How clinic owners can budget better

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Cashflow management is one of the most important skills for clinic owners, indeed all entrepreneurs, to master. When your business is ticking over nicely, you can keep spending focused on the right areas. And if things are getting tight, limiting expenditure could keep you in the black.

Here are just a few areas of your business that you can focus on:

REVIEW YOUR SUPPLIERS REGULARLY

Always stick to the golden rule of purchasing: get three quotes for anything you buy. Some of the most rewarding savings can come from reviewing products or services you purchase monthly. Reassess these about once a year as you need to be wary of your suppliers increasing their prices without you noticing. In particular, the value for money offered by services like mobile phones and broadband can fall because suppliers tend to keep existing customers on outdated plans. Once you’ve done your research, give existing suppliers the chance to negotiate. They may be flexible in order to keep your business

MAP YOUR CASHFLOW PATTERNS

Work out your monthly cash needs and watch the numbers month-to-month, then make any adjustments using real data. Knowing your cash flow pattern can help you put together sales and revenue forecasts, and anticipate what your receivables and payables will look like so you can plan accordingly. Being able to anticipate your cash flow will also help you make any necessary adjustments before things get out of hand. You don’t want to end up with too much cash on hand that could be working for you or, of course, too little.

REVIEW YOUR STAFFING LEVELS

Although reviewing staffing is a sensitive area, it can deliver the biggest gains in cost and efficiency – even when your business is growing.

As businesses evolve it may not be necessary to replace a member of staff when they leave, Instead, it can be a good opportunity to review what their role really involved and adapt accordingly. Can other employees refocus to share the most important tasks? Can you hire a more junior person to handle the team’s remaining work? This strategy can help your staff optimise their work and when you give them the confidence to say ‘these are the really important things’, your workforce will soon be working at maximum productivity.

GET THE RIGHT KIND OF LOAN

If you’re going to borrow, do your homework. There are many options available, and some can be more harmful to your business than helpful. Educate yourself about ‘quick fix’ products like payday loans, alternative lenders, and cash advances. Steer clear of loans that penalize you for paying them back early.

If and when you have to borrow money to grow, take the least amount you can to meet your objective. Make sure you can handle the payments on that loan before you take any more, or you will find yourself, at best, in a vicious cycle, and at worst, defaulting and going out of business. Borrowing and paying back smaller amounts will also help your credit rating, allowing you to qualify for lower interest rates in the future.

SAVE WHERE YOU CAN:

  • There’s only one way to find out where your money gets spent – go through your costs line-by-line and you’ll be surprised at where you can cut down.
  • In addition to keeping your operation as lean as possible, take advantage of money-saving opportunities whenever possible. Some suppliers offer discounts for paying invoices early. If your cash flow can handle it, you could save a few percent, which adds up.
  • If your business doesn’t rely on state-of-the-art equipment, buy quality used products. Refurbished computers and electronic goods usually have the same warranty as new, but cost a fraction of the price. Used office furniture is also a bargain.
  • Get a business credit card that comes with some kind of rebate or points program so there’s an additional benefit to making purchases with it. Make sure that the card’s interest rate and other fees are competitive, and plan on paying off your balance each month. Only make purchases you need and can pay for, and remember to keep your business and personal spending completely separate.
  • If you are renting your premises and coming to the end of your contract, try negotiating with your landlord to get a better rate. This may well be an attractive prospect to your landlord rather than you moving out and having the hassle of finding a new tenant.
  • Business travel is another area ripe for savings. Lead by example, and make it clear what level of expenses is acceptable. When you travel, how you travel and where you stay all have an impact on your bottom line.

GET PAID BY YOUR CUSTOMERS

Sounds obvious but be sure to keep proper records, send invoices out in a timely manner, and stay on top of your what’s coming in. Many small business owners are surprisingly lax about the paperwork involved with being paid for doing what they do.