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Cashflow is the joint biggest area of concern for just over 400 surveyed small business owners, according to Bottomline Technologies’ own research.
Getting money in from unpaid invoices is, along with finding and retaining customers, the joint-most pressing worry for SMBs.
Other worries include lack of investment, staying innovative, too many overheads, not enough resources and motivating staff. One in five entrepreneurs complained of being permanently tired with the stress of running a small business.
Astonishingly, given the complexity and time spent chasing unpaid invoices, just a quarter of small businesses (26 per cent) use no accounting software at all. And nearly one third (30 per cent) of businesses still use standard spreadsheets instead of the raft of accounting software packages available. Of these, QuickBooks is the most popular (14 per cent), followed by Xero (9 per cent) and Sage (7 per cent).
Cash-strapped SMBs, which spend an hour-and-a-half each day chasing late payments, mostly use bank borrowing for cashflow instead of growing their businesses, according to the Federation of Small Businesses.
If they did have the money to invest, 8 out of 10 small businesses (79 per cent) say they would invest in marketing. Indeed, more help with marketing and sales is top of the wish list for small businesses (66 per cent) followed by more investment (52 per cent) and managing cashflow (33 per cent).
Over two thirds of SMBs say acquiring new customers is their top concern, followed by the cost of doing business (52 per cent) and developing an online presence (49 per cent).
Bottomline surveyed 430 small businesses between December 2019 and February 2020. Two thirds of respondents were self-employed, and 103 respondents ran micro-businesses with fewer than 10 employees.
Recent research by Bottomline into the thorny area of late payments shows that 92% of financial decision-makers admit to having paid suppliers late. Sadly, it is not a new trend. If we go back a bit further we see that in 2017, a slow payer ethic emerged as the biggest challenge to getting paid on time. In 2018, the research revealed that a surprising number of financial decision-makers were actively delaying payments as part of their cash management strategy.
One of the most well-loved lines in cinematic history is from the film Jerry Maguire. Picture the scene. Cuba Gooding Jr insists his agent, played by Tom Cruise, repeats the phrase “Show me the money” over and over, at the top of his voice. We are not suggesting you need to do the same for your customers. But here we have some sound financial advice for businesses. After all, until you receive money from a sale then you are at risk of late or non-payment, making it tough for you to manage cash flow.
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