A cash flow problem arises when a business struggles to pay its debts as at when due.
It should be noted that a cash flow problem is not the same as experiencing a cash outflow. A business often experiences a net cash outflow, for example when making a large payment for raw materials, new equipment or where there is a periodically drop in demand.
However, when cash flow is consistently negative and the business uses up its cash balances then the problem becomes serious!
The principal causes of cash flow problems are:
#1- Low profits or (worse) losses:
There is a direct link between low profits or losses and cash flow problems. Most loss-making businesses eventually run out of cash. They end up ultimately in cash flow problems and eventually shut down.
#2- Over-investment in-capacity building:
This happens when a business spends too much on production capacity. Factory equipment which is not being used does not generate revenues. This is a waste of cash or investment!
#3- Too much stock:
Holding too much stock ties up cash and there is an increased risk that stocks become obsolete and drops in value or out of vogue. Eventually, they can not be sold.
#4- Allowing customers too much credit:
Customers who buy on credit are called “trade debtors” Offering credit to customers is a good way to build revenue, but late payment is a common problem and slow-paying customers put a strain on cash flow.
There must be a clear understanding of payment terms and conditions to be strictly managed else cash problems are inevitable.
#5- Over-trading (growing too fast):
This occurs where a business expands too quickly, putting pressure on short-term finance. For example, a retail chain might try to open too many stores too quickly before each starts to generate profits.
#6- Seasonal Demand:
Predictable changes in seasonal demand create cash flow problems – but because they are expected, a business should be able to handle them.
In conclusion, your ability to manage your cash flow is germane to the success and the survival of your business ventures.
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