One of the greatest challenges that face most small business today is the ability to raise money to start or grow their business. Making sure that cash flow is properly managed is critical to ensure business growth and sustainability. Lack of funding and bad cash management can easily sink any small business over night.
This is exactly the position that one of NCC suppliers found herself in at the end of 2014. Christine’s Alien Clearing is a small business run by the owner Christine Mdunyelwa. She had just been presented with an opportunity to complete 4 new jobs from the Department of Environmental Affairs and had no means of delivering the job. She required a significant amount of cash to enable her to deliver and not lose the contracts that she had acquired. To make matters worse, her vehicle was in for repairs and she had no money to pay for the required repairs.
NCC saw this as an opportunity to support REAL growth for People, Business and Planet. The key was how to make it REAL and not just providing a quick solution by giving someone a loan. This is how we made it REAL:
1. Business & cash flow assessment
The first thing we did was to understand her business cash flow situation in order to assess how best to help her. It was evident that Christine was mixing personal finances with business finances. So the first lesson she learnt was that business and personal finances must always be separated.
We also helped Christine to cost each job accurately and separately to ensure that the profitability of each job is known. Christine could now easily assess whether she was able to deliver more on a particular job or whether she needed to discuss the impact of additional work with the customer.
Next we assessed her liabilities to understand who she owes money to and her reliance on these suppliers. We arranged for better payment terms and reduced rates in certain products. The better payments terms reduced the immediate need to make payments and allowed her to access the necessary products she required in order to deliver her services. The better pricing on some products just made her project a little more profitable.
Once all this was complete we were in a position to complete a weekly cash flow forecast for the 12 weeks in order to identify what her cash flow requirements would be.
2. Interest Free Loan
Based on the cash flow report the NCC directors agreed to provide Christine with an interest free loan as required. The cash flow also highlighted the way in which the loan was to be repaid.
3. Business Support
For the few months we assisted Christine on a regular basis to assess her financial situation in order to ensure that her projects were still profitable and that she was meeting her cash flow obligations. We supported her with following up with customers to ensure that they paid on time and ensuring that suppliers are happy to provide the required credit needed in order to deliver services.
Christine had made the same mistake most small business owners make and it was rewarding to see her understanding of how to overcome these mistakes and teach her valuable business principles. At the end of our time with Christine she had successfully completed all her projects and repaid NCC and her regular suppliers. We have made a further commitment to assist her with advice whenever she needs and can only hope that she continues to run her business in a manner that support sustainability for her business and her employees. We are proud of the fact that we could support her in providing an opportunity for REAL GROWTH for her BUSINESS so that through this she can create REAL GROWTH for her PEOPLE in order to continue delivering their services which provides REAL GROWTH for our PLANET.