A podcast about helping each other when things go wrong

Episode 029: Cash Flow 101

Episode 029

Cash Flow 101

In this Episode

This week Leslie and Matt talk about why managing how money comes into your business is so important and cover the basics of a good cash flow system.

Show Summary

Matt and Les talk about the challenges of billing and collecting from clients. They outline how a system can ease the stress of sending invoices and collecting payments. How can setting clients’ expectations increase the chances of them paying you? The guys even dig into the psychology of clients and how you can make it work for you. What makes sending out invoices so hard? Why shouldn’t you talk to your clients about the invoice date? How might you accidentally be devaluing your work when you send out your bill?

The guys explore the challenges of paying your own bills and employees if you aren’t diligent about making sure your clients you. Matt explains how bad cash flow might mean you need a partner or need to go work for someone else. Also, what kind of margins should you have if you’re in the software or services business?

Matt’s 5 Basics of Cash Flow

  1. Know cost of services provided
    • What you pay your contractors, your employees, as well as support staff like project managers and salespeople.
  2. Excellent margins
    • I used to think 5%-10% was a good margin, basically anything over and above the hourly rate I was charging at the time.
    • Learned that margins need to be at least 50% and ideally higher to account for hidden costs and to make enough profit to positively impact the business
    • Hidden costs are hidden (shocker right?) which means you won’t always catch everything. Good margins mitigate the risk of something you missed turning you upside down on a project
  3. Disciplined invoicing
    • Don’t be lazy
    • Make a schedule and stick to it
    • Don’t be afraid to have a conversation with a client about a bill
    • SEND THEM OUT ON TIME
  4. Consistent collection terms established from the beginning of a client relationship
    • Start the relationship off on the right foot by clearly establishing expectations at the very beginning
    • Talk about when a client is expected to pay, not when they will be getting their invoices.
    • Establish the payment schedule and send your invoices BEFORE that date.
  5. Have cash on hand to cover the lean times
    • Sh*t happens. Clients don’t pay. Clients are late paying. Sales dry up.
    • Have at least 3-6 months of payrolls and total expenses saved up in an emergency fund that never gets used for anything else
    • Think about doing something else with your life if you can’t commit to this idea :)

Coffee Break Ramblings

(19:24) Coffee Break

Les and Matt dive into whether they prefer to get paid by the milestone or on a time schedule. Les explains what he tells coaching clients who have problems with billing and Matt tells you how he uses Every Dollar, Freshbooks, and Google Docs to manage his business and personal finances.

Show Resources

Next Episode

Something exciting and awesome, we promise.

This Episode is sponsored by:

  • Arcustech is a new company brought to you by the people at Engine Hosting, specializing in managed servers. They take great pride in providing top-notch service for companies who need assistance with scaling, optimization, and recommending solutions for every project need. They have taken the experiences of the past 15 years and blended them with leading, proven technologies, ranging from redundant 10GE networks to enterprise grade SSD drives and FusionIO ultra-low latency PCIe flash storage cards to their blade-based F5 VIPRION Application Delivery systems.

  • Focus Lab is a small team of creative professionals located in Savannah, Ga. They create visual branding and interactive systems that enable organizations to put their best foot forward to reach their audience. The core Standards at Focus Lab support the core of what Haywire is all about: Learning new things, being honest, and making things better.

Episode 028

Sales as a Service - A Brainstorm

Sales as a Service - A Brainstorm

In this Episode

This week Leslie, Matt, Phil, and Mervyn talk about sales as a service and brainstorm ways to create an effective sales system for any small agency.

Show Summary

The guys talk about what pains them most about sales. Is it psychological? Methodological? Theological? (probably not the last one).

The guys share what challenges them most about selling their services and what it might take to get them over the hump.

Coffee Break Ramblings

(12:18) Coffee Break

The guys walk their way through a sales process, starting from getting a lead to closing the sale. Things get detailed, fast. This may be the most comprehensive look at a sales process that doesn’t make you want to gouge your ear balls out.

Les promised to share his notes from the conversation—he’s a man of his word, so here’s his outline!

Sales Workflow Outline from our Brainstorm

The main purpose of this exercise is to show you how straight forward it is to document your own process. Once you have it documented it becomes much easier to improve it in bits until you see significant improvements from where you are now.

  • Is the email lead thought and written well?
    • If well written
      • Does it have the detail I need?
        • If yes, call, not email, the lead.
      • Not enough detail
        • Call for more info.
        • If no phone number, email instead.
    • Qualify the Client based on your specific criteria (you do have your own criteria, right?)
      • Why do you want to work with us specifically?
      • Time & Money
        • Value of project to client - you are not asking “what’s your budget” you are asking “what’s the value if this project is successful?”
        • What’s the timeline?
    • Qualify the Work
      • Project at a high level
        • Am I right for this work?
      • Features at a high level
        • Spreadsheet them
      • What’s the audience/user for the audience?
      • Cost the work - This is not your price to the client, its your cost to get it done (usually not shared with client).
    • The Proposal
      • Submission requirements
        • Government needs
        • Non-profit needs
        • Private needs
        • “High-end format” (well designed, sectioned PDF)
        • “Low-end format” (email, text doc)
      • Proposal structure
        • Executive Summary
        • Value, ROI in detail
        • Scope
        • Approach, process
        • Ask for a signature/acceptance
    • That’s as far as we got :)

Show Resources

Next Episode

Something valuable, we promise.

