Common Cash Flow Problems in Small Businesses

Common Cash Flow Problems in Small Businesses

Common Cash Flow Problems in Small Businesses

Recognising and Solving Common Cash Flow Problems in Small Businesses


Cash flow is one of the most crucial aspects of any business, regardless of size. Unfortunately, small businesses often run into cash flow issues that can put them in a difficult spot. As a business owner, it’s important to be aware of these. Here are common cash flow problems in small businesses. 



Late Payments from Customers

One of the most common cash flow issues faced by small businesses is late payments from customers. It can be challenging for small businesses to collect payment from their clients on time and this can cause a significant disruption to their cash flow. To mitigate this problem, it’s important for small businesses to set up an effective invoicing process as well as establish clear payment terms with their customers upfront. Additionally, sending out automated reminders to customers when they are past due is also helpful in ensuring prompt payments.   

Can you get your clients to set up Direct Debits so you can auto-charge them at appropriate intervals?  Can you get a deposit or advanced payment of some kind?


Seasonality Effects

Small businesses that operate within certain industries—such as retail or hospitality—are likely to experience seasonal trends throughout the year that can make it difficult for them to maintain consistent cash flow throughout the year. To combat this challenge, small business owners should plan ahead and consider ways they can reduce spending during slow seasons while making sure they have enough capital available when demand increases during peak periods. Additionally, forecasting sales revenues ahead of time based on historical data will help businesses prepare financially for seasonal changes.


Over-investing in Inventory or Premises

Over-investing in inventory or premises can also cause cash flow problems for small businesses if not done carefully because these investments require large amounts of capital upfront which could strain a company’s finances if not planned properly. Business owners should always do their due diligence when investing in assets such as inventory or premises and consider ways they can finance these investments without putting too much strain on their cash flow—such as taking out a loan or utilising an invoice finance solution like asset-based lending (ABL). 


Cash flow issues are common among small businesses but proper planning and foresight can go a long way towards helping them avoid these problems altogether. By being aware of the common causes of cash flow disruptions such as late payments from customers, seasonality effects, and over-investing in inventory or premises, you will be better equipped to recognise potential issues before they become serious concerns and find appropriate solutions that work best for your particular situation. With the right strategies in place, you will be able to keep your business’s financial health intact even during challenging times.


If you have not already, I highly recommend reading Profit First by Mike Michalowicz, you can get a copy of the core chapters in PDF here (for free!)



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About the Author

Annette Ferguson 

Owner of Annette & Co. - Chartered Accountants & Certified Profit First Professionals. Helping online service-based entrepreneurs find clarity in their numbers, increase wealth and have more money in their pockets.

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