Five Non-Cookie Cutter Ways to Boost Your Business Cash Flow

Ditch the cookie cutter with these five strategies tailored to help women-led, service-based businesses boost cash flow like a boss.

Emma Bowdler | The Women's Accountant

Emma Bowdler

I’m a cheerleader for women and an accountant bursting with personality. 

If you’ve been in business long enough, you know that cash flow is queen. Managing the incomings and outgoings of your business budget is undoubtedly one of the most delicate dances we do as business owners. Get it right — it’s smooth sailing. Get it wrong — you’re getting dunked.

While there are heaps of tips out there about how to improve your cash flow, we know you aren’t here for bland, cookie-cutter approaches that you could get from any finance bro. Instead, you want that sparkly, sprinkle-topped strategic insights, and the equivalent of a delicious choc-fudge cookie oozing with literal gold.

Stay golden, cash flow queens, with these five ways for women-run businesses to make that money river as strong and fierce as you are.

1. Bling Up Your Service Packages 💎

    When was the last time you gave your service offerings a revamp and made them really shine? If the answer is: ‘I cannot remember’, then this is the perfect place to start.

    Think of it like creating a series of outfits to go on a holiday. Lay all your services out like you would your wardrobe. And then ask yourself: 

    • What’s my ‘old faithful’ (most popular) and why?
    • What goes well together that I could bundle or combine?
    • What serves more than one purpose?
    • What needs to be tossed or could use a zhuzh?
    • Can I give this a better name or extra inclusion to make it more enticing?
    • And what’s my jaw-dropper, show-stopper?

    Spend a day splicing and dicing your services, whip up a new Canva graphic or Services Brochure and share it with your email list or Instagram followers to see if you get any bites.

    🔥 No Hot Air,
    Just Hot Tips:

    Everyone loves feeling like a VIP. Is there a luxe service package you could offer for a short time or to a limited number of clients?

    A disappearing offer can up the allure (and the price tag).

    Five Non-Cookie Cutter Ways to Boost Your Business Cash Flow | The Women's Accountant

    2. What’s Up Good Bookin’? 😍

    Channel the energy of every lingering and unwanted look you’ve ever received and unleash it on your books. To really know your business, you need to know your numbers. And while they don’t always tell the whole story, you can’t boost your cash flow without having the financy figures at your fabulous fingertips (good luck saying that five times fast).

    What are some of the numbers we want to look for?

    • Accounts Receivable: how much are you expecting to come in, and does it match what’s actually happening?
    • Accounts Payable: what is set to be going out the door in the near future?
    • Inventory Levels: how much have you got sitting on hand, waiting to be sold?
    • Payment terms: how long are you giving people to pay you, and how long are they taking?
    • WIP (your hair back and forth): the list of work that’s in progress, or that’s been done, but not invoiced yet.
    Five Non-Cookie Cutter Ways to Boost Your Business Cash Flow | The Women's Accountant

    🔥 No Hot Air,
    Just Hot Tips:

    If you use Xero, it’s easy to generate a cash flow statement that covers all the basic operating, investing, and finance activities.

    1. In the Accounting menu, select Reports.
    2. Find and open the Statement of Cash Flows – Direct Method report. You can use the search field in the top right corner.
    3. Set a Date range or set reporting period
    4. Click Update, et voila

     You can also compare to previous date ranges, which can give you some great insights into how cash flow was in the past. Need a little help?

    Watch our Xero to Shero 101 Accounting Hacks Webinar.

    You can also set up a dashboard in your accounting software that highlights key cash flow metrics. This will provide a visual, top-line snapshot every time you log in, and keep your finger on the profit pulse. Once you have the numbers, put your Sorting Hat on and sift through → what is this data telling me? What are the trends? What can’t I see here? Does it validate or disprove my assumptions?

    Data-informed decisions = business owner’s best friend. It’s vital to understand where your money is coming from and where it’s going, so you can identify cash flow bottlenecks, and be proactive. Curiosity and self-awareness are the business owner’s superpower, so get flexing.

    3. Slide Into Collaborations, Not DMs 💌

    Women supporting women is not just a catchphrase around here, because we know firsthand that everything feels possible when you have a community of badass women behind you.

    To boost your cash flow, is there a way you could team up with a fellow business-owner boss to create mutual value — for each other and for your clients or customers? Perhaps offering exclusive discounts to each other’s client bases, running a cross-promotion, or coming up with a profit-share service — all powerful for injecting cash flow, but also deepening your relationships and referral pathways.

    For example: maybe you are a branding expert. Could you pair up with a web designer to offer a wham bam ‘website slay package’? Or perhaps you’re a solicitor. Could you team up with a mortgage broker and a buyer’s agent to create a seamless pathway for clients to buy their first (or next) home? Basically, think of ways you can create an ‘old boys club’, but way better and more transparent.

