When you’re caught up in the day-to-day operations of your window cleaning business, it’s easy to overlook red flags that signify your need for additional working capital. Things like slow customer acquisition or increasing employee churn could be detrimental to your company’s overall progress. Yet, many owners will sweep these problems under the rug because they involve additional costs.
If you’re already doubling your efforts and see no progress, it’s probably time to expand your business. To grow, you’ll need working capital. Having access to additional funds opens many doors for your company–whether that’s to upgrade your machinery, hire more people, or market to a new city.
Take the experience of Jobson Chrisostomo Jr., the owner of Affordable Handyman of Greenwich LLC, for example. Jobson noted that having access to working capital to purchase new equipment allowed the company to finish the job faster than it normally would.
He said, “Last summer, an essential piece of equipment faltered right before I was scheduled to start an important job for a big customer. Access to adequate working capital allowed me to quickly replace the equipment, allowing me to complete the job in the estimated time. That would not have been possible if I had to go through a lengthy loan application process at the last minute.”
But to maximize capital, you need to know if and where you’ll use it–just as Jobson did. So how do you know if it’s the right time to apply for loans? What are some common signs that your window cleaning business could use more funds? We’ve gone ahead and listed them for you here.
Most Common Signs You Need Funding
When your current staff is overwhelmed
When your phones are ringing off the hook, it’s usually a great sign. More customers booking your window cleaning service means more sales. However, suppose you only have limited staff to deliver on your commitments (not to mention the few people who run your daily administrative work). In that case, more sales can negatively impact the demand and may become too great to fulfill.
If your employees are overworked for an ongoing period of time, there’s a good chance they’ll eventually leave the company. If you’re already understaffed and people start leaving, the company ends up even worse off. With funding, you can hire more people and provide services to more customers.
When you’re not producing goods as fast as you should
A big indicator for growth is when you can no longer meet your customers’ demands. You own a smaller cleaning supply company and recently signed a deal with a huge retail company. You’ll need to increase your inventory to meet their requirements. If you don’t have the technology to produce and deliver those products by the time they need them, you’ll likely lose the client.
Working capital can be put towards the right technology, vehicles, or equipment you need to increase your effort effectively. You can also use it to increase your inventory when purchasing raw materials and packaging items. Doing so will help you maintain strong relationships with your existing clients, suppliers, and partners, as well as cultivate new ones.
When you no can no longer keep up with debts
Small businesses need capital for a lot of reasons, one of which is to consolidate debts. When demand is low, you can expect a drop in sales. Even when that happens, your operational expenses and loan payments remain the same. Not to mention, you still have employees to pay. With more working capital, you can refinance your debts, pay your bills on time, make payroll and improve your cash flow.
When you spend less time strategizing
Entrepreneurs are known to wear several hats on any given day. You want to take control of the quality of your services as well as the processes involved in your marketing, accounting, and logistics.
The issue is, if you try to do everything on your own, you won’t have enough time to plan the road-map for your business’s future. To take ownership of your time, you’ll need to outsource people who are already experts in critical areas of your company, like accounting and IT. This will only be possible if you have sufficient funds under your belt.
When you don’t have enough money for emergencies
Emergencies, by definition, are sudden and unplanned. You don’t know when they will occur or what they’ll be, but it’s imperative to be prepared for them. Capital can be used to create an emergency fund that your company can utilize on an as-need basis.
A business line of credit, for example, is great for companies that don’t need to take out a loan but want to have financial security in case they need money for things like urgent repairs. If your budget is too tight, you might find it difficult to make strategic decisions to survive emergencies.
Take advantage of additional funds
Growing your business is not easy if you don’t have the funds to support it. Before you proceed with getting a loan, determine why you need the money in the first place. Think where additional funds will be more useful for your company so you can reap the best rewards later.
-By Matthew Gillman
Business Finance Expert & SMB Compass Founder
About the Author
Matthew Gillman is a business financing expert with more than a decade of experience in commercial lending. He is the founder and CEO of SMB Compass, a specialty finance company providing education and financing options for business owners.