Small Business Failures in America - Cash Flow Issues

We are noticing an increase in the length of time it takes Large corporations to pay on their invoices to our team. Fortune 500s are tending to pay their vendors more slowly, which will hurt the already strapped small businesses in America. These same small businesses employ 2/3 the population and do a great service in supplying the needs of corporations.

At the company I run, The Car Wash Guys, has retail and fleet customers. Retail pay cash, which tends to offset the problems with the extended late payments from fleet accounts. It appears that the corporations are conserving their cash to keep earning up until the next quarter, however this will hurt their long term efforts in that the small businesses who provided real time services and parts will not be able to meet the real time demand and therefore cause cost overruns for the Manufacturing sectors. Therefore decreasing productivity and causing a problem with their efficiency efforts. Who will be hurt worst? Likely high tech non able to perform on time for their industries, and their stockholders in decreased valuations of stocks, which do not hit their earnings guestimatation or quotas. Also hurt will be the retail outlets who need items in the store on time to meet consumer demand. The biggest hurt in the long haul will be all of us in America due to increased small business failures of those operating on a shoe string.

Some of these weak small businesses should be weeded out thru abnormal free market factors such as this slow pay and others who are just working to hit ROIs and pay off loans will be hurt. This hurts interest rates because risk adverse banks stop lending to small businesses. It hurts SBA guaranteed loan programs and that affects all of us. It is serious and will most likely lead to unnecessary laying off of people who make up the largest percentage of American working people. Small businesses represent 2/3 of all American Workers. It think this problem will get worse as CFO look for ways to keep cash as long as possible, by stringing out their receivables. Phone companies, electric companies and other bills must be paid on time by the small businesses, whereas theses companies are notorious for slow pay in tough economic times. It seems to be the little guy who gets it in the shorts, such is life and an acceptable given, yet it also effects us as our customer base is decreasing.

What about the labor and layoffs? As small businesses are unable to employ the lion share of the masses, there will be fewer with money to spend on those items sold by larger corporations.

How does this occur and how are small businesses losing? Slow pay means slow payment of bills and adverse credit scores. Also the 60 days of cash flow in the bank will be used in the float. That float some small businesses can absorb, but some small businesses will be beaten down and become inefficient and cannot last that 60 days and neither can most of the nearly 28 million small businesses in this country that pay their bills, buy products and services and feed the families of their workers.

This is the most serious problem facing the US economy and it is still moving in the wrong direction as of first quarter 2001. This is not good. Historically Car Washing tracks the new car sales markets, so our particular company should be fine. Also as any small business will tell you they must be constantly adapting their methods of operations to those forces, which might be a threat.

"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs

In The News:

Small Business Lifeline  University of Georgia
A guide to getting a small business loan  http://smallbusiness.co.uk
Business briefs  The Hutchinson News

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