If you have a busy service business or private practice, chances are you also have pockets of cash lying around available for the plucking. It simply hasn’t been collected yet, and may even have been overlooked. Here are 10 ways to increase the cash flow of your business over the next 30 days:
Collect at the Time of Service
Include in your upfront discussions your expectations on payments. Establish that you are paid at the time of service. For services where payment plans are appropriate (for example, payments at key milestones), be clear from the start as to your expectations, then include them as part of your written agreement.
Step-Up Your Invoicing
There is really no reason to wait until the end of the month to bill, or for that matter, the end of the week. Get your invoice into the mail the day you provide the service. That includes insurance billings.
Follow-Up on Late Payments
Clients can get into the habit of paying late 30, 60 or even 90 days if they know that you will tolerate it.
Outsource Delinquent Payments
Payments that are overdue by 90 days are more than just late . They are delinquent. Outsource these receivables and don t let them occur again.
Follow-Up on Potential Appointments
Do you have clients who intend to schedule an appointment but haven t called yet to do so? Perhaps they left your last meeting with a sincere intention to call back, or maybe whenever you see them they say I’ve been meaning to call Call them now and get them on your appointment schedule.
Finish the Project or Service
Sometimes, all that s between you and a check is finishing the project, mailing the report, getting the signature or conducting that last routine visit so you can bill for it.
Re-Visit Your Appointment Scheduling Procedures
If you are one of those offices that routinely schedules the next appointment two weeks to four weeks away why? Eliminate time lapses. If you can handle everything in one visit and if there is no good reason for not doing so do it. If you need to have two or more separate appointments to finish providing the service, schedule them as close together as possible. It will keep the momentum going with the project and make your billing date sooner.
Handle Appeals and Requests for Reviews Weekly
Sure, these things take time and talent to handle properly, but putting them off for weeks just delays your income from a service that’s already been provided.
Retainers, down-payments or other forms of upfront payments can boost your cash flow while securing a real commitment from your client to follow-through with the full service to which they have agreed. And don t forget to collect your co-pays at the time of service.
Promote Your Products
If you have a product that you make available to your clients, don t keep it a secret. Display it, talk about it, recommend it and, where appropriate, use or demonstrate its use during the visit. This goes for everything from dental care kits to nutritional supplements, to office supplies, special workbooks, kits, tools, books, forms or any other product that you sell.
Tighten Your Financial Policies
Use these ways to increase your cash flow, and while you are at it, go ahead and tighten your financial policies so that these things become the norm. Pockets of cash lying around don t add to your bottom line. You have to pick them up in order to count them in or to spend them.
Dianne E. Dawson, M.A., has worked with business owners worldwide to develop and implement strategies to bring in new clients and to increase business profitability. She works with self-employed professionals who believe that their private practice has reached a plateau it s stuck! and they don’t know what to do to move things forward for greater profits and financial reward.