Maintaining a healthy level of cash flow is central to financial success as a business owner. When your customers purchase a good or service, whether by cash or credit, you use those funds to keep your company running by addressing your own expenses, such as labor, utilities, repairs, you name it. But with the consumer price index soaring to a 30-year high in October — a 6.2% increase from a year earlier, according to data from the Department of Labor — your cash flow may be adversely affected if soaring prices result in a sales slowdown.

Consequently, in such cases it becomes that much more important to keep tabs on your cash flow so inflation doesn't take a toll on your business's finances. Here are a few tips on how to more effectively manage the money coming into and out of your business:

1. Consider selling products or services on a subscription basis
As seasonal businesses can attest, purchase activity can wax and wane depending on the time of year. A great way to get more sales consistency is by offering customers what you sell through a subscription. As recommended by Forbes, a subscription model can be a great deal both for you and your customers: They get more of what they need or want throughout the year — typically at a lower per-unit price than they would if they made a single purchase — while your company generates more cash flow on a month-to-month basis. This model also can help your business be more competitive by matching what your customers are used to, in terms of selling price or merchandise selection, from rival organizations.

2. Evaluate what you spend on a yearly basis
It's fairly commonplace to think about what you spend to keep your business operating on a monthly basis, or even weekly. Instead, calculate what your costs are over an entire year, Forbes advised. This way, you'll have a better understanding of how much money you need on hand over the long term so you can make the necessary accounting, spending or operational adjustments when the flow of revenue isn't as consistent as it is in other times of the year.

Central to business success is cash flow management.Central to business success is cash flow management.

3. Evaluate your wiggle room
When it comes to payments, creditors and vendors typically fall into one of two categories: those that have a hard deadline on when a debt is due and those that offer some leeway. When cash is tight, it doesn't hurt to ask creditors if it's OK to pay them later, the Baltimore Business Journal advised. Even when you're in good shape cash flow wise, it's worth asking this question so you can better prioritize your various bill payments and invoices.

4. Offer discounts to customers that pay right away
There are a variety of advantages for when customers pay up front, the most obvious one being that it enables you to take care of your cost concerns right away. As such, make it worth your customers' while to pay at the point of purchase, as the Baltimore Business Journal further suggested. You can do so by offering a percentage discount or if they buy items in bulk.

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