February Cash Flow Tips For Indie Retailers Looking To Hold Onto Their Money

By Bob Phibbs

February cash flow tipsLooking for how to save money and improve cash flow in your retail store? It is important to follow some very specific cash flow properties during February in order to ensure your year continues on the right foot.

Hopefully, you took my end of year cash flow tips to heart. As the year unfolds, it is essential to adapt to the different events that will impact your business' cash flow.

As the month of February roles in, you'll want to slightly alter what you did in January to not only better serve your customers, but your own financial needs.

No one wants to see their hard-earned profits sitting on the sales floor.

Valentines

The big event in February obviously is Valentine's Day. Though not as large or popular as Christmas or Halloween, speciality items associated with Valentines day are a method for improving the cash flow into your retail business.

No matter the size of your business, it is important to take advantage of these seasonal business boosters. Even if you don't traditionally buy Valentine-specific merchandise, you can often come up with something that ties into the event.

Regardless if you supply paper goods or pet supplies, having a selection of items reflecting the day is a quick injection of funds on top of what your business normally brings in. Hopefully, you didn't go overboard with an order of these products. Valentine's day is in the middle of the month, so you really only have two weeks to hit it hard. And don't hold on to any of it for next year, as this takes up valuable storage space.

Make a display - or several - in red, pink and white. Black is a great accent color if used sparingly. Use signs that help the customer think of who they could buy it for. "Perfect for a teacher gift" might be good for a decorative pencil sharpener at an office supply or gift shop. "You know he'd wear these" might be fun on a display of men's underwear with hearts on it.

Be fun. Be creative.

Remember, you need to move this merchandise quickly.

If you must, put it all on sale Valentine's day - I know that's counter-intuitive. But hoping you'll make a killing on last minute shoppers on Valentine's day means that when demand is highest - the most likely time you'll unload picked-overs and also-rans, you'll miss it. 

See also, Making Friends With Clearance Merchandise

Negotiate New Supply Deals

By the end of January, you know exactly what goods and products you use the most. There really is no hiding this fact, so why not let February be the time you negotiate a new deal with your best vendors?

When you extend a deal further out into the future, you have bargaining power with vendors and are most likely able to cut the cost of the items you need to run a successful business. This can slash your monthly expenses and give you more revenue to invest back into the company.

February is the perfect time to look back at your current service contracts too and see if you can negotiate a longer, more fruitful service between you and your business partners.

Compare January Year Over Year and Forecast

Look back and compare January of this year with January of the previous year. You should be able to estimate if 2017 is set to be a more profitable year, or one for concern. Create a cash flow forecast to prepare you for what to possibly expect. That way, you're not hit hard during your traditionally "soft" months, as you accounted for it. Then you can be be surprised when better-than-expected revenue numbers happen.

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In Sum

Cash flow shouldn't be a mystery for your independent retail business as long as each month, you look at the events that could impact it and work to keep your merchandise buying and expenses in line each month.

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