What does my approach to cashflow say about the way I do business?

Cashflow is one of the most important elements of finance; it’s a key indicator of how much money is entering and leaving a business and can sometimes show how you deal with your money, which ultimately has an impact on the way you do business.

What is cashflow?

Cashflow is the net amount of cash, as well as cash equivalents, being transferred into and withdrawn from a company’s bank account. The money received is known as inflows, while the money spent is known as the outflow.

There are positive and negative examples of cashflow – all very important for those with interests in your business. Bad cashflow doesn’t necessarily reflect poorly on how you do business, as it may only be temporary, because good cashflow will balance out the occasions when the bank may not be looking too vibrant.

Positive cashflow is when the cash assets of your business are increasing, it’s when there’s plenty of money in the bank and you are able to operate comfortably.

Negative cashflow means your business is losing money – but it also shows that you may be poor at predicting when your income and expenses will occur.

Why is positive cashflow important?

Being comfortable allows you to settle debts promptly, reinvest in the business, pay outstanding expenses, provide your shareholders with money, and provide a buffer against any unexpected financial challenges, such as the recent coronavirus pandemic.

With positive cashflow, you can commit to doing more as you have the ability to invest and explore options to grow and develop your company.

Positive cashflow is critical for showing people how you do business – it indicates you can manage money well and pay promptly when monies are due.

But beware of having too much money; it may also indicate you aren’t prepared to invest in your business, as you are more worried about what’s in the bank, so don’t let positive cashflow impact your investments negatively.

Why is negative cashflow bad?

It’s still possible to have net profit and negative cashflow, although negative cash flow can make it difficult to grow your business; you have less disposable income to invest in its growth and development.

This may reflect negatively on how you do business – especially to those whose services you may be using – for example a freelance marketing expert.

If you have consistent negative cashflow, and ultimately build a reputation for not paying your invoices on time, because you do not have the cash to do so, this may prevent the best talent from helping your business.

Nobody wishes to work with anybody who is poor with how they manage their money, so it’s worth ensuring your cashflow is in the positive a majority of the time.

Why does a company’s approach to cashflow tell people about how it does business?

People will perceive how a business manages its cashflow in different ways – and that’s okay!

You may also find that cashflow may differ from one industry to the next, especially where greater investment may be concerned for the benefit of long-term profit.

For as long as a business isn’t consistently in the red, there shouldn’t be a major concern to those who are interested in your business.

Interested in learning more about cashflow and why it’s important to your business?

Get in touch with one of our experts today – we’d be happy to help.

 

What happens when someone changes their mind about something they’ve brought?

Changed your mind about something you’ve bought? It’s not as simple as getting your money back, regardless of how expensive an item may be.

Offering a refund on something you’ve purchased from a company is the choice of the seller; it’s up to them whether they offer you anything.

If there’s nothing wrong with what you have bought, it doesn’t need to be refunded.

However, if you think there’s a problem with your purchase, there are steps you can follow to get a refund, but this depends on where you bought the item.

Buying online?

Anything purchased online will automatically come with a 14-day cooling-off period.

Ultimately, this is when you buy something you haven’t seen in person, the cooling-off period allows you to get a refund on the item if it’s not for you. That includes purchases which may have nothing wrong with them too!

The period starts from the day you receive the item, but does exclude bespoke and made-to-measure items.

The cooling-off period doesn’t apply to items that:

  • Can deteriorate quickly, such as flowers or food
  • Is personalised or custom-made, such as printed material
  • Is from a private individual rather than a business
  • A CD, DVD, or software whereby the seal is broken

The above also includes over-the-phone and mail order purchases.

How to use your cooling-off period:

The following steps will help you with how to use your cooling-off period.

Step 1: Tell the seller you don’t want the item within the first 14 days of selling it. Citizens Advice has a templated letter to help you with informing the seller of your decision here.

You may also inform the seller of your decision via phone, but always make a note of the person you speak to with a reference number to the call.

Step 2: Once you’ve informed the seller of your decision to cancel, you then have 14 days to return the item. If you don’t return it within the 14-day period, you may lose your right to return.

