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Restructuring a Problem Company 12 ways to get your troubled business back on track

By Dale M. Galvin

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Your company is in trouble. Your orders are down, your customers don't pay, your employees are scared, and the ATM consistently spits back your card at you with disdain. Certainly you'll have to make some changes if you intend to survive. But what can you do?

Plenty, believe it or not. It may not seem like it now, but it's possible to dig yourself out of that hole and even come back stronger--provided you're willing to commit yourself to making some adjustments in the way you do business. We must warn you, this process is probably not going to be terribly pleasant. But walk yourself through the following 12 steps, in no particular order, and it'll all be worth it.

1. Find out how long you have to live.
You know it's all about the green. It doesn't matter a lick that you are close to profitability or have thousands of satisfied customers if you run out of cash. So if you're not obsessed with your OOC ("out of cash") date, you should be. Write it backward on your bathroom mirror in red lipstick.