At every stage of development, cash flow is essential to a company’s growth. When businesses aren’t sure how much money will come in each month, they tend to be more focused on surviving than growing. Sales are always unpredictable, though, keeping businesses from ever achieving reliable cash flow.
Recurring billing is a great way to make sure cash comes in each month. Magazines and utility companies have found reliability in their subscription-based models, as long as the majority of their customers pay on time each month. In recent years, businesses in a variety of industries have found a way to introduce recurring billing into their own profit models, finding great success.
For entrepreneurs coming up with an idea for a new business, the benefits of recurring billing should be a consideration. Certain types of service-based businesses naturally fit with recurring revenue models, promising reliable cash flow each month. Many software companies now steer customers toward paying a small, monthly price for their solutions instead of paying when they purchase the software for the first time. The company benefits from a reliable monthly rate rather than getting the money once every few years when the customer decides to upgrade to the latest version.
For any service-based business, the key to recurring revenue is to offer a service a customer would need monthly. Businesses like landscaping companies find that customers only need their services in the warm spring and summer months, with that need disappearing in the fall. Extending services by offering leaf cleanup and lawn treatment is one way to keep monthly revenue coming in. Some seasonal companies even shift their services to wintertime alternatives like tree trimming and holiday decorating.
Subscribe and Save
Customers on Amazon have seen some sellers offer a subscribe and save option for items that might necessitate preorders on a regular basis. Items like vitamins, beauty supplies, coffee, and pet food can be set up to automatically ship for a monthly fee, with sellers shaving a small amount off the price for customers who accept this option.
Businesses can set this same option up through their own websites. Cost savings is only one benefit to purchasing this way. When customers can count on regularly-needed items to show up at their homes on a weekly or monthly basis, those customers can focus on more important things.
Monthly Subscription Boxes
At one time, monthly subscriptions were reserved for magazines and Christmas gift items like “jelly of the month” clubs. However, the subscription box markethas taken off in recent years as businesses in all industries have found a way to box items up and send them to customers. Members can sign up to have a box filled with new clothing, dinner preparations, and even dog treats sent to them in the mail each month.
Not all businesses lend themselves to the subscription box model, but for new companies or companies that have compatible products, it can be a great way to set up recurring billing. Customers can try out different products and decide what they like and businesses benefit from the security that comes from having multiple customers committing to pay a set amount each month.
Some businesses have found a lucrative market in the rental space. Consumers can now rent everything from designer purses to cocktail dresses, giving them the opportunity to use items temporarily that they wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. Rent the Runway offers an unlimited option that lets frequent borrowers rent as many dresses and accessories as they want each month for one price.
Even if a business can’t turn the rental concept into an idea that brings in recurring revenue, rental customers are more likely to return for more items once they’ve learned how easy and affordable it is. In the case of high-dollar handbags, for instance, a customer is likely to trade one fashionable handbag in for another once the rental time is up. This long-term loyalty can easily bring in sustainable income for a business.
Recurring billing is a great way to ensure reliable income, giving business owners confidence that they’ll have the funds necessary to pay bills and keep operations going. When entrepreneurs can find a way to make a subscription model work for them, they can begin building a loyal client base that will pay each month while they work to move their businesses to the next phase.