How to Increase Cash Flow in a Small Business

Investigate your businesses current cash flow

We have put together 20 cost saving tips that any type of small business can use to help improve their cash flow. It’s not as hard as you think to shave 10-20% off your business costs.

First look at your accounts to get a clear idea of where your money is being spent and how much your business needs to save.

Review your business assets

Look at your business assets, evaluate if they are still relevant to your business. Clearing assets help cut costs and you don't need will cut the cost of your business insurance.

Coworking spaces

If you rent office space, look at renegotiating your lease. If you are not using all the space you have, think of renting part of your office out will help you cut the cost of rent. Coworking spaces are fast becoming popular with small businesses, consider utilising these or setting up your own premises and sharing office space with other businesses.

Go green to cut energy costs

Save the environment and increase cash flow- Go Green - use energy saving lighting and insulate your office to cut energy bills. Set a policy to turn off all electrical equipment if unused. Don't forget to shop around for a cheaper energy provider! 

Eliminate redundant technology

Time for your fax machine to go. It's slowly becoming redundant as technology allows businesses to fax from computers - thus also saving you the cost of fax paper!

Go paper free

Go paper-free. It isn't necessary to use so much paper. Emails can be sent instead of letters; documents can be created as PDFs and emailed - as can invoices. If you make paper copies available only on request, you won't upset any customers either.

Office equipment

You may not need to buy your business equipment new - you could simply invest in second-hand office equipment, furniture etc. You can insure office equipment on our office insurance policy so if it gets broken, you won't be liable for the cost of a replacement.

Working from home

Cut the cost of office space completely. Could your business operate effectively with staff telecommuting and working from home? If so, this could literally save your business thousands.

Check your business stock levels

Are you over-stocking? Look at your product lines, if they aren't generating a worthy profit margin, it may be time to cut your losses by liquidating the stock. It will free up some storage space as well as cash flow you can reinvest into your business.

Shop around

Your customers do, so why don't you? Shop around for lower cost storage for your stock. Or renegotiate.

Keep an eye on the competition

Keep your eye on what your competitors are charging, especially locally. You don't want to be losing business because you are overcharging; or income because you are undercharging.

Early pay discounts

While most would advise you to hold on to your cash for as long as possible, you could be saving your business quite a bit if you pay early and take advantage of early payment discounts.

Late payments

Charge interest to those who choose to pay your business late. You are entitled to claim interest at 8% above the Bank of England's base rate after 30 days, when an invoice is deemed late, as per the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998. Be weary that other businesses can do this to you too. Make sure you're on top of what you owe.

Your employees

A good way to improve overall cash flow is to consider recruiting interns. In this economic climate there are plenty of people looking to get their foot on the job ladder, rather than remaining unemployed on the sofa, they are willing to gain valuable work experience through internships. Paying for travel expenses can be much cheaper than a wage.

Speak to your account

Make sure that if your taxable income is less than the previous year you don't pay tax based on that figure. Speak to your accountant, they'll give you plenty of advice on how to improve cash flow in a small business.

Business trade exchange

Join a business trade exchange, these can help you to reduce your operating costs, expand your customer base, improve your cash flow and increase your profits.

Cut the cost of travel

Cut travel expenses by holding web conferences or having Skype calls which will also help lower your business' carbon footprint.

Always think of the COST. If you have to hire a new member of staff will your sales increase? If you get a new piece of equipment will your productivity increase? If the answer is no - don't do it just yet!

Business insurance from Towergate

Whether you’re a large business, SME or sole trader, work from home or have a property empire - Towergate have got an insurance policy for you. For more information, visit our dedicated business insurance page.

About the author

Mike Stephens is a respected senior industry professional and Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) with well over 40 years’ varied experience in the commercial insurance sector as a director, underwriter, and operational improvement manager.