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2013

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How to ensure your small business is fulfilling tax requirements and maximizing cash flow


by Robert Lerose.

 

Every year brings new changes to the tax code that can have an impact on small businesses, and this year is no exception. For example, in 2013, new taxes on Medicare for earned and unearned income will come into play for the first time as part of President Obama's healthcare legislation. Amid the welter of changing regulations, there are some steps almost every business can take to ease the burden of tax planning and keep the cash flow moving in the year ahead.

 

Set aside a fix amount

Being responsible for your own taxes can be an unfamiliar and startling concept for those new to running a business. Some individuals who have been used to having taxes automatically deducted when they were salaried employees may not be prepared for paying quarterly taxes when they make the transition to business owner.

 

Perhaps the most common outcome of this circumstance for business owners is not putting money aside to pay estimated taxes every quarter. "I see this all the time," says Barbara Weltman of Big Ideas for Small Business and author of J.K. Lasser's Small Business Taxes 2013. "They get used to the idea that the money coming in is available to be spent," instead of dividing it accordingly.

 

Putting a fixed percentage of every dollar generated, such as 25 percent, in a separate account to meet ongoing tax obligations is a simple, practical solution. A business may also decide to incorporate to save on their taxes. Choosing the S corporation route lets shareholders pay tax at their personal income tax rate and sidestep the corporate rate.

 

Regardless of the structure a business chooses, keeping good records is essential. Weltman also recommends that small businesses get outside professional help for tax planning and preparation. In addition, small business owners who are knowledgeable themselves about changes in the tax code will be able to make informed decisions.

 

BetterBudget_PQ.jpgFor example, Section 179—which covers deductions on new and used equipment—was expected to be reduced to $25,000 this year. However, due to the recently passed “fiscal cliff” deal—or, more formally, the American Taxpayer Relief Act—the limit was enhanced to $500,000 for both 2013 and, retroactively, for 2012. "There are certain tax provisions that many small business owners might want to take advantage of," Weltman explains. "For instance, if you're a contractor who needs cement mixers and expensive equipment, this might be the time to do it. Section 179 will go to $25,000 in 2014 unless Congress acts."

 

Know your business’s tax needs and opportunities

Getting referrals from trusted sources—such as bankers, attorneys, or other business owners—is a good first step in looking for a tax professional, Weltman says. As with any service provider, each advisor may offer different benefits. For example, John Beidle, the president of St. Louis-based 1040 Wealth Designs, represents taxpayers in front of the IRS. He also says he teaches business owners how to pay the least amount of tax legally possible.

 

Often his first step is to review past returns to understand the unique circumstances of a business before making suggestions. One problem he runs into often is when a business tries to do too many different things as a single business entity without realizing the various tax consequences for each activity.

 

"I run into Internet consultants and software people who might be publishing an ebook or selling an online membership—but they don't realize that they can categorize a percentage of that as passive income," he explains. "I find a lot of missed opportunities for business owners."

 

Besides looking for these hidden opportunities, small business owners can avail themselves of other ways to maximize their cash flow. "The best way is to situate yourself so you're getting paid immediately by taking cash, credit, PayPal, or any other payment form," Weltman says. If you have to invoice, try to get paid in increments as milestones in the transaction are reached. Finally, send invoices electronically and always follow up on late payers. "Accounts receivable are not fine wine," Weltman says. "They don't get better with age."

 

Tax accounting made simple

A little planning and a little discipline is all it takes to make tax planning just a regular part of running a business. Case in point: The Albany Distilling Company, a small micro-distillery that uses mostly New York State agriculture ingredients in the manufacture of its small-batch rum and whiskey products.

 

Founded in March of 2011, the two-man operation took prudent steps from the very beginning to deal with their tax requirements. "We have two accounts: our checking account and our money-to-pay-taxes account," says co-owner John Curtin. "Whenever we make a deposit or do a transaction, we make sure the taxes associated with that transaction immediately go to a separate account. We do not access it other than to pay taxes."

 

In addition to their standard corporate tax, Albany Distilling must also pay quarterly taxes to the federal and state government for the alcohol they produce, and sales tax for items sold in the retail section of their distilling operation—a total of four separate taxes.

 

"It's really important that we keep our tax money untouchable," Curtin explains. "We figure the taxes monthly and set the money aside and pay them when they're due." He and his partner use an accountant to handle their financial chores, freeing them to concentrate on producing product.