Step 3: Keep a document of any correspondence between you and the company until a full return has been made.

What about postage and packaging?

Most items bought online come with standard delivery – it all depends on what memberships you may have and what delivery options you choose.

So, if you request a refund and need to return the item, the seller has to refund the money spent on postage and packaging but only at the standard price.

If you’ve selected express delivery, which is more than standard delivery, you’ll need to pay the difference.

Buying an item from a shop?

We’d recommend you check the shop’s policy on returns before purchasing the item.

Most shops say you can return an item within 14, 30, and occasionally more days for as long as they haven’t been used. It’s not a legal requirement, but it’s always good to check.

Even if you couldn’t check or try an item before purchasing, your rights remain the same on returns.

Always get a receipt for any items you buy within a shop too. There is a higher likelihood you’ll get a refund on items with the original receipt. You may find the return’s policy for the company is written in the receipt too.

Bought something from a business based outside of the UK?

If you’ve bought something from abroad, your rights may be different. Always check the terms and conditions of the seller before purchasing anything from them.

It’s worthwhile exploring whether you’ll receive a refund on the delivery cost, too, as the rules around this may be different to Great Britain.

For more information about where you and your clients stand when it comes to returning something, they’ve bought, get in touch with us today.

What are the benefits of outsourcing HR for my business?

Effective Human Resources is important for everyone, whatever the size of your business.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to know where to start, especially if you’re looking at managing your HR in-house.

But managing HR internally can be complex and arduous – particularly when issues arise with people in the business – so outsourcing this key function of your company is often a favourable move.

But where does one begin when outsourcing their HR? What are the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing HR? How can you protect your company’s reputation while outsourcing HR?

Human Resources covers many separate components, from recruitment and giving legal advice to managers, to payroll, conducting disciplinaries and more. There’s plenty to think about.

Outsourcing is all about entrusting a HR expert to cover the key areas of this business function to ensure you’re doing everything fairly, legally and responsibly.

Nonetheless, outsourcing does present its advantages and disadvantages, so let’s explore the positives first:

Outsourcing HR will give you access to skills and knowledge: Using an experienced HR specialist will provide you with much more than you may already know.

You’ll have peace of mind the relevant processes and procedures for any HR matter is being adhered to.

Outsourcing HR will help make your business more efficient: An HR service professional will know what they’re talking about, so you’ll be able to identify and rectify issues more swiftly.

Instead of worrying about the HR for your business, someone else can focus on any matter allowing you more time to focus on the growth of your company.

Outsourcing HR will help reduce costs: Instead of employing an HR expert which will cost your business more, outsourcing the service may have a substantial impact on how much less you spend on HR.

There are plenty of positives for outsourcing HR for your business, although you should beware of the potential disadvantages. Here are a few:

Outsourcing HR can be impersonal: Effectively, you’re asking a stranger to deal with your people issues.

This impersonal experience may have an effect on the reputation you have with employees.

Dealing with HR issues from a distance may limit its effectiveness: As the HR professional you’re using is likely to be working away from your business, their work may be less effective compared to if they were working within the business.

Protect your reputation with having clear HR processes. Whether you achieve this by outsourcing HR, or you’re looking to manage it yourself, speak to us for advice on doing what’s right for you and your team.  

How can I maintain my business reputation when outsourcing services?

The reputation of your business matters. It matters most to your growth and development; if you have a poor reputation in the eyes of clients and prospective customers, you’ll struggle to progress from where you’re currently at.  

But while juggling the busy life of running a business, along with all the other things which may be on your plate, you may look at using the services of an expert to support you with some key business functions.

We’re talking about outsourcing the likes of HR, marketing, accountancy, sales and more.

So, when you find yourself outsourcing key functions of your business, how can you maintain your reputation when it’s somebody else doing the work on your behalf?

In a nutshell, it’s down to ensuring that you carry out ‘due diligence’ – the process of getting hold of all the material information you need in order to make an informed decision.

We’ve listed five questions to ask yourself to help ensure that your outsourcing partner service is not going to damage YOUR business’s reputation.

