Here are some tips we wanted to share with you for managing cashflow. At CBC, We are committed to providing our clients with a strategic cost effective results-driven service that adds value to their businesses. And we know how vital a role cashflow plays in the life expectancy of any business.
1) Bill as soon as work has been done or order fulfilled. Add late payment charges or fees where possible. Stick to sound credit control practices – and train your staff in proactive debt collection methods.
2) Reduce direct and indirect costs and overhead expenses and negotiate extended credit from suppliers, wherever possible. Think… ‘Does it save money or bring in income – if not I don’t need it!
3) Increase sales (particularly those involving upfront deposits, and regular standing order payments). Offer discounts to customers who sign up for regular standing order payments. The time you save in chasing debts can be used to work to increase more sales.
4) Make short-term and medium cashflow forecasts and update them daily. (Using pen and paper, spreadsheet, accounting tools or whatever works for you!)
5) Establish an effective relationship with your Bank (and Accountant. This will help if you need an overdraft, need to renegotiate bank facilities to reduce charges or seek to extend debt repayment periods. Register for realtime online banking, so as to get an accurate picture of your bank balance, your overdraft limit, and what funds are cleared.
We believe in running a tight ship, cutting out waste and making our resources work efficiently. See Real Business – 27 ways to improve your cash flow: Cash is the fuel that every company runs on. Here are tried-and-tested tactics for filling your tank.
Some (well okay, most) of these have been learned from bitter experience….
(1) What are the rules?
Rules are meant to be broken – if you have a client that you know particularly well then you can bend the rules. If however you are taking a local solicitor to lunch with a view to getting his business you’d better behave yourself.
2) What is the dress code?
Whatever you think your client will be wearing — if they are the same sex as you that is — or smarter if you are not sure. Never be under-dressed – you will feel inadequate. If you are going to a place that needs a certain dress code make sure your client is aware and is happy about it.
3) How do you decide where to take a client?
Sensible answer: Where do you think the client would most like to go? Some clients would rather a pie and a pint than the latest trendy Gordon Ramsay resturant. Also, how much time do you and your client have available will impact on your choice.
Honest answer: How flush are you? Where do YOU want to go? How much is your client worth to you? If you have another meeting close by, you should choose the resturant to make it easier for you.
4) Should you drink?
Sensible answer: Follow your guest’s lead
Honest answer: If you fancy a drink and your guest doesn’t you can always use the line “If I didn’t have a pint you wouldn’t believe that I’m a PR guy”. It never fails. And nothing goes down worse than if your client wants to have a drink and you won’t (so I’ve heard!!)
5) Should you talk business straight away?
And it’s no, nay, never, no nay never no more, will I talk busines at lunch – no never no more. Taken loosely from the lyrics of the Irish song “The Wild Rover” Unless of course your client starts it ….
6) How do you, or should you, seal the deal?
Like Victorian children — normally again — not unless you are spoken to. Seriously, it’s okay to clarify what’s been said at the end of the meeting.
7) On what note should you depart?
More sober than your client – always. Especially if you have another meeting to go to afterwards! If you think it’s going to be a drinking lunch then don’t plan anything afterwards.
8) What should I eat?
Nothing messy! Not oysters either. A client still reminds me of the time ten years ago I made a mess of Thai food down my shirt — and I had another meeting to go to afterwards! Take your client’s lead about whether to have starter or desert.
9) Topics of Conversation
Current affairs, the client’s industry, sport, music, films, family life (if you client has one) hobbies (the client’s and NOT yours!) Let the client lead this unless they don’t talk. Have some anecdotes up your sleeve. There’s nothing worse than awkward silences.
10) A few Do’s and Don’ts
* Do be charming and witty and polite
* Do go to the local resturant where the staff/owner knows you and will make you look artificially important
* Do arrive before your client — and if you are late say “a journalist kept me on the phone talking about your company and I couldn’t get away”
* Do enjoy it 🙂
* Don’t rush off saying I’ve got to see another client (if you do have to, say it’s a journalist you’re seeing)
* Don’t use your mobile/BlackBerry (if you have to say you’re just checking on something urgent for the client you’re with) If you need to make a call or see the cricket score do it when you go to the toilet.
* If you have to leave your phone on in case another client has to call you, say you have a family crisis and have to leave your phone on just in case.
And if none of the above work you’re on your own. Just blag it.
Is your product or service seasonal? What are the implications of work time/ holiday time/ Spring / Autumn / Valentine’s Day? Be creative….
In the summer – July and August – things are really quiet in the news. In the PR Business we call it the “silly season” – a time when anything can be featured on the news – from ducks quacking in the park to people helping pensioners across the road. This is a good time to do a quirky, unusual press release…
During the build up to Christmas, look out for opportunities to provide your products/ services to your target publications as reader offers. There are hundreds of ongoing competition opportunities throughout the year that you can pitch yourself for.
Don’t forget sale times and special offers.
Do think of topical angles that make your service interesting and newsworthy all around the year!
These are just some of our PR Tips. Ask for our free PR factsheets on our website.
We at CBC have spent a good deal of time over the years on “educating” clients on what a good PR/ Marketing brief is and that the money and time you invest in creating one will be worthwhile in the long-term. A brief is a perfect example of ‘the more you put into it, the more you get out of it’. The clearer the client’s expectations are set out, the easier it will be for an agency to meet the expectations.
The danger comes when key aims are excluded from a brief and you find out a certain way down the line that for reasons outside your control, key stakeholders, partners or customers are working to a different agenda. That’s when you learn painfully that no campaign can realistically achieve its aims when there are two or more briefs! Let’s vote for just the one, but a good one!
So what can we do to make the most of our time? Here are some thoughts from our Team Training on this very subject. We have found that these tips really do save those precious seconds, minutes and hours.
1. When do you feel your best during the day? Schedule your work to suit your state of mind, biorhythms or whatever at different times of the day or week. You could even try this link to check your biorhythms 🙂 : http://www.bio-chart.com/
2. Plan your week first and then your day. It will focus you…
3. Let other people know what your goals are! It’s much more fun…
4. Get small, urgent tasks (e.g dealing with voicemail) out of the way first (they must be urgent!)
5. Divide the principal tasks for the day into achievable blocks of work and tackle them one at a time according to importance/urgency. Ensure tasks are achievable
6. Do not allow work (particularly less important work) to take longer than it should. If ten minutes is all a job is worth, make sure it is done in ten minutes
7. Set realistic deadlines for all your activities and decide whether your deadlines are fixed or flexible
8. With longer-term projects, set interim deadlines, as well as a final deadline. Allow time for contingencies. The longer the project, the more contingency time will be needed!
9. Allocate some time each day to clearing the decks