What is Working Capital?

No matter what business you’re in, you’ve probably heard the term “working capital” before. But what exactly is it, and why is it so important? Let’s explore the ins and outs of working capital and why it matters for your business.

First things first, let’s define what we mean by working capital. Simply put, working capital is the amount of money a business has available to cover its day-to-day operations. It’s calculated by subtracting a company’s current liabilities from its current assets. For example:

$120,000 in current assets – $70,000 in current liabilities = $50,000 in working capital

Current assets include things like cash, inventory, prepaid expenses, and accounts receivable, while current liabilities include things like accounts payable, customer deposits (gift cards), and short-term debt.

So, why is working capital so important? Well, for one thing, it’s essential for keeping your business running smoothly. Without enough working capital, you may not be able to pay your bills on time, meet payroll obligations, or purchase the inventory you need to keep your business going. But working capital is about more than just keeping the lights on. It’s also a key indicator of a company’s financial health. If a business has negative working capital, for example, it may be a sign that they’re struggling to meet their obligations and could be at risk of bankruptcy. 

On the other hand, having too much working capital can also be a problem. If a business is sitting on a lot of cash or inventory that isn’t being used, it’s essentially tying up resources that could be used for other purposes, like investing in new equipment or expanding the business.

Wondering how much working capital your business needs? That can depend on a variety of factors, including the industry you’re in, the size of your business, and the stage of growth you’re in. Generally speaking, businesses should aim to maintain enough working capital to cover at least a few months’ worth of expenses.

One way to improve your working capital is to manage your cash flow more effectively. This might include things like negotiating better payment terms with your vendors, offering discounts to customers who pay early, or using technology to speed up your invoicing and payment processes.

Curious about how working capital fits into your business valuation? Chat with one of your experienced Intermediaries today!

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