Having vision for your business is a great place to start, but you need money to make it. During the seven years I've run mine, I've experienced several highs and lows. There were times when money was flowing in and times I've found myself working around the clock and taking odd jobs to make payroll.
Being a business owner is hard because there isn't much room to be selfish. Even if it seems like it would be easier to give up, oftentimes your family and your team are depending on you. The pressure is on to produce results. These small-business financial solutions can help you push forward and give your business life.
1. Personal Savings
For many small-business owners, using some personal savings for your business is a necessary step when building something on your own. However, doing so with caution and proper planning, instead of spending at will, can help ensure you are investing cash wisely.
I am a strategist, so planning and creative problem-solving always come first. I've found that creating a detailed budget and vision plan can help to keep track of financial goals and map out spending. If you know what to expect, you can integrate business solutions into your plans and prepare accordingly.
In this case, you'll also want to closely monitor how much money is coming in and going out. When cash is tight, every dollar counts. Decide what is critical and cut unnecessary expenses. Be sure to keep your personal and business accounts separate, even as you prepare to move funds from one to the other. Good bookkeeping ultimately saves money so keeping your records in order is important.
These small steps can help lead to savings that can cover your business costs until it's profitable again. I like to make sure that I always keep at least 12 months of my living expenses in savings at all times before investing from my personal account. Create a model around a number you are comfortable with and set aside a little extra for unexpected expenses.
Opening a business card allows you some room to breathe by increasing cash flow while also providing some benefits.
2. Sell a Product or Service
Another valuable small-business financial solution to consider is leveraging the assets you already have. For some small-business owners, this means liquidating assets for cash. For others, the assets they possess take the form of skills and experiences they have to offer others.
We live in a gig economy, so selling products and services is a very accessible way to earn some cash on the side. If you need to pick up a contract job, part-time work or something else to help fund your business and get through the slow periods, go for it. You can often choose a schedule that works for you, your business and your personal life by working remotely or by simply “signing on" when you need the work.
Having a flexible gig can relieve some tension and increase cash flow. Bonus: Sometimes doing so can help you sharpen a skill or expand your business offering in the future.
3. Family & Friends
The people in your circle are often rooting for you from the sidelines—in most cases, they know you and have watched your progress. Reach out to them. Chances are, they've been in your shoes before and may be in a position to help. Small-business financial solutions that incorporate the support of friends and family can be all the more rewarding because of their connection to you.
They can also be messy, too. Avoid damaging your relationship by setting firm parameters for yourself and developing a solid plan, then present it to your circle appropriately. Your approach matters. Make sure you are confident in your offering and clear about what you are asking for.
You can also include them in the process with collaborative efforts like crowdsourcing. Enlist their help through an online fund. It gives your circle the chance to learn about your business, rally around you and participate in a collaborative business solution.
4. Cash Back Cards
There are also some good small business financial solutions available through financial institutions. For instance, opening a business card allows you some room to breathe by increasing cash flow while also providing rewards that you can reinvest into your business.
Cash back credit cards offer an opportunity to accrue rewards as you spend. When you are looking for a cash back card that is right for you and your business, consider shopping around for flexible business credit cards with no annual fee and introductory no interest rates. This will help you minimize out-of-pocket costs and allow you to keep cash available when you need it.
Small business ownership takes grit. Sometimes, you have to ride out the ups and downs for years before your business reaches a stable place. And even then, things happen. Prepare for the unexpected and the hard times by finding the right small-business financial solutions for you.
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