- Small Business: How to Pay Your Bills When You Don’t Have Enough Money
- Cash Flow Problems? Prioritize and Pay Your Bills On Time
- How to Prioritize and Pay Your Small Business Bills On Time
Meta Description: Most small businesses go through periods when money is tight. Unfortunately, bills must be paid on time even when money is tight. Here’s how to prioritize your bills.
In an ideal world, your small business brings in enough money so that you can pay all your bills on time. Unfortunately, most of us don’t live in an ideal world. Instead, we struggle with cash flow, which makes paying bills on time almost impossible. Should you find yourself in a cash flow crisis, you must have a plan in place to pay your bills as a small business owner. While it’s necessary to pay all your bills, you might not be able to do that when you are low on cash. Here is how you can prioritize your bills during a crisis.
Top Priority Bills Vs. Lower Priority Bills
Some bills are more important than others. Those are top priority bills and must take precedence over others and be paid on time, every time. Fail to pay your bills, and you risk severe consequences.
Lower priority bills are essential, but they are not time-critical. You often have a grace period within which you can pay off these bills. So, even if you hold off paying these bills until you have the funds, your business is not at risk.
Top Priority Bills:
- Salary for Your Employees
Your employees are the lifeline of your company. Without them, your business probably wouldn’t exist. No matter how much your employees love working for you, they won’t hesitate to look for a new job if they realize that you cannot pay them.
As well as that, finding and retaining quality employees is often a struggle. If your top-performing employees deduce that you cannot pay them, it could wreak havoc on workplace morale. As a small business struggling to make ends meet, you must do everything in your power to ensure workplace morale is high and your business workflow does not suffer. No matter what happens, ensure your employees are treated fairly and paid on time.
The money that you owe the government in taxes is money that does not belong to you. Neglecting to pay your taxes on time can lead to penalties and even criminal charges. According to Australian law, you can go to jail if you lodge incorrect business activity statements or tax returns with the ATO (Australian Taxation Office). Tax fraud offenses are serious criminal charges that can carry a penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
- Secured Debts
If you have personally guaranteed a loan, you can be held liable if you stop making the payments on time. A lender could seize your assets, leaving your business in a deeper rut and, in some cases, inoperable.
- Rent and Utilities
Imagine having to work without lights, heating, air conditioning, or internet services. Miss paying your rent and utility bills like electricity, internet, and water, and you risk having those services shut off. That would not be ideal for your workplace productivity. If you miss paying the rent continuously, you could even risk being evicted from the property.
- Vendors and Suppliers
Your vendors and suppliers are critical to your business operations. While you may not pay all your vendors and suppliers on time, ensure you pay your key vendors and suppliers. If you have a good relationship with your vendors, you can request them to defer full payments until your business is solvent.
Lower Priority Bills
- Credit Cards
Credit cards cost penalties and interest, but thankfully, you have a grace period to make your payments. Take advantage of this benefit and hold back payments until you are flush and pay off your credit card bills. Ensure you make the payment before you run out of time.
- Unsecured Loans
Unsecured loans are not attached to your property. So, even if you delay payment, lenders cannot seize your property. You must pay off the loan amounts as soon as possible. Let your lenders know you will be paying them as quickly as possible.
- Bills for Non-Essentials
Bills for non-essential items should be at the bottom of your priority list. They include non-urgent subscriptions, repairs, and membership fees. Once your payments are on track, you can add these back into your monthly billing cycle.
- Large Bills
There is a possibility that you have large outstanding bills that need to be paid. If your finances were on track, you would pay these off immediately. However, when your funds are low, you might need to request them to put off payments till your funds are back on track.
In sum:Prioritize your bills smartly, and you can tide over periods of low cash flow without a problem. Consider investing in business insurance, so you don’t put your business and your assets at risk. The good news is that you can pay most insurance premiums within a certain period without them lapsing. Ensure you pay your insurance premiums on time. Click here for more information.
The Sydney Morning Herald. 2016. Failure to plan for tax can cause business to fail. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.smh.com.au/business/small-business/failure-to-plan-for-tax-can-cause-business-to-fail-20160404-gnxigm.html. [Accessed 15 March 2021].
Fora Financial. 2020. How to Use Bill Prioritization To Manage Small Business Debt. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.forafinancial.com/blog/small-business/small-business-debt/. [Accessed 15 March 2021].
Debt.org. 2012. Prioritizing Your Bills as a Small Business. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.debt.org/small-business/prioritizing-your-bills/. [Accessed 15 March 2021].