    Lastly on this point, if we’ve learned anything over 15 years in business, it’s that: relationships matter.

    Building and maintaining strong relationships with your customers, suppliers, referral partners, and even the people who make your morning coffee can lead to better payment terms, increased loyalty, and more referrals. Good relationships can reduce the chances of late payments or defaults, and help you achieve a much steadier cash flow.

    Moral of the story, no (wo)man is an island, and you can’t do business alone — so, cultivate a network of business BFFs.

    🔥 No Hot Air,
    Just Hot Tips:

    Keep a ‘little black book’ of awesome people to refer work to, and ask others to do the same for you. We have the ultimate rolodex of kickass women from lawyers to mortgage brokers to copywriters and beyond.

    Want a recommendation?

    Send us an email →
    ✉️ [email protected]
    and we’ll spill the tea.

    4. Strut Your (Business) Model Down the Runway 💃🏽

    If cash flow is a perennial issue for you, maybe it’s time to convert your services into a monthly subscription or retainer model? Often clients love predictability, and you’ll adore the consistent bank balance. Finding ways to repackage your powerhouse services does require some pretty shrewd planning and a strong understanding of your value proposition and target audience, but it can pay off in spades (and ticker tape parades of cash). 

    Perhaps you can offer different subscription levels (e.g. basic, premium, platinum) to cater to the needs of various customer segments or ask existing customers if they would be interested in shifting to a subscription or retainer model (by showing the benefits for them). For us, we’ve gone with a three-tiered approach for Pricing and Packages that works for us, and for our clients. While it might not work for your entire business, perhaps even creating a hybrid model of part-retainer and part project-based work can help to smooth out the lumps and bumps in your cash gravy.

    🔥 No Hot Air,
    Just Hot Tips:

    Having a little trouble with your Pricing Strategy?

    You’re not the first business, and you won’t be the last (unless we have something to do with it). The Women’s Accountant has you covered when it comes to weighing up the perceived value, usefulness, quality, sustainability, and other factors, when it comes to designing your pricing strategy.

    Read more → How To Set An Effective Pricing Strategy For Your Business

    5. Set it on Fire or Hose it Down 🚒

    Our final tip is kind of a two-in-one because we are nothing if not over-deliverers. If you need cash fast, here are two more emergency levers you can pull:

    🔥 Set the Sales on Fire — have a flash sale offer a discounted product or service for a brief period and create a sense of scarcity and urgency that draws attention and gives you a cash influx when you need it.

    💧 Hose it All Down — boosting cash flow isn’t just about increasing sales; sometimes it’s about controlling and reducing spending. Look for temporary or drastic ways to limit the damage with an audit of all your operating expenses, and put the fires out.

    If you’re thinking of going the fire sale route, first and foremost: be clear on why you’re holding a fire sale. Clearing the decks to make way for new? Car or computer broke down and you need a new one immediately? Going in a different direction and wanting to share the love? If significant assets are being sold off, it can signal to the market that there are rocky seas, and it might affect future business, the perceived value of your goods and services, or potential future collaborations.

    There can also be tax and legal implications of a large influx of cash and specific terms and conditions of a quick sale, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. Just do it with all the information so you can plan the most value-aligned way forward, and reach out if you’re not sure.

    If it feels more like you need to put the fires out, and hose it all down instead, here are few ways to do that:

    •  Review all subscriptions and cut or pause those you can live without
    • Put a temporary hold on non-essential business expenses like travel, entertainment, or non-urgent training
    • Approach any suppliers or vendors for revised payment terms or payment plans
    • Hire freelance or contract workers for specific projects rather than hiring full-time staff (make sure they’re genuine contractors)

    🔥 No Hot Air,
    Just Hot Tips:

    If you’re looking for ways to cut costs in your business, look for those that provide immediate relief but don’t cut so deeply that it impacts the quality of your product or service, or the morale and wellbeing of your team. Not sure what to cut?

    Just like giving her a haircut when you were younger, we can trim anyone’s expenses (yes, even Barbie’s)

    Why Even Barbie Needs a Business BFF

    Need a Little More Help?

    The world isn’t a bakery (sadly), and you’re way too fabulous for a cookie-cutter approach. Your business deserves dazzling, out-of-the-box strategies that reflect its uniqueness. And if you need a little extra help to sprinkle this advice and more into your biz plan, we are only a phone call away.

    We love supporting women in a whole bunch of industries and across the country to build a business on her terms.

    Get a taste of what it’s like to work with us with a $47 Business Strategy Session (the money is donated to our favourite women’s charity Protea Place), and get ready to get down and dirty building those strong business foundations!

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