or the best tasting product, without a healthy flow of cash, no company can survive. Having a solid cash flow is not just about managing a healthy business; it’s a matter of life or death for an organization. Though it may sound extreme, small business owners must pay attention to their cash flows on a regular basis.
You know what they say about the best-laid plans? It can seem like that goes double for small and midsize businesses, with unexpected expenses often serving to derail plans. While you may have done everything right on paper to get your books and bank accounts in tip-top shape, financial surprises will invariably come along. To ensure that your company can tolerate such expenses, it's important to be prepared to expect the unexpected.
While you may not be able to predict when an unexpected cost will pop up, you can often predict what type of cost your company may face. Cash flow is the lifeblood of a business. Every successful company needs a steady source of income and cash on hand to pay bills and make payroll. Unfortunately, many business owners struggle with cash flow problems. Often, it's through no fault of their own, but it's important to know how to effectively deal with the factors that are stopping the flow.
Cash flow doesn't have to be complicated. Indeed, most cash flow problems have common causes. Many businesses end up in a cash flow crunch due to unexpected expenses (for example, costly repairs to equipment, replacing malfunctioning technology or a natural disaster) or too much money going out each month (such as ongoing expenses that have quietly crept up to an unsustainable level). Resolving a cash flow crisis requires that business leadership take a renewed, vigorous look at their ongoing cost structure.
Cash Flow Loans - Bullet Points
- Would a cash flow loan help you take advantage of inventory discounts? Imagine you have an opportunity to buy bulk inventory at a discount. A cash flow loan can help if you don’t have the money right now to make the purchase.
- Would financing help you say yes to a job? Say you own a restaurant and are asked to cater a big event. To jump on the opportunity, you need to hire a few more servers, but you don’t have the cash. A line of credit or short-term loan could allow you to say yes.
- Are you entering a slow period? Another example: You own an ice cream shop and winters are slow. Ideally, you’d budget for this by saving more in the summer, but a cash flow loan could get you through in a pinch.
Cash is King
The importance of strong cash flow is aptly stated in the common expression "cash is king." The premise of this is that having cash puts you in a more stable position with better buying power. While you can borrow money at times, cash affords you greater protection against loan defaults or foreclosures. Cash flow is distinct from cash position. Having cash on hand is critical, but cash flow indicates an ongoing ability to generate and use cash.
Keeping Up With Debt
When you borrow money to buy equipment and inventory, you essentially use future cash flow to make your purchases. Inherently, you need positive future cash flow to pay for your debt commitments. Companies commonly have long-term loans and short-term credit accounts with vendors. Each loan requires monthly payments. The obligation to make these payments on an ongoing basis restricts your free cash flow, which is money available to invest in growing your business.
Along with debt management, strong cash flow provides the comfort and capabilities a business needs to invest in growth. Building new locations, investing in marketing and advertising, renovating your storefront, improving technology, providing more training and purchasing more inventory are among the ways your business can grow and improve with strong positive cash flow. Getting to a position of excess cash flow helps your company operate in a strategic, proactive way, rather than a reactive, defensive way.
Cash flow also gives your business greater flexibility in responding to emerging dilemmas or making critical decisions. Confidence in cash flow makes it easier to make critical purchases in the near term rather than waiting. It also allows you to disperse cash in the form of dividends to shareholders or owners. This strengthens the bond between the company and its owners. You also have the ability to offer favorable credit terms to attract new buyers if you are less desperate for cash.
Uneven cash flow is one of the biggest challenges of small businesses throughout all industries. In a perfect world, you’d walk into your local bank and walk out with a business loan long before you wound up in a cash crunch. Well, those days are long gone! If you haven’t been in business at least two years, or lack good credit and collateral, chances are a traditional bank loan is never going to happen.
In order to deal with this shortfall, a cash flow loan may be your best option. For this type of business financing, lenders provide you funds and use your future expected cash flow as collateral for the loan. You’re essentially borrowing from cash that you expect to receive in the future by giving the lender the rights to a predetermined amount of these receivables. These are primarily used for working capital or take advantage of short-term ROI opportunities. Your credit scores will usually be checked, but they play less of a role. As the name indicates, the lender is more concerned with inspecting your cash flow (usually bank statements) to approve your application. Turnaround time is another great feature of a cash flow loan, as funding usually takes place in a matter of days.
A cash flow loan may be used for any business expense, but some common uses are:
- Working capital
- High ROI short-term opportunities
- Purchasing highly-discounted inventory
- Business expansion
Other types of small business cash flow financing are:
ACH Small Business Loans - For starters, an ACH small business loan can also be referred to as a small business cash flow loan, small business revenue based loan or a small business merchant cash advance. The ACH designation really applies to how the lender is paid. ACH or Automated Clearing House, refers to the lenders ability to withdraw an agreed upon amount directly from your checking account at agreed upon intervals, typically daily or weekly. LEARN MORE
Business Expansion Loans - Designed for prime businesses with better risk profiles, our business expansion loan is an extended-term loan with rates ranging from 9.99% - 36%, terms of 18 to 24 months, multiple payment options, and loan sizes up to $250,000. It’s large-scale growth capital if you're looking to invest in bigger projects, with the same speed and simplicity LVRG is known for. GET STARTED
Business Term Loans - Small business term loans can get you the money you need to bridge cash flow gaps, handle emergencies and unexpected expenses or take advantage of a business opportunity. Funding amounts from $15,000 to $1 Million and terms of 3 to 48 months, a term loan from LVRG is small business capital for big business growth. LEARN MORE
Small Business Line of Credit - A small business line of credit provides flexibility that a regular business loan doesn’t. With a small business line of credit, you can borrow up to $100,000 and pay interest only on the money borrowed. You then draw and repay funds as you wish, as long as you don’t exceed your credit limit. Need to manage cash flow? Buy inventory? Pay for a surprise expense? Then a business line of credit makes sense. LEARN MORE
Working Capital Loans - At any stage of growth, fast, flexible funding is essential to the continued success of your small business. Our working capital loans feature 6 to 18 month terms and fixed payment options to accommodate your specific needs, so you can focus on what you do best, running and building your business. LEARN MORE
Short-term cash flow loans are best used for short-term projects that would divert money from day-to-day expenses but ultimately grow your business, like taking on a big contract with a major company or adding extra seating in your restaurant. If you need cash fast, a cash flow loan may be your lifeline.
LVRG Funding is one of the nations largest and most trusted resources of small business cash flow loans. Want to know if a cash flow loan is right for your business, give us a call (855) 998-5874. We're here to help!