Do the people behind the company you’re outsourcing to understand you?

Before agreeing to outsource a key service, it’s important that your provider knows about your business’s short, medium, and long-term goals.

With this knowledge, they can ensure that every action they complete is aligned to your business strategy and, if it isn’t, they shouldn’t be doing it.

Sometimes, involving your team (that’s if you have one) in this process can be hugely valuable as their opinion may help your decision making.

Do you understand them?

We’re not talking about knowing everything about them, such as the names of their family or what their favourite food may be, but about whether you understand why they do the job that they do.

Outsourcing is, ultimately, trusting someone to do something for your business that you would be unable to do for yourself and / or do it in a better way. Be sure to understand why the person you’re outsourcing to does what they do, and always check they know what they’re talking about.

Are they experienced in doing what they’re going to do for you?

While we’re touching on ensuring someone knows what they’re talking about, ask for a portfolio of evidence that demonstrates the person you’re outsourcing to has already done what you are asking of them.

It’s no good outsourcing your marketing to someone who has zero experience in this area. Their success stories, and the testimonials off the back of this, will help inform your decision on whether they’re a good match for you.

Beware – people are very good about talking about themselves when they are selling their services to you. Don’t be taken in by them telling you what you want to hear, and ensure you get your questions answered in a comprehensive way.

A demonstratable knowledge of a particular subject, which comes with experience, should be evident in a company selling a quality outsourced service.

How do they compare to their competitors?

Many companies fail to conduct competitor analysis. When looking to outsource a key function of your business, it’s important to compare the market. You need to find the partner that works best for you.

For example, if you’re looking to outsource your company’s HR with an HR expert, take time to look at what their competitors may say too. This will not only help you to identify key elements of their services, but also provide you with the confidence that you’ve chosen the right partner.

Are they trusted by others?

Testimonials and case studies are everything. Without these, you’re leading into an outsourcing partnership blind.

Before agreeing to outsource, ensure that your provider is trusted by others and, even better, trusted by others in the same sector as you.

For more information and support about outsourcing – and to ensure you’re continually protecting your reputation – get in touch with our team today.

Nothing’s broken yet, but it may be too early to tell…

It has been a month since David Lowe took over Crimson Crab as Director after Rob and Wendy Briggs announced their retirement, so here’s what he has to say now he’s feeling a little more settled.

I’m delighted with how the first month has gone at Crimson Crab, and I don’t think that I’ve broken anything yet, but it might be too early to tell.

Over the last several weeks, Rob has been distilling his 10 years of accumulated knowledge into the squidgy object that passes for my brain.

It’s been a steep learning curve and my mind is spinning. This isn’t because Crimson Crab’s operations are complex (they’re not, they’re commendably simple, even though the subject matter that we deal with sometimes can be), it’s because there’s just so much of it.

As an example, the F2 Business Huddle doesn’t just happen by itself and I’m beginning to appreciate just what a slick operation Wendy and Rob have built up.

The last thirty or so days have then been an odd mixture of relishing the challenge of taking Crimson Crab forward, tempered with the knowledge that I’ve got a tough act to follow.

I’m getting a sense of what the company is about and also how we might in future be able to offer our clients more of the things that they need.

A couple of new ideas are presenting themselves and over the next few months I’ll be exploring whether they’ll resonate… I’m excited to share these with you.

On a personal note, it’s probably fair to say that I’ve been a little distracted during September.

A group of us made an attempt to get my friend who suffers from Motor Neurone Disease (and his purpose-built wheelchair) to the top of Mount Snowdon.

It wasn’t a total success, as the wheels on the chair buckled about ¾ of the way up, but we managed to get 43 of the 47 participants to the summit.

If you’d like to see in 8 minutes what was for most people 7 or 8 hours’ worth of effort, please follow the link at The Ascent – YouTube

Finally, I’d like to say a big thank you to Wendy and Rob for entrusting me with their baby.

I’ll always give my best efforts to maintain the standards and expectations that you’ve set for Crimson Crab and I’m confident we’ll continue to give the community that’s been built up around it the ongoing high levels of service and attention they deserve.