 

It's too early to predict sales for 2013, but Curtin hopes his start-up will hit at least $75,000 to $80,000 in revenue by year's end—enough to cover their expenses, including taxes, and a small stiped for living. “It's difficult for me to justify taking any sort of pay at this point because things are so tight." As for his company’s tax strategy, Curtin’s finds keeping it simple is the best approach: "I have no great advice about taxes, except just to pay them," Curtin says. Preferably followed by a stiff drink or two.

 

For further advice on managing taxes, check out the Internal Revenue Service's Self-Employed Individuals Tax Center and Tax Guide for Small Business.

 

Disclaimer: Since the details of your situation are unique, you should always seek the services of a qualified financial planner and tax advisor.

NaturalGas_Body.jpgby Erin McDermott.

 

The next big change for small business may be coming via the utility bill.

 

A surge in domestic natural-gas production is starting to alter some basic business equations across the country. From an office’s monthly overhead to fuels that power transportation fleets to the basic materials for an array of consumer products, a dramatic decrease in U.S. natural-gas prices has many decision-makers rethinking supply chains and the way they work. It has some small business owners starting to consider switching their operations over to natural gas to save money.

 

This shift follows new energy-extraction innovations that have brought previously unreachable U.S. supplies to market. Spots like the Marcellus Formation, which lies beneath New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, contain vast reserves, though estimates of the amount vary greatly. The most controversial of these methods, hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” involves pumping water, sand, and chemicals underground to extract gas embedded in the rock. Critics say the process harms underground water supplies, and threatens human and animal health and the environment.

 

Right or wrong, the amount of natural gas already pulled from the ground has been enough to lead to unprecedented drops in U.S. prices. The frenzy in drilling has caused the wholesale price of natural gas to plummet from $7 or $8 per unit to about $3 in just the past four years, making the fuel cheaper to burn than coal and slashing expenses for its heaviest users.

 

For businesses that own their own structures and heating systems, the draw is growing. While the cost of switching from a heating oil-fired system isn’t inexpensive—removing oil tanks, installing a new furnace and its controls can run into five figures, though rebates for energy-efficiencies soften the blow—the savings on monthly fuel bills may pay off that investment in a few years. (Prices vary in different regions of the U.S., but you can do the math on online calculators offered by utility companies, such as this one.)

 

“There are general economic incentives to do it, but the main incentive is saving money,” says Bruce McDowell, director of policy analysis for the American Gas Association, an industry group. “Industrial users have environmental standards to adhere to, so converting to gas from coal or oil means they can still expand while staying within requirements on emissions.”

 

NaturalGas_PQ.jpgThe U.S. has numerous advantages when it comes to natural gas, asserts John Graves, who wrote a book about the hydraulic fracturing boom. In it he says the U.S. has a built-in infrastructure of pipelines, tankers, as well as a skilled workforce and home-grown technology, that other nations lack. Overseas, as much as 90 percent of drillable land is government-owned; here, Graves says, the higher rate of private land ownership allows for greater access.

 

Natural gas is also a commodity that’s coming at a fraction of the costs in Europe, Russia, China, and elsewhere, and the cheaper energy is already luring manufacturing back to the U.S. from overseas. States like Connecticut are pushing individuals and 75 percent of its businesses to convert to natural gas from oil in the next seven years. Regional transit agencies, port authorities and even Detroit are all in various stages of turning to natural gas.

 

Now small businesses are also starting to make a move, too.

 

Monarch Beverage, an Indianapolis-based wine and beer distributor, made the decision in December to switch 85 percent of its 100-truck fleet to compressed natural gas (CNG) and build an on-site fueling station, at a total cost of $7.6 million. The move will eliminate consumption of an estimated one million gallons of diesel per year, at a savings of 60 percent. It will also allow the company to step away from more volatile oil-market prices.

 

Phil Terry, chief executive of Monarch, says they’re a quarter of the way through the process and so far, so good. He says the idea for the project began after discussions with his VP of operations and their common frustrations with planning for diesel prices, which only seemed to go up for his rigs, which log some six million miles every year. “After Hurricane Katrina, here in the Midwest we really saw how fragile the oil and refinery supply system was,” Terry says. “It was hard to budget for diesel—it was always a gamble on long-term contracts.”

 

“And we were really good about picking the exact wrong time to lock in our prices,” he says, laughing.

