While you are saying this you are in denial and valuable time is passing by. Rather face reality. “If it walks like a duck, and it talks like a duck, it is not an eagle,” says Bill Gibson, director of Knowledge Brokers International (KBI). Succeed asked how he would get out of a cash flow crisis:
Do not waste time and energy on trying to figure out how it happened or who is to blame. You can do that later. Focus all your resources on correcting the short-term cash flow problem.
Be proactive with your creditors
Visit or call them and explain your situation. Ask for a specific payment or non-payment plan over the next 60 to 90 days. It is simply a matter of scheduling payments that both you and the creditors can live with. Get the payments as low as possible with a commitment to increase the payments if things get better. Find out the minimum payments your creditors can accept. Perhaps you can even just pay interest. Tell them you will phone at the end of the month to inform them what you can pay. Ask them to not phone you in the first three weeks. That way you can devote all your time and energy to bringing in the cash, rather than handling calls from creditors which depletes your time and energy. I am not suggesting that you misuse your creditors, but facts are facts. If you owe a large amount of money to creditors it is not just your problem, it is also theirs. They want to see you stay afloat. Swallow your pride and invite them to help. You will be surprised at the solutions with which they may come up.
Be proactive with your debtors
Sit down face-to-face with all clients who owe you money. Offer a discount of 10% to those who can pay much faster than normal.
Negotiate payment advances
Ask for advances of 30% to 100% on jobs that you are doing. This could carry you through the tough period. The last two months before year-end large companies, parastatals and government departments often have budgets they have not spent. If they do not spend the money, it is not carried over to the next financial year and so they often pay in advance.
Do not waste timeand energy on trying to figure out how it happened or who is to blame
Be sales oriented
Every single person who works for the company has to be sales oriented. Reg Wightman, the owner of a building supply dealership, one day accompanied his truck driver on a delivery. He walked around the site and talked to various people working on the job. When he left the site he had a bigger order than when he arrived. It made him realise that the person doing the delivery is also really a salesperson, so he rearranged his whole operation. He delegated a lot of his responsibilities as manager to other employees so he could be on the delivery truck a lot more. His sales increased markedly.
Find innovative ways to sell
Terry Stalker is the owner of a bed company. He decided to place lamps, comforters and sheets in his delivery trucks so that his delivery people could sell them when doing deliveries. Installers were also trained to look around the house and report any needs they noted in terms of furniture. A few days later, one of the salespeople would give the client a call saying, “Well, our driver was at your home and he noticed you seemed to need…” They got a lot of add-on sales that way. When you have a cash crisis you need to find innovative ways to sell.
Last resort moves
* Take your short–term debts, such as lines of credit, promissory notes, credit card balances, income tax and supplier balances, and try and get a consolidation loan. Spread the payments over three years. This frees up monthly capital and lowers your monthly overheads. It might cost more in terms of interest in the long run, but it could be the short-term fix needed to get you out of trouble.
* Consider offering shares in your company to major creditors to wipe out all or part of the balance you owe. Have a good buy-back clause.
* Sell your receivables at a discount to the company that buys receivables.
* Use equity in your home with a second bond to pay off some of the debts.
* Consider a financially sound co-signer for a large consolidation loan. In return, you could put that person on your payroll for an agreed amount until the debt is paid.
* Seek advice from business owners who survived cash flow problems.