Business Today

Keep a Grip on the Cash Flow

Print Edition: Sep 16, 2012

When One97 acquired its first round of funding, I was a twenty-something with virtually no business experience. With the funding, Vibhor Mehra of SAIF partners came on our board. He guided me to the discipline of business planning, which has helped me to this day.

The best advice I got from Vibhor was to keep a grip on the cash flow of the company. Vibhor would say: "You must know what your cash balance was in the bank yesterday evening. You should get the summary of cash in bank, yesterday's money - incoming and outgoing." He also showed me how to monitor monthly numbers, grouping them into three parts: month-on-month change, variance from planned numbers, and the cost line percentage of total revenue. It has become the best snapshot of the company's health and trend, helping us in our business reviews, with all trends and impacts so easily visible.

Another piece of advice I drew from over the years came from my investors. "In any part of world, long-term purpose of a company is to generate free cash flow. Unless you are in business for a punt and trying to get acqua-hired (a company being hired for its team), there is no way out but to create an EBITDA-positive company."

 WORDS OF WISDOM: Personal accounts by 50 of India's corporate leaders
 Schauna ChauhanDhruv Shringi
 Deep Kalra
Sachin Bansal

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