 

Monarch became a beta test station for CNG-powered trucks from Cummins, a global engine manufacturer based down the road in Columbus, Ind., and their Canadian natural-gas engine unit, Cummins Westport. The initial worry was the engines wouldn’t be able to deliver the horsepower necessary to pull the beverage-laden vehicles, but Terry says the machinery worked perfectly. Drivers report the trucks are a little quieter and tank structures make turns a bit different, but otherwise it’s been a good transition, he says.

 

Other bonuses: an unexpected subsidy from the federal government for the switch, and an expected greenhouse-gas emissions reduction of 22 percent (Monarch’s dubbing their brews “Indiana’s Greenest Beer.”).

 

Terry says their local-delivery business model is ideal for the CNG fleet because they operate on a back-to-base system, with all trucks coming back to headquarters every day and making them independent from outside infrastructure to gas up. He says other good candidates might be trash haulers, mail and package delivery companies, bottlers, and other ventures with short-range routes. “For long hauls, the natural-gas fuel infrastructure just isn’t there yet,” explains Terry.

 

But that too could change soon, as the country looks to explore greater energy independence from overseas oil suppliers. While taxes vary from state to state and some utilities are locked into scheduled rate structures, lower natural gas prices will likely affect every level of commerce over the long term, Graves says.

 

“It’s going to affect every renter, every small consumer, every business, and will translate to huge savings, says Graves. “It’s going to be an extreme change.”

Guide3.jpgRetirement Insights for Business Owners – Case Study from Merrill Edge

 

Do you think your personal IRA is enough to help you meet your retirement goals? Or are you anticipating retiring on the sale of your business? What about your employees? Are they asking you about retirement plans, and are they saving for their retirement? Have you thought about setting up a plan but you think they're just too costly, and you'd rather just give your employees a bonus?


Click here to learn more about how to maximize your business's value with a workplace retirement plan..

TaxRefund_Body.jpgby Iris Dorbian.

 

A year ago, John Fratrick, owner of J.F. Improvements, a small home repair business based in New Berlin, Wisconsin, had a problem. The rate of gaining new customers for his business, which he had been operating since 1992, had slowed to a mere trickle. And to generate leads, Fratrick was still relying on old-fashioned marketing standbys, such as postcard mailings and ads in the yellow pages. On the plus side, however, he was due to get a small business tax refund.

 

With business at a stalemate, Fratrick attended a webinar on how to increase sales with social media and soon after contacted the speaker, Sonny Ahuja, a web designer and the CEO and founder of an international online perfume retailer, GrandPerfumes.com, for tips on attracting clients.

 

“As I got to know about his business, I advised John to use the [incoming tax refund] to build a better website,” recalls Ahuja. He also suggested that Fratrick launch a Google Adwords campaign to rev up business for J.F. Improvements. (Google Adwords is a program that creates ads and keywords pertinent to your business).

 

Fratrick then asked Ahuja to redesign his site, which he did, charging less than his regular fee. Ahuja also set up the Google campaign, since, as he tells it “most people do it wrong therefore they lose a lot of money without generating any business.”

 

Fast-forward to October 2012. “John had to pause his campaign as he was completely booked until the end of February 2013 from the business he received as a result of his new site and Google Adwords campaign,” says Ahuja, who prefers to funnel his tax refunds into growing or marketing his business. “J.F. Improvements would be still struggling if John had not invested that money into a new approach of lead generation that he was not used to.”

 

TaxRefund_PQ.jpgCertainly, this example is a great case study on how a small business tax refund can be used smartly to boost business. But what are some other ways that a windfall from Uncle Sam can benefit small business owners?

 

Improve promotional/marketing copy

As a small business owner, you know that if you want to promote and grow your business, then marketing is essential. Without leveraging multi-channel resources at your disposal, whether it’s digital and word of mouth marketing, print ads, or TV/radio campaigns, customers and prospects may never learn of your company’s existence. However, if you have a limited budget, it’s imperative to get the most “bang out of your buck.”

 

Nash Haywood, managing partner of Netset Media, a five-year-old web marketing business in Baltimore, Maryland with many small businesses clients, suggests using your refund to hire a copywriter or designer to tweak website or document copy. Haywood says the potential payoff from this tactic, which could run anywhere from $100 to $300 an hour for a one-time fee, should not be underestimated.

