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Tips on getting a better cash flow

For most business owners, it's vital to keep an eye on the cash flow – to make sure money always keeps coming in so that you can keep your business alive and well. But, it's not always easy to get paid on time. Some customers forget to pay their invoice. Others have a question about the invoice and wait to get a reminder before paying the bill. Another category of customers have their own cash flow problems and they're waiting themselves to get paid before they can pay you.

Here are some tips to help you get better cash flow:
• Change the terms from 30 days to 10 on the invoices. Not everyone will pay faster, but many will.

• Accept credit cards if you sell online, then you get the money right away.

• Email invoices - it allows your customers to see it faster.

• Make sure you are available to answer any questions once you've sent the invoice. This way the customers can't accuse you of being unavailable.

• Make sure all contact information is printed on the invoice. Telephone number, cell phone number, fax and e-mail, so that customers can reach you easily if anything is unclear.

• Try to bill other times than at the end of the month as most others do it and you end up in competition with other payments that the client have to make.

• If you work in projects - ensure that invoices are sent out regularly instead of only once at the end of the project.

• Don't put off billing – send out invoices every week instead of once a month. Make invoicing as important as the sales – it's necessary for your survival.

• Experiment - offer your customers a cheaper price for faster payment. It doesn't have to be harder than saying ”We have 30 days net, but if you pay in 10 days you'll get X% discount (or a nice gift).

• Make sure to get credit from the bank as soon as you are trusted.

• Try to set money aside each month for a special ”Worst-case-scenario-account”

• Pay your bills in a planned manner so you don't have to pay everything at the same time.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.