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Start-up finances: Understanding the basics of cashflow management

Three start-up business owners tell us how they started to get to grips with the key numbers and how they've adapted as their companies have grown


Where do you start with learning what it means to manage your start-up’s cashflow? Right here.

We spoke to three great small businesses about how they’ve got to grips with being in charge of a start-ups finances.

Founders of small businesses will be all-too-familiar with the administrative burden of having to keep on top of invoices, budgeting and paying bills when they’d much rather be doing something more creative, such as product development or marketing, fulfilling a project, or focused on selling.

But lose sight of the key numbers and you’ll find that whether you have enough cash in the business to pay staff or suppliers will start to loom large.

In the first of our short films about managing cashflow three business owners tell us how they started to realise what it would take to get to grips with finances.

“The financial aspect of a business changes as you go,” says Nelson Sivalingam, founder of lifestyle membership service “At the beginning the only thing that mattered to me was a user signing up and us getting money from the user. I think it’s as you grow you realise the complications once you forecast your growth and you’ve almost got to understand what are the key levers in your business and that will make a significant difference.

Lorna Syson, founder of a high-end textile company bearing her own name, says she – like many people – relied on Excel spreadsheets, but was soon finding it difficult to keep on top of what was coming in and going out.

And Neil Westwood, founder of portable whiteboard on a roll, which first came to the public’s attention when it received investment on Dragons’ Den from Ryman founder Theo Paphitis and Deborah Meaden, admits it’s something he considers a necessary distraction from what he’d like to be doing.

This film was produced in partnership with Sage One. For more business insight and tips to keep on top of cashflow and small business tax visit the Sage business blog

For a free trial of Sage One please visit