Part of our You Belong in Business podcast

Photo of Karen Henninger and Lauren Stoope.

It’s been a volatile year to manage cash flow. Here’s how other businesses are doing it.

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Karen Henninger began the year knowing she’d rely on just three months—August, September, and October—to generate a whopping one-fifth of her revenue for a two-year cycle.

That’s because Henninger, chief financial officer of Henninger Media Services Inc., knows precisely when the next election will arrive and, with it, a spike in demand for her broadcast media services from political clients in Washington, D.C.

Then the pandemic hit, leaving the D.C.-area business owner wondering how it would affect election-year advertising and her ability to capitalize on it. Her calendar suddenly is riddled with cash-flow uncertainty.

The challenge: How can a business stay nimble and proactive with cash flow in a tough economy?

Lauren Stroope also wrangles with business seasonality as office manager of Stroope Honey Farms in Pearland, Texas, which sells honey and provides bees to pollinate crops.

Henninger and Stroope operate in radically different industries but both represent the second generation in a family business that must stay proactive about managing cash flow.

A few cash-flow lessons from their experiences

Reduce tax burden

Stroope Honey Farms enjoyed a surge in sales early in the pandemic—four times the expected sales in April. Sales have since returned to normal, but Stroope knew she’d need to alleviate the extra business tax burden. She purchased necessary equipment (trucks, tractors) and extra packaging in case of supplier shortages later in the year.

Federal stimulus

Both businesses secured a Paycheck Program (PPP) forgivable loan. “We wanted to keep our staffing in place to be prepared for the fall when we expect business to increase tremendously,” Henninger says. For Stroope, PPP helps mitigate risk for the rest of 2020 for a range of factors, including bad weather.

Timing

Henninger overcame a bankruptcy 17 years ago, which helped prepare her for this crisis. The business is a leaner operation today. Henninger knows the importance of timing expenses with cash receipts while staying patient and calm. She refers to business cash flow as a “puzzle.” “You have to be really on top of fitting those puzzle pieces together to get it to work right,” she says.

Listen to the full You Belong in Business podcast episode for more cash-flow lessons from Henninger and Stroope, who share the conversation with Polina Engel, a business specialist for Principal®.

What's next?

  • Reach out to your trusted business financial professional or seek one through Principal.
  • Check out our resources to help businesses through this challenging year.

This podcast provides educational information only with the understanding that Principal® and its employees are not offering legal, accounting, investment or tax advice. Business owners should consult with their counsel or other advisors when making business decisions.

Guests are not compensated for their appearance and Principal does not endorse the businesses of its guests. Some guests may own Principal products or use our services. Unless noted otherwise, none of our guests are affiliated with Principal, Des Moines Iowa.