Keep the Cash Flowing: Publisher Strategies for Financial Stability

May 1998
by Robert C. Brenner, MSEE, MSSM

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As economic problems surface, buyers start pulling in their financial belts an additional notch. They start resisting the urge to spend. And they begin to delay payments. For the small independent publisher, cash is king, but getting customers to let go of cash can be increasingly difficult when times get tough. Nevertheless, maintaining a continuous flow of cash is critical to the health of every small business.

How Cash Flow Affects Your Business

By “cash flow” I refer to income that remains after deducting wages, rent, and other expenses. It’s what you have left in cash after you write all those payment checks. When there’s a slow down the in-flow of money for these necessities, your operations can grind to a crawl. Without cash, you cannot operate. You can’t pay salaries, purchase that next print run, or fund that new marketing plan. Yet if you can generate good cash flow, your company can thrive. Cash not only pays the bills, it is a strategic tool for growth. When sales cycles stretch, available cash gets squeezed. Large sales can take months to book, constricting cash flow. Short, quickly-paid sales can provide cash flow spurts, but you need more of these sales to cover your expenses and to generate sufficient gross profit. Here are strategies and tactics to help you keep the cash spigot open as you deal with a chaotic business environment. They represent food for thought and a fatter checkbook.

Working toward Better Cash Flow

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