 

“Many people get turned off if a business doesn't have a professional looking and sounding identity,” he explains.

 

Add video to your website

Another way of increasing a healthy stream of revenue and prospects to your company is investing in adding video to your website, says Alfred Poor, author of "Power Marketing for Small Business: How You Can Boost Sales with Low-Cost Video."

 

To bolster his point, Poor, who frequently speaks to small business owners about marketing, cites a 2011 study by video hosting platform Brightcove that found a video clip on a website is “53 times more likely to show up on the first page of a Google search.” Also, based on the same study, visitors will spend 344-percent more time on a site with video than one that’s video-free.

 

And for the budget-conscious small business owner, adding video can be a very cost-effective marketing tactic, one that can be covered by even a modest tax refund. “A professional short video can cost $500 or less,” Poor says, “and you don't even have to own a camera or a computer.”

 

Explore direct mail

Yes, this tried-and-true marketing strategy still has plenty of value, particularly if it’s part of an integrated marketing initiative, notes Ahuja.

 

“Many businesses can't afford direct mail anymore so there's less competition now,” he says. “Direct mail has become sexy again. Now the key is to do a multi-step campaign while making sure the ingredients of ‘higher opening rates’ are added.”

 

Start or fund a retirement plan

If you are enjoying a steady and healthy cash flow and have loyal, hard-working staff, then you may want to consider using your small business tax refund to create a new benefit that improves employee retention. Christopher Tasik, managing director of Tasik Financial, a certified financial planning firm based in Stamford, Connecticut that works with many small business owners, says one good use of a tax refund might be “to pay any start-up expenses that might be incurred by establishing a 401(k) plan.”

 

Tasik further adds that if the refund is large enough,“it could also help offset the matching contributions that [small business owners] might need to make if they did a safe harbor plan,” he says. (A safe harbor plan allows employees to contribute part of their salary to a retirement plan, while requiring the employer to contribute matching funds.) “In addition, under certain circumstances the IRS provides for a $500 tax credit (Form 8881, Credit for Small Employer Pension Plan Startup Costs) in each of the first three years of the plan as long as certain requirements are met.”

 

Streamline your accounts receivables

Why adhere to a regimen of sloppy bookkeeping when you can improve your paperwork by using state-of-the-art online accounting software? Haywood strongly advises using software like Freshbooks or Zoho, both of which he says are “perfect for many service-based businesses.” Each software system boasts automated features that can help small business owners “stay on top of cash flow and get paid quicker.” Not only that, but according to Nash, they’re fairly inexpensive, pricing at usually around $200 or so a year.

 

Pay down your debt

Of all the tips offered here, this is one that not only makes the most sense—but also is the most obvious. Start with bills that have the highest interest rate, suggests Tasik. At the same time, “the business owner should also work to develop a cash flow projection-based budget” to avoid paying bills now only to see the same debt appear again in the next few months.

 

For small business owners, getting a tax refund is always a pleasant windfall. But it can be even better if the money is leveraged effectively to improve your business.

 

Disclaimer: Since the details of your situation are unique, you should always seek the services of a qualified financial planner and tax advisor.

ShowMeMoney_Body.jpgby Susan Caminiti.

 

It’s a good bet that at some point in every entrepreneur’s life he or she has heard some variation on the saying, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” But what if the money doesn’t follow, or simply takes too long to arrive?

 

Invoicing clients and customers, and then getting paid in a timely manner, has long vexed small business owners. And yet managing accounts receivable is a critical aspect of any growing business. If this financial necessity is left unattended, it can cause serious cash flow problems.

 

Indeed, a study released last May by the Kauffman Foundation showed that customers paying late or not paying at all were two growing concerns for an increasing number of entrepreneurs. In 2008, at the height of the recession, just two percent of business owners surveyed said getting paid on time was their biggest business challenge. By the end of 2010 that number had grown to 14 percent. To help your company manage its accounts receivable with the least amount of angst, small business experts and owners offer these tips:


Set the terms

Denise O’Berry, a Tampa-based small business consultant and author of Small Business Cash Flow: Strategies for Making Your Business a Financial Success, says the key to getting paid on time begins with setting boundaries for customers and clients. “So many small business owners either don’t ask for any money up front when they’re starting a project or order, or send an invoice that doesn’t have a due date or any other payment terms,” she says. “You have to make it clear from the start what your expectations are and then speak up if they’re not being met.”

