Practically every business needs to practice real-time data analytics to not just survive but thrive in the modern market. After all, information is power; the more you know about your target audience and business, the better you can use your resources to maximum effect.
But real-time data analytics can also help in a specific way: cash flow management. Today, let’s break down how real-time data analytics can affect your growth and how to use it to improve cash flow management across the board.
How Does Real-Time Data Analytics Affect the Growth of Small Businesses?
In a broad sense, real-time data analytics affects the growth of small businesses just like yours by influencing decisions.
When you look at the data from key performance indicators (KPIs) your business takes in – such as revenue and customer growth – you make decisions based on that information. If revenue and customer growth are both up, you might consider expanding or splurging on another marketing campaign. If those KPIs are down, you might consider tapering your spending and rethink your marketing approach.
Therefore, real-time data analytics impacts whether your business grows, stalls, or slows down based on its current cash situation, brand reputation, and other attributes.
In another sense, real-time data analytics can affect your growth by helping you avoid catastrophe. All in all, real-time data analytics helps you make better choices. That in and of itself can affect the growth of your enterprise, especially during its earliest years.
How to Improve Cash Flow Management with Real-Time Data Analytics
Given its importance, many enterprise executives want to use real-time data analytics to improve their decisions regarding cash flow and expenditures. Luckily, there are lots of ways to improve your cash flow management practices by leveraging the data you collect in real-time.
Identify and Reduce Variable Expenses
Firstly, you can use real-time data analytics software and platforms to identify and reduce any variable expenses. Your variable expenses are the things your business doesn’t have to purchase, at least in the short term. You need to identify whether expenses your business incurs are variable or not.
For example, one of the effects of inflation on small businesses has been a rise in materials costs. If money is tight, being able to identify whether materials are a variable expense. could give you a window to save some cash when your budget needs as much wiggle room as possible, like during a recession.
Then, once your cash flow improves, you can exercise your cash will management skills again and return to spending money on variable expenses for expansion, staff training, etc.
Optimize Your Inventory
Similarly, real-time data analytics gives you greater insight and understanding into your inventory situation. With the right analytics plan and software, you’ll be able to optimize your inventory by:
- Reducing the inventory sitting in your warehouse, not on store shelves or making you money
- Reducing wasted time and money on subpar shipping arrangements
- Improving order accuracy, so your inventory management team only orders what your customers really need or want
In the long run, this will help both your budget and your customer expectations. With good inventory management, for example, your customers won’t ever order something only to discover that you are actually out of stock of that item.
Take Greater Control of Accounts Receivable
When times are tough, such as during inflation, you may need to take greater control over your accounts receivables. Real-time data analytics can help you predict how many materials you’ll need, enabling you to make smarter purchasing decisions when money is tight during periods of inflation.
You might normally be fairly relaxed when it comes to receivables if your business is good. But if your data analytics says you need to bring in as much money as possible ASAP to avoid issues in the future, you can take that information and immediately speak to customers with bills due.
That way, you don’t have to scramble to come up with enough capital to pay your bills or regular expenses. Your customers will pay you more quickly, and you’ll get the financial stability you need to weather any economic storm.
Manage Existing Backorders
Armed with real-time data, you can enact a cash flow management plan that lets you examine and match existing backorders to new customer orders. By looking at both ends of your supply chain, you can figure out if you have any backorders and open orders that match up, then solve that problem by connecting customers to ordered products and vice versa.
Again, not only does this boost your cash flow (since customers receive their products and you receive your money). It also improves your brand reputation and overall quality. That’s a great thing, particularly if your business is looking to grow in the near future.
Predict Customer Orders and Match Orders to Customer Needs
Lastly, real-time data analytics can improve your cash flow management by helping you predict customer orders. Once you know how much product you need to order, you can order that product specifically to match predicted customer needs, preventing inventory issues and wasted cash.
If you need to, you can even use your gathered data to make borrowing decisions you know you can pay back. For example, you can speak to your bank to take out a personal loan. With that loan, you can stock up on inventory when money is tight, knowing that the loan will allow you to get enough products or materials to bring in significant profits over the next few months.
Real-time data analytics can positively impact your cash flow management and the rest of your business in the long term. If you haven’t already, start practicing real-time data analytics right away. The sooner you begin analyzing your business’s income, customer base, and more, the sooner you can make wise executive decisions that set you up for long-term business success.
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