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How Do I Manage Business Cashflow?

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Keeping a tight control of your cashflow is the single most important thing you can do when running a business; particularly when you are just starting out. All companies need cash to survive – and thrive – and meeting your financial obligations and having money to invest in opportunities is critical. But how do you manage your cashflow properly, and what are the best methods of doing so? We’re going to reveal all in our guide to managing cashflow – read on to find out everything you need to know.

What is cashflow?

Understanding cashflow is the first thing you need to do if you want to know how to manage it properly. Cashflow is the amount of money that comes in and goes out of our business, and you need to track it on your cashflow statement. A positive cashflow is the ideal, as it means you have more money coming into your business than leaving it, although many startups will usually have a negative cashflow – which means there is more money going out of your business. However, having a positive cashflow doesn’t necessarily say that you are turning a profit, as that money coming into your business could also include borrowing.

Working out a benchmark

So, when it comes to managing your cashflow, the first important step is to work out a reference point – or breakeven point. It’s this point where your business becomes profitable, and it’s an important goal to set for any new business. Not only will it help you achieve a level of safety for your business, but this benchmark or breakeven point is also a way of predicting your cashflow in the future, and can help with your financial planning. The general rules of cashflow are relatively straightforward: know where you are at right now; know where you will be in six months time. You can’t possibly know either of these if you don’t work out your breakeven point first.

Getting paid

Having access to cash is vital for your business, so it’s important to ensure you are getting what you are due as fast as possible. In the vast majority of cases, this task involves getting money from clients and customers. According to research, the average customer pays around two weeks late, so it’s easy to see where many of your problems might arise from. Never invoice people and then leave them to it – remind them regularly and be proactive in chasing them up. You can sue automatic emails at regular intervals before a due date, and if that time passes with no payment, you can also consider imposing late payment fees. Don’t be afraid of chasing money – you have a right to be paid for your work, and the longer a customer leaves it, the more exposure your business will have to risk.

Paying others

Of course, the money that goes out of your business also has an impact on your cashflow, And whereas you should be encouraging your customers to pay straight away, you should be avoiding paying your suppliers and other payables for as long as possible. We’re not suggesting missing deadlines, of course, as that will attract fines. But by establishing longer credit terms – changing a 60-day payment to a 90-day, for example – and you will find that your cash flow improves by a significant amount.

Quick turnover

If your business buys inventory, it’s vital to ensure that you are making sensible decisions about how you buy, store, and manage it. Don’t forget, everything you buy will impact on your cashflow, as it ties up valuable money that you can’t use for meeting your financial obligations or investing in improvements. The fundamental principle of inventory management is to order stock in quantities that you can sell on quickly, without impacting your sales with out of stock issues. It’s a tricky balance to strike, but absolutely essential if you don’t want your cash tied up in inventory that lingers around your business for months on end.

Build reserves

At some point in time, all businesses will experience periods of a shortfall when it comes to cashflow. And one of the best ways of protecting against such occasions is to ensure that you have some reserves put aside – emergency savings if you like. Of course, this can be difficult to achieve when you are just starting out, but it’s something you need to consider if you want to avoid potentially dangerous financial situations arising.

Borrowing

Borrowing money for your business is a great way of improving your cashflow, but bear in mind that you have to counter this by being able to turn a profit. Look at something like a cashflow loan if you need to fund a new marketing campaign that can pretty much guarantee results. While these types of loans can be expensive if you don’t pay them back on time, the funding they deliver can help you achieve your goals far more quickly than saving a little each month and raising them yourself. Small business loans are also an interesting idea, and as long as you research the market and get the lowest interest possible, they can provide you with vital funding to help you pay for your growth strategies.

Boost sales to current customers

Acquiring new customers is an expensive task, both regarding resources and money. So, if you want to increase sales to improve your cashflow, you are far better off trying to sell more to your current customers. Research suggests it is up to six times cheaper to sell to old clients, so it’s easy to see how much value it can bring to your business. Look at what people are buying, and spend some time analyzing their shopping habits. Is there a way of enticing them back with discounts or better deals? However, one thing to bear in mind is that you have to focus on getting money quickly – don’t allow your credit out to build up, or it will just cause you further cashflow issues. The idea here is to make money, not increase your accounts receivable.

Additional Resources

10 Tips for Better Managing Cash Flow
Running a Small Business? Stay Ahead of Cash Flow Woes with These 5 Tips

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Finance

What You Ought to Know About Quant Traders

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Quantitative trading is an area of quantitative finance that is highly sophisticated. This article introduces some of the basics of a quantitative trading system and the necessary background to become a qualified quantitative trader.