 

Zak Normandin started Little Duck Organics, a children’s snack food company, in 2010 out of the basement of his Brooklyn home. Today the company has nine employees who work from offices in a nearby warehouse. Although Little Duck’s products are now sold in about 6,000 retail outlets across the country, including Whole Foods, Normandin says he only invoices five or six different companies in any given month. “Grocery stores work through big distributors and those are the companies we are billing,” he explains.

 

Normandin says he expects payment within 30 days for most of his accounts. However, when one distributor told him that all new vendors had to wait 90 days for payment, Normandin balked. “I can’t run a new business and not get paid for three months,” he says. He explained the situation to his contact at the company and was able to get paid in a much shorter period of time. “It’s important to speak up so customers understand your situation,” he says. “Most people will be reasonable.”

 

Ask for a portion of your fee up front

Being a small business owner doesn’t mean you need to finance your customers’ orders. “Small service businesses often do the work and then bill the customer days or even weeks afterwards,” says O’Berry. “I advise people against that. You’re not their bank.” It’s not unreasonable, she says, to ask for anywhere from 30 percent to 50 percent of your total fee upfront before the work begins.

 

Alex Zaltsman, founder and CEO of Innovi Mobile, a firm that helps large companies develop their mobile technology, requires 50 percent of his company’s quoted fee to be paid before any work begins. “We won’t even start the job until we have this money,” he says. “This ensures that both my company and the client have some skin in the game.”

 

ShowMeMoney_PQ.jpgGet to know the people who pay you

The guy or gal you shake hands with when you land that next big contract or order is most likely not the person who’s going to be cutting your check. That’s why it’s so important to get the name, phone number, and email address for your customer’s accounting staff.

 

“Unless it’s a very small company, the CEO of the firm you’re doing business with is not handling your invoice and most likely isn’t even thinking about it,” says John McAdam, author of The One Hour Business Plan Foundation and a small business consultant. “Getting to know the people in accounts payable department helps make sure your information is in their systems and that your invoices will get paid.”

 

Zaltsman says he always gets contact information for his clients’ accounting staff and calls the week before any final balance is due to make sure his company information is in their computer system. “If I don’t get a call back from the accounting department, I call our business contact at the company,” he adds. The point, he says, is to build a relationship with these people so that you become more than just another bill to be paid. “You want them to associate a person with the invoice.”

 

Skip the paper

With so many online payment systems—from QuickBooks to online invoicing services offered by many banks there’s little reason to use paper invoices, says O’Berry. “It slows everything down,” she says. When working with a new client, she advises calling the accounting department to make sure the billing information you have is correct and to let them know when you’ll be sending your invoice.

 

If your terms are to be paid within 30 days, McAdam recommends making a courtesy call right before that time to double check that your information—bank account number, business name, and address—is correct and in their computer system. “You would not believe how effective that is,” he says. It can mean the difference between your check going out the next day and your invoice just sitting in someone’s in-box, he adds.

 

Know when to walk away

As obvious as it may sound, O’Berry still finds herself occasionally advising clients to stop doing business with customers who simply don’t pay. “I’ll hear a business owner say that even though they haven’t been paid for the past few months, they’re hoping the next month will be different,” she says. “They’re afraid to walk away from the business. It’s just mind-boggling to me. When a customer doesn’t pay you, there is no business.”

PlanningGrowth_Body.jpgAt some point in the growth of your company, you’ll likely need a financial helping hand. You might want to expand, acquire a company, obtain a project that requires more resources than you have, or have some other opportunity too good to pass up. Whether you decide to go to a bank for debt financing in the form of a term loan or are seeking capital from outside investors, there are some common strengths and documents that can make a difference in getting the funding you need.

 

Any business seeking funding needs to have a good hand on its financials and how it is performing relative to other businesses in its industry, says Tom Boyle, CPA, founder of Boyle CPA, PLLC, an accounting firm in Raleigh, North Carolina. Bankers and investors want to see that you understand the cycles of your business, the challenges and opportunities in your sector, and how your business compares to its competition.

 

“You have to know these things inside and out, because the last thing you want to do is present your financials to a lender and not be able to back them up,” he says.

 

Industry benchmarks and research can come from a variety of different places. Trade associations and media are a great place to start. In addition, services like Dun & Bradstreet’s and Hoover’s can give you basic financial and personnel data about companies in various sectors, as well as aggregate industry information. BizStats.com offers basic industry profiles and expense benchmarks in a variety of industries.

