Firstly, your business cash story is a big deal.  Secondly, it’s a big deal for business continuity, survival, and  growth.  This requires cash. Profits are what it’s ultimately about, but cash makes sure you get to do it.

Sales are vanity, profits are sanity, cash is reality.

This blog shows you how to navigate those financial waters, in times of choppiness, calm and prosperity. In other words, it’s all about the cash, whatever size and shape your business, whether it’s in the private or not for profit sector.  If you have a handle on cash, an access to cash you will pretty much survive.

Most importantly, let’s look at the benefits of doing this. It’s more than building your cash flow flow forecast.  After that, I will share the ABC framework to building and using your cash story.

So for me, as you said, cash is the name of the game. It doesn’t matter, by the way, whatever the state of your business is what the landscape is, Cash should always be one thing.


Your numbers are your best friend, they won’t lie to you. Numbers are there for you in times of crisis, calm and prosperity. Above all Your Business Cash Story is such a friend

Once you translate your business future into numbers, once you put together a plan you get so so much.  It gives you  options, power, and confidence.  There’s more, it gives you the energy that you can take and as you navigate your business going forward. With that power, comes a real energy and confidence to navigate what lies ahead.

What is cash?

Cash is what we see appearing and disappearing from our bank accounts, the notes, the coins.

Cash future time frame

Time frame

So, look ahead at least the next six months. My tip, the ideal, is at least the next 12 months.   If you find that’s too challenging, then set the dial for at least three months.  We know that the only predictable things in life are death and taxes, when and how much is the uncertain bit!

Are you planning, telling your business story over a short cycle like three months, six months or a year ?   You decide.

My view is that six months is the minimum time period that you’re looking at.  Three months might be dealing with the more immediate, all that you can cope with.  However, things change, business consequences from business actions aren’t always immediate.  For example, that business pivot, that marketing spend takes time to produce positive results.

All business has peaks and troughs, times of the year when business is quiet, and times when it is full on.  For example, Ice cream doesn’t sell as well in the winter, as it does in the summer, seasonality is different for everyone.


A is for Approach.  Before you get down and dirty with your numbers get your approach sorted.  In other words, calibrate and set your mindset dial to positive.  So, grab your numbers by the scruff of the neck!

Your approach is critical.  The thoughts of your cash future may make you nervous.  You may get that knotted feeling in your stomach and want to hide under your duvet.  Do not fear your numbers

Your cash future, your cash story reflects your business future, your business story.  A lot of businesses will be nervous of what their naturally think, okay, I’m going to be scared what my numbers are going to tell me.

To clarify, cash numbers come second, what comes first is your story first.

Business story

The business story, your business plan is just that.  It’s your story, it’s unique to your circumstances, your path, your journey, it’s your plan.  You’ll be aware of what’s going on, and what the future might hold. You have a better idea whether you’re pivoting, changing your business model, your customers, your promotion, your capacity.

If you don’t know that, then don’t beat yourself up over it.  , Sit down, put together a plan, grab some help if needed.

Once you write your cash story, like any first draft, revisions, rewrites are perfectly fine.  Get your thoughts down, it doesn’t have to be the finished version.

Most importantly, your business and cash story is unique to your business, your circumstances.  It’s not replicating what everybody else is experiencing.

The business story for your business might look bleak and challenging for the next few weeks, or few months. It might be bright sunshine, a small drop of rain, shape your story to reflect those circumstances.  Build your own cash story weather map.  Adapt to reflect the weather conditions that your business may experience.

Once you get the story that overlays the numbers at the end, the numbers don’t come first, the numbers come second, and the numbers reflect what’s going on in your business.


B is for building.  This is where we get involved with the numbers.  You need to figure out two key numbers, cash coming into your business, and cash going out of your business.

So, figure out the cash that comes in, figure out the cash that goes out, see what’s in front of you, and then make the decisions accordingly, about what you do with the picture that presents itself.

Cash in

Your plan, your business story will show what you are you selling, and who those customer  groups are.  This will be (hopefully) where most of your cash comes from.  Translate that into

  • How much you are selling: Quantity
  • What your selling price is: Selling Price
  • When you get the cash: When you get paid

Other sources of cash are your own funds, money you’re borrowing, it may be grants, or a a whole combination.

Cash out

For many of you it is likely to be the easier to put together where the cash goes. For example, typically it’s things like paying suppliers, buying goods and services, pay for marketing activities, and paying yourself.  Don’t leave yourself out the equation, you need cash out the business for yourself and your family.


C is for choices.  Firstly, see what your business cash flow looks like.  Consequently, once you have your cash story, you then have choices, decisions and options.

Above all, don’t draw conclusions, make decisions until you’ve actually put the cash story together.  Once you’ve got the first draft, take a step back, see what the cash picture looks like and then make choices, make decisions..

What do those choices look like?  Here’s a snapshot of some of them, the actions that may be possible

  • Delay payments
  • Defer capital programmes
  • Cancel payments
  • Change customer payment terms
  • Revisit your business model
  • Challenge costs and assumptions
  • Overdrafts
  • Loans and HP

Remember, you will a sensible story, at a minimum you want business continuity. In other words, does cutting back on marketing impact on the ability to sell and supply. For example, does cutting back on your staffing costs put a strain on your ability to deliver.  Cutting  prices affects volume of sales – that can be good and bad


If you want to get through a financial storm, survive, prosper and grow, build and manage your future cash story.

Look ahead, call upon your friend that you can always rely in times of turbulence, calm, and prosperity and that’s your numbers.

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