What is Quantitative Trading?

Quantitative trading or quant trading is a type of trading that uses quantitative analysis as the basic strategy to identify trading profit possibility, including mathematical calculations. The most common data inputs in the quantitative analysis are price and volume.

Transactions involved in quant trading are usually large, which includes the sale and purchase of hundred or even thousands of shares and securities. This is because quantitative trading is typically practiced in the financial institutions.

The four primary components of a quantitative trading system include:

  • Strategy identification
  • Backtesting strategy
  • Execution system
  • Risk management

What Does a Quant Trader do?

Quantitative traders, also known as quants, utilize modern technology, comprehensive databases, numbers and mathematics to derive a logical trading decision. Using mathematical models, quantitative traders then identify trading opportunities.

Quant traders research the available price and data from the enormous amount of data in algorithm trading and high-frequency trading, find profitable trading opportunities, create relevant strategies, and grab the opportunity faster with the help of computer programs.

Generally, quant traders need an in-depth understanding and knowledge of mathematics, possess computer skills, and have some exposure to trading.

Technical Background of a Quant Trader

To become a full-fledged quant trader, one needs to have the following professional background:

  • Great with numbers: Quant traders must be excellent with numbers and quantitative analysis. An in-depth understanding of mathematics is required to carry out trading activities such as data researching, results testing, development, and implementation of trade strategies.
  • Educated in a relevant course and training: Studies involving theoretical concepts and the introduction to quantitative trading provide a better background for quant traders. This may include a master’s degree or a diploma involving financial engineering, quantitative financial modeling, or any course with electives in quantitative.
  • Armed with unique trading strategies: Quant traders should have in-depth knowledge about common trading strategies and have the ability to develop their unique trading strategy.
  • Possess programming skills: Quant traders should know at least one programming language such as Python, Java, C++, or Perl. They also need to have knowledge about automated trading, data mining, analysis, and research, which are usually involved in algorithmic trading and high-frequency trading.
  • Familiar with the computers: Quant traders need to be familiar with analysis software, spreadsheets, and broker trading. Also, they should be able to develop their algorithms on real-time data.

Soft Skills of a Quant Trader

Besides the above-mentioned technical skills, quant traders need to possess the following soft skills:

  • The spirit of a trader: Successful traders will brainstorm innovative trading ideas, can take on a massive volume of data, quickly adapt to the ever-changing trading market and can work on extended hours.
  • Able to take risks: Quant traders are risk-takers that understand the impact of risk, its management, and mitigation techniques.
  • Accept failure: Although the developed strategy may seem foolproof, failure is sometimes inevitable. Quant traders must always be ready to accept defeat, willing to let go of their concepts and develop a new one.

Becoming a quant trader may seem complicated, and it requires a lot of hard work. However, the lucrative income and innovative system of quantitative trading make quant trader an excellent career choice.

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Finance

How can a personal loan help you save money?

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People in debt have traditionally been unable to easily consolidate it all. In the past, the best tactic has been to focus on one type of debt at a time (usually starting with the debt accruing the most interest) to clear it.

About 20 years ago, a new product became available called a personal loan. These unsecured loans were designed to help people manage multiple debt sources and repair their credit score. As with most types of unsecured debt, applicants are typically expected to provide a guarantor. Such a loan can be anything from £1,000 to £50,000 with a fixed interest rate payable over a fixed term, typically 4-5 years or more. Applicants use these instant guarantor loans as they realise just how much money they can save when used in certain circumstances.

No matter the interest rate on existing debt, personal loans are lower

One reason most people take out a personal loan is to consolidate different debts of varying and disparate interest rates. If you have £5,000 on a credit card (typical APR 29.9%), £1,000 overdraft (typical APR 15-20%), £1,000 of debt on a store card (typical APR an eye-watering 39.9%) among others, that’s a lot of interest you’re paying every month needlessly.

When taking out a personal loan, you’ll notice that the APRs are much lower. The average rate is 8% when borrowing under £10,000 and 5% when borrowing over this amount. Pay off the outstanding balances with the new instant guarantor loan and you will stop accruing all that interest, clearing the balance instead.

Personal loans put a deadline on repayment

People, couples and families with a lot of debt spread over multiple areas often feel there is no end in sight for the debt. This is especially the case for those types of debt with no deadline such as an overdraft, and credit and store cards.

