Cash is the fuel that makes a business run. It is needed to pay salaries including your own, fund marketing programs to acquire and retain new customers, invest in equipment and facilities, pay rent, supplies and many more day-to-day activities. Most financial experts recommend three to six months of operating expenses, but using this for every business in every situation is misleading.
To determine how much cash you need, you must look at the following key areas.
How Much Cash Have You Been Using?
If you’re an established business owner, look at your monthly cash flow report (or go to the next paragraph if you’re a start-up). This report will provide an historical and seasonal perspective. Note the cash received from sales and the cash spent. The net of these two is often referred to as the “net burn rate.” For example, if you have $50,000 in sales and $30,000 in expenses, then your net burn is +$20,000
Your “gross burn rate” only takes cash expenditures into account; in our example, that’s $30,000 and is the more conservative amount, since it does not assume any sales are made. Historical spending patterns are a good starting point in considering future spending plans. Continue reading →
Many startup small business owners take pride in pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and not using financing to get their companies off the ground. But that approach can backfire, a new study in the Journal of Corporate Finance suggests.
The study, conducted by Florida Atlantic University faculty, assessed what happened to companies that took on debt during their first year of operation.
The authors discovered businesses that took on debt are more likely to succeed (as long as they use business debt as opposed to taking on personal debt).
Here are some tools that will make things a little easier.
The Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP) is designed to save you time! BusinessUSA makes it easier for small businesses to access Federal services, regardless of its source. VA OSDBU quickly connects Veteran entrepreneurs to relevant ‘best-practices’ and information. Collectively, VEP offers direct access to the resources necessary to guide every step of entrepreneurship.
Start a Business This interactive tool connects you to the right resources specific to your small business objective. Navigate through relevant topics to access information on starting a business. Learn how to start a business »
Access Financing Use this customized wizard to identify financing resources to support the start-up, development, or growth of your small business. Learn about financial resources »
Grow Your Business Find out how to successfully expand your small business. Explore dedicated subjects with valuable information and resources to help you grow your company. Learn how to grow your business »
Rather than building a small business from the ground up, buying an existing company offers the opportunity to move along the path to entrepreneurship more quickly. With all of the startup tasks already taken care of, a staff in place, an established customer base, existing vendor relationships, and processes and procedures laid out, you have a head start.
But that doesn’t diminish the importance of doing your research before making the decision to buy a business. Acquiring an existing business small business requires substantial examination so you avoid many pitfalls that befall eager entrepreneurs who leap before they look.
Investing in a business is the same as investing your savings in a mutual fund or stock portfolio to secure both your future and possibly your retirement. You should study and review the past performance and the current condition and seek help and advice from professionals on the prospects for the future. Continue reading →
Carolyn Walters’ small business clients know they can ask her more than just tax questions. While “tax is the heart and soul of what I do,” she says as the owner of Financial Solutions Accounting and Tax in Greensboro, NC, she has expanded her business to offer a variety of different services.
“The challenges that small businesses have usually end up in my lap one way or another,” she says with a chuckle.
Walters wants to be the first resource her small business clients turn to when they have questions about small business financing and credit. “Quite a few of my clients are looking at ways to expand and grow their businesses, and that takes money,” she says.
Some of them have the funds they need to grow, but others will need to borrow. And even those who don’t have to borrow may find it advantageous to do so. “If you can get credit at low rates and still maintain the integrity of the business goals you are trying to accomplish, it may make sense,” Walters says. Continue reading →