 

PlanningGrowth_PQ.jpgBoyle typically likes to present prospective lenders or investors with a 13-month trend report which outlines income and expenses, showing a full year’s cycle. If the year had anomalies, such as a particularly low cash-flow period or high expenditures, he might urge his client to show two or three years to illustrate the business’s earning power and capacity to repay the loan or earn money for investors. Prior to seeking funding, he also counsels business owners to “hoard cash.”

 

“Cash is king. Banks want to lend to really strong, healthy companies, and those aren’t always the companies that need cash,” he says. The more cash you have on hand, the more attractive you become to lenders, he says.

 

A typical loan or investor package will have at least a one-year profit and loss statement, income statement, balance sheet, and other documentation. For example, a professional services firm such as a law firm might have six figures in receivables, so it would show an accounts receivable report, he says. A waste company that just signed a big contract would want to show that, as well, while an apartment complex would show a report on its increase in leased units. Again, Boyle says, the package should be industry-specific and use documentation necessary to show an understanding of growth metrics in the business’s sector.

 

While some believe the package is all about the numbers, and that banking relationships matter less, Boyle says it’s still a good idea to get to know the manager of your bank and develop a friendly business relationship with him or her. While the loan needs to meet underwriting standards within the institution, the bank representative can be a good counselor, shepherding the business through the process and giving advice. A bank representative can also be a good source of contacts and referrals, depending on the industry sector.

 

“To land the capital you need, you need to be able to tell the narrative of your business. Your banker isn’t going to want to see you ‘wing it,’” he says. Winning over a lender means showing your business success story and backing up that presentation with solid numbers and industry benchmarks.

Criticalnumbers_Body.jpgOne of the greatest challenges small business owners face is predicting the future. Insight into trends, spending patterns, and opportunities can help a business move from a reactive mode into a strategic approach that drives growth. However, short of finding a crystal ball that will tell you what’s coming next, how can businesses best predict the future?

 

Often, the answer lies in studying the company’s own history, especially from a financial perspective, says Jeff Liebel, a partner at business advisory firm Counterpoint Consulting in Williamsville, New York. Yet, few businesses do that. According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), only about 5 percent of business owners spend most of their time on finances. Liebel says that the time spent on finances is usually focused on the most immediate demands of the business, such as year-end reporting for taxes, collecting receivables, and paying bills and payroll. To help owners dive into the numbers and get a better understanding of their businesses from a financial perspective, Liebel typically has them work on monthly profit and loss reports.

 

“They need to look at those numbers on a monthly basis and then create a cash budget to understand how the timing of cash is working relative to the cycle of their businesses,” he says.

 

Criticalnumbers_PQ.jpgOnce a business can look back on at least two years of data at such a granular level, patterns and trends begin to emerge, Liebel says. By using a few key numbers or metrics, many businesses can predict certain life-cycle events. One of the most important aspects to examine is how seasonal variations in cash usage play out during the course of the year. Many businesses that aren’t traditional “seasonal businesses” still have seasons when they sell more or need to spend more, he says. When a company needs to fulfill large orders, there is a process leading up to that point. It may include investment in inventory, materials or staff to deliver the customers’ orders or service. However, that investment may not be recouped for many months. Many times, businesses will only consider the cash cycle from the time they sell the product until the time they collect their invoice amounts, he says. But expenses come before revenue. When you examine the whole process, it’s possible to reduce the cash-conversion cycle, improve cash flow, and reduce the need for outside financing.

 

Another important insight that can be gained from examining historical financial data is how to invest capital to best grow the business as well as the most opportune times to do so, says Liebel. Growth opportunities, such as acquiring another business, investing in talent, upgrading equipment, or taking on large, new clients often require significant cash outlay. However, by understanding base operations cost over the past few years, as well as the fluctuations in cash flow and expenses that your business has, you can understand the periods when cash flow is most strained and work on timing expenditures for more flush periods or setting aside cash during those times for opportunities on the horizon.

 

“It’s important to go back and reconstruct what was going on at the time when you examine the numbers to get the whole picture,” he says. “The most important thing is really identifying your ‘E before R.’ What are all of the expenses you’re expending before you start to see revenue?” When you understand how that dynamic works within your business, you’re better positioned to make informed decisions about your company’s growth, he adds.

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