The ability to consolidate all this debt into one personal loan automatically creates a deadline. Sometimes you may choose this; sometimes the provider will specify when it will be. Not only will you know the rate of interest that will accrue on top of the debt, you will also know how long you have left to pay off that debt. The stress and anxiety of accruing more and more is alleviated and you can prepare for having more liquid cash once your personal loan comes to its natural end.

Early payment option will save more

With lower rates of interest than most common types of borrowing, personal loans help you save money as a matter of course. When you are able and willing to pay back the debt faster than anticipated, this will save you even more money.

Not all personal loans allow you to settle early, for example pay off the last six months of payments in a lump sum while the term remains, but most will. You may be required to pay an early settlement penalty or premium such as one-or-two-months interest. If there is an early repayment option, carefully check the agreement’s wording. Even with a penalty on top, it could still be less than the interest you would have paid if you had let the loan run its course.

Personal loans improve your credit score

Customers who use unsecured guarantor personal loans use them to consolidate and manage debt as well as reducing their interest burden. So long as you stick to the terms of the agreement and have enough money each month to make the payment, your credit score will begin its improvement process.

What does this have to do with saving money? It’s a long-term strategy. Most credit cards and loans are not open to people with a bad credit score, however, there are ways you could potentially be able to get a loan with a bad credit score. Unfortunately, those loans that are not open are usually those products and services with the best interest rates and the most attractive rewards. With an improved credit score, you can apply for credit products with lower interest rates, better payment terms, and even earn a little something in the process such as cashback or air miles.

Cheaper than finance agreements

Most of the items in our list concern people looking to improve their credit rating and those with borrowing spread across multiple accounts. If you’re in the market for a new or nearly new vehicle, the seller will offer financing terms. They tend to offer a single product with a single finance provider; in short, it’s a take it or leave it choice. This is not always the cheapest way to buy a new car, but it is convenient which is why most people accept the terms that the motor trader offers.

Before singing that finance agreement, consider a personal loan. Interest rates are lower on average than motor finance. When the vehicle’s price tag is over £10,000, that interest rate drops considerably, sometimes as much as half of the annual interest rate.

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Finance

Financing A Business With A Home Equity Loan

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Finding funds for a business is no easy task. Qualifying for a business loan is not guaranteed; therefore many companies leverage their owners’ assets like the family home to raise the funds they require in their enterprise.

There are many ways to use personally guaranteed funds too and one option is what’s called a home equity loan or home equity line of credit, These loans can also be ideal for debt consolidation of say high-interest borrowing like credit cards, personal and short term loans but in this blog post we’re focusing on how these loans work for businesses.

There are many more obstacles or hoops to jump through when seeking an actual business loan and often it’s the financial statements of the business that fail to pass the lending criteria due to the startup phase requiring more investment and not showing a profit.

Entrepreneurs starting out, are therefore renown for sourcing investment from wherever they can get it. The credit card has been the go-to source for funds, but the interest rates are very high, so it’s not a long term borrowing solution for a business.

Before long, the owner is seeking other sources to keep the business afloat or to grow it. They may take out personal loans but before long their requirements exceed what they borrow without additional security so this is where many use their home.

As a business owner, it may make perfect sense to use a home equity line of credit to draw down funds for the business and then repay them when in lump sums and repeat as and when required. So what is a HELOC?

HELOC

This type of loan allows you to have an open line of credit on the equity you have in your property.

HELOC’s has longer repayment periods that can be 10 – 20 years much like a usual mortgage and as the property owner you can borrow up to 85% of the home’s value minus what you may owe it. For example, if your home is valued at $750,000 and you have a mortgage of $250,000 on it already. Your line of credit may be as much as $425,000.

HELOC rates are higher than your standard mortgage rate, so it’s very much ‘caveat emptor’ or buyer beware, get professional expert advice from your accountant, financial advisor and maybe also your lawyer. Remember all loan agreements are legal documents, and they have terms and conditions that the borrower must comply.

There are many other ways to fund your business, including angel investors, offering shareholdings, so while using the equity in your home is an option it may not be the best way forward as the risk is your business cannot pay back what it’s borrowed, and you are personally liable to repay it or lose it.

Remember it is your equity and if your business borrows too much of it and can not repay it, and the lender calls in the loan it could be that you are forced to sell your home. It’s a dreary thought, but it’s better to know the pros and cons when borrowing money for any venture.

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