How do I jump-start my business cash flow when transitioning from consultant to full-service business?

Currently, I'm an independent contractor that provides consulting services to third-party companies and help them manage projects with large budgets. I am looking to transition into a full-service consulting business where my company will internally take on the large project budgets as those that I consult for, essentially growing from an individual salary to processing the entire project budget overnight. How should I prepare to navigate the gap to set up my company team/finances to properly handle the accounting and cash flow of these projects when most end-clients deal on net 30 or 60 terms. The lifespan of the project is 8-10 months and cannot float the millions required in the interim. I want to tell my client I can take on the entire project, but not sure how to plan for this.


You need a source of capital to carry you through the receivables period. Basically you've got three options:
-Borrow money to finance the receivables
-Find investors to contribute equity to finance receivables
-Sell the receivables (factoring)
or some combination of these.

In my experience you're talking about making the same leap that a bathroom renovator might make to become a home-building contractor.
The difference in that business is also capital.

Arrange a call if you'd like to discuss your particular case. I can run through a few questions with you and help point you in the right direction.

David Barnett

Answered 7 years ago

I'd likely start by doing competitive analysis + finding your competitors.

Then pitch your competitors to partner with them.

BTW, Net 30-60 is crazy, to me. In fact, Net anything is crazy.

Our agency starts with a $1000 retainer + then we bill weekly. If any client slow pays, they go on 100% retainer basis.

Anyone how has to pay on Net... geez... I won't take. There are just to many people who fast pay.

If you go long Net terms + company dies or sells or loses interest in paying, your out your money.

I just won't even consider a client who required long Net pays.

Net on Monday for last 7 days work is how I go.

Most people pay monthly or weekly base cost + overages which add hours outside their plans.

Answered 7 years ago

An accurate cash flow projection can alert you to trouble well before it strikes. Understand that cash flow plans are not glimpses into the future. Watch out for assuming without justification that receivables will continue coming in at the same rate they have recently, that payables can be extended as far as they have in the past, that you have included expenses such as capital improvements, loan interest and principal payments, and that you have accounted for seasonal sales fluctuations. Start your cash flow projection by adding cash on hand at the beginning of the period with other cash to be received from various sources. Have a line item on your projection for every significant outlay, including rent, inventory , salaries and wages, sales and other taxes withheld or payable, benefits paid, equipment purchased for cash, professional fees, utilities, office supplies, debt payments, advertising, vehicle and equipment maintenance and fuel, and cash dividends. ā€œProjections rank next to business plans and mission statements among things a business must do to plan for the futureā€.
If you got paid for sales the instant you made them, you would never have a cash flow problem. Sooner or later, you will foresee or find yourself in a situation where you lack the cash to pay your bills. And there are normal, everyday business practices that can help you manage the shortfall. The key to managing cash shortfalls is to become aware of the problem as early and as accurately as possible. Banks are wary of borrowers who must have money today. This allows you to borrow money up to a preset limit any time you need it. These people are more interested in keeping you going than a banker, and they probably know more about your business. You can often get extended terms from suppliers that amount to a hefty, low-cost loan just by asking. Consider using factors. These are financial service businesses that can pay you today for receivables you may not otherwise be able to collect on for weeks or months. Ask your best customers to accelerate payments. Explain the situation and, if necessary, offer a discount of a percentage point or two off the bill. You should also go after your worst customers-those whose invoices are more than 90 days past due. Offer them a steeper discount if they pay today. You may be able to raise cash by selling and leasing back assets such as machinery, equipment, computers, phone systems and even office furniture. Make payroll first-unpaid employees will soon be ex-employees. Pay crucial suppliers next.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 3 years ago

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