This Episode is sponsored by:

  • Arcustech is a new company brought to you by the people at Engine Hosting, specializing in managed servers. They take great pride in providing top-notch service for companies who need assistance with scaling, optimization, and recommending solutions for every project need. They have taken the experiences of the past 15 years and blended them with leading, proven technologies, ranging from redundant 10GE networks to enterprise grade SSD drives and FusionIO ultra-low latency PCIe flash storage cards to their blade-based F5 VIPRION Application Delivery systems.

  • Focus Lab is a small team of creative professionals located in Savannah, Ga. They create visual branding and interactive systems that enable organizations to put their best foot forward to reach their audience. The core Standards at Focus Lab support the core of what Haywire is all about: Learning new things, being honest, and making things better.

Episode 027

Introducing Haywire Consulting

Sales as a Service - A Brainstorm

In this Episode

This week Leslie, Matt, Phil, and Mervyn talk about sales as a service and brainstorm ways to create an effective sales system for any small agency.

Show Summary

The guys talk about what pains them most about sales. Is it psychological? Methodological? Theological? (probably not the last one).

The guys share what challenges them most about selling their services and what it might take to get them over the hump.

Coffee Break Ramblings

(12:18) Coffee Break

The guys walk their way through a sales process, starting from getting a lead to closing the sale. Things get detailed, fast. This may be the most comprehensive look at a sales process that doesn’t make you want to gouge your ear balls out.

Les promised to share his notes from the conversation—he’s a man of his word, so here’s his outline!

Sales Workflow Outline from our Brainstorm

The main purpose of this exercise is to show you how straight forward it is to document your own process. Once you have it documented it becomes much easier to improve it in bits until you see significant improvements from where you are now.

  • Is the email lead thought and written well?
    • If well written
      • Does it have the detail I need?
        • If yes, call, not email, the lead.
      • Not enough detail
        • Call for more info.
        • If no phone number, email instead.
    • Qualify the Client based on your specific criteria (you do have your own criteria, right?)
      • Why do you want to work with us specifically?
      • Time & Money
        • Value of project to client - you are not asking “what’s your budget” you are asking “what’s the value if this project is successful?”
        • What’s the timeline?
    • Qualify the Work
      • Project at a high level
        • Am I right for this work?
      • Features at a high level
        • Spreadsheet them
      • What’s the audience/user for the audience?
      • Cost the work - This is not your price to the client, its your cost to get it done (usually not shared with client).
    • The Proposal
      • Submission requirements
        • Government needs
        • Non-profit needs
        • Private needs
        • “High-end format” (well designed, sectioned PDF)
        • “Low-end format” (email, text doc)
      • Proposal structure
        • Executive Summary
        • Value, ROI in detail
        • Scope
        • Approach, process
        • Ask for a signature/acceptance
    • That’s as far as we got :)

Show Resources

Next Episode

Something valuable, we promise.

This Episode is sponsored by:

  • Arcustech is a new company brought to you by the people at Engine Hosting, specializing in managed servers. They take great pride in providing top-notch service for companies who need assistance with scaling, optimization, and recommending solutions for every project need. They have taken the experiences of the past 15 years and blended them with leading, proven technologies, ranging from redundant 10GE networks to enterprise grade SSD drives and FusionIO ultra-low latency PCIe flash storage cards to their blade-based F5 VIPRION Application Delivery systems.

  • Focus Lab is a small team of creative professionals located in Savannah, Ga. They create visual branding and interactive systems that enable organizations to put their best foot forward to reach their audience. The core Standards at Focus Lab support the core of what Haywire is all about: Learning new things, being honest, and making things better.

Episode 026

The Importance of Personal Growth for Owners

In this Episode

This week the Leslie, Matt, Phil, and Mervyn discuss why it’s so important for owners to grow personally if they want their businesses to succeed. How do business and personal growth mix when you’re the owner of a business?

Show Summary

Les starts off with a quote by entrepreneur and author Jim Rohn that helped him through a tough personal time this year:

“Don’t wish it was easier wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge wish for more wisdom”

The guys then talk about experiences where they’ve also had to grow personally in order for the businesses to grow. What’s the relationship between the personal and professional

Coffee Break Ramblings

(15:54) Coffee Break

Phil starts by examining the Rohn quote and wonders if it’s missing something. What’s the tension between contentment and growth? Les wonders if being more consciously using what he’s learned about listening from clients might help his relationship with his daughter. There’s a long, unexpected silence. The guys dive into whether they’re giving their best to their business and neglecting their families. Mervyn uses Comcast as a verb. Then, Phil feels bad about himself.

Show Resources

Next Episode

“Introducing Haywire Consulting”

This Episode is sponsored by:

  • Arcustech is a new company brought to you by the people at Engine Hosting, specializing in managed servers. They take great pride in providing top-notch service for companies who need assistance with scaling, optimization, and recommending solutions for every project need. They have taken the experiences of the past 15 years and blended them with leading, proven technologies, ranging from redundant 10GE networks to enterprise grade SSD drives and FusionIO ultra-low latency PCIe flash storage cards to their blade-based F5 VIPRION Application Delivery systems.

  • Focus Lab is a small team of creative professionals located in Savannah, Ga. They create visual branding and interactive systems that enable organizations to put their best foot forward to reach their audience. The core Standards at Focus Lab support the core of what Haywire is all about: Learning new things, being honest, and making things better.