Whether you’re totally focused and dedicated or approach work as a way to fund your life, fun and hobbies, we all can get trapped by the beast of procrastination. Unfortunately, procrastination is a monster you must slay if you want to see an increase in your cash flow and income.
So how do you deal with the pull to do something, anything other than those dull business tasks that nonetheless prove to be really important to your long term success?
Here are some tried and true, no-nonsense ways to pick up that sword and start swinging on things that might not sound like they’re directly related to your business but will help you be more focused and more efficient in the coming months:
Don’t put off car repairs that can leave you stranded
You rely on your vehicle for more than you think. Maybe you’ve noticed when your car is in the shop, it’s not just your personal life that gets put on hold. Without a car, everything comes to a halt. You can’t meet with clients, but you also can’t run to the grocery store to pick up lunch for your kids. Without a car, you’ll spend extra time coordinating rides to run personal errands which means having less time to work on your business.
Car repairs can be expensive, but should never be put off. If you’re short on cash, consider a loan to get back on the road. You don’t need to take on massive debt to finance a new car, and your repairs don’t need to be massive to justify a loan. It’s okay to use an auto repair loan to replace your tires, get a new transmission, new brakes, or to fix damage after an accident. Any repair keeping you from being independent is worth fixing.
Practice invoice aging to manage existing cash flow
Invoice aging is when you pay your invoices later than they arrive, usually on a 30-day or 60-day cycle. For example, when you receive an invoice due for $3,500, don’t pay it immediately. Schedule the payment for 30 or 60 days from the date you received it. Why? Say your business bank account earns 2.5% interest on a daily basis. If you can hang onto that $3,500 for 30 days, you’ll earn $87.50/day in interest. That’s $2,625 earned in a month, and $5,250 in two months.
Be aware that your clients will probably be doing the same thing, which is why the next point – managing your finances daily – is crucial.
Track your finances on a daily basis
Do you know how much money you expect to have in your business bank account on the fifth of next month? If not, you should.
Increasing your cash flow requires tracking your finances more than once a month. Your cash in and out will vary throughout the month. If you don’t stay on top of daily reality, you could find yourself in unexpected debt. For example, say you’re expecting three invoices to be paid on the 5th of the month for a total of $7,000. Your clients might not pay you on time. If you’re relying on that $7,000 to be available for paying bills on the 6th of the month, and just one client is late, you’re in trouble.
The only way you can mitigate this is to create a system that projects your expected income and expenses for every day of the month. Whether you use Excel or financial accounting software, you need to see your expected bank balance for each day based on your expected income and expenses.
A system that shows you your expected bank balance for each day of the month will tell you that you’re going to be in the red on the 6th. Every day then becomes an opportunity to generate more income and you won’t be surprised by an overdraft.
Cut unnecessary expenses and downgrade necessary expenses
Some expenses are unnecessary. Do you really need a monthly subscription to razors? It’s a brilliant idea for the razor business. It’s not a brilliant idea if you’re trying to increase your cash flow. Think about it. If you spend $25/month on razors, you’re probably collecting a few unused blades here and there. Or, you might be tossing old blades that still have life left in them because you’re getting a steady supply of new blades. If either of those scenarios are true, you don’t actually need a razor subscription. So, cut it – pun intended.
The same logic applies to any subscription service you have in your personal or business life. If you can’t cancel a service completely, find out if you can downgrade. For example, if you’re not taking advantage of advanced email marketing features offered by Hubspot, there’s no reason to pay $800 each month for the service. Use a cheaper service like Mailchimp until you’re ready to use the advanced options. If you’re using Infusionsoft and paying for 50 users when you only need one, downgrade your plan immediately.
Ending procrastination is the only option when you’re serious about your business. It’s time to leave it behind. Don’t think about it – just do it.