Create Your Entrepreneur's Essential Backup Plan and Never Panic Again
Staying solvent at your current level is the key to taking your business to the next level.
Your clients are not paying on time, computer problems need attention, and your most productive employee is giving signals that they need a raise.
Late paying clients can be handled. Computer issues can be fixed. An employee who deserves a raise should receive it. You just need a plan. A great receivables employee can coax the slow-paying clients to deliver. Your IT manager can figure out what to do. The employee can be rewarded, sometimes in ways that don't require large amounts of funding.
How do you cope with all of these issues? Think about it. All of the concerns are really stemming from one problem that has multiple aspects. That's right. You need more cash flow, but don't let urgency tempt you to consider plans that might be financially risky.
Find the backup plan you need.
What you really need is money. Money really can solve most business problems. But, you don't want to jump into something that can ultimately cause further angst. Consider a business line of credit. Although you may have thought of it and never applied for one, a business line of credit can remove the tension. If your business has been around long enough for you to have a staff and customers buying your products, then you most likely have temporary needs that can be resolved with a temporary loan.
Here are some approaches to resolving your immediate and future money issues:
Make a list.
What are your immediate, secondary and "if only" needs? The priority is to keep the business running as smoothly as possible. Don't leave any aspect of your concerns out. Close your eyes and think about your facility, employees, customers, products, health plan, working hours -- everything. Write down the ideas immediately. Narrow the list down to the top three to five items that must be accomplished to keep the company on track.
Develop your plan.
Figure out what must be done now. Payroll is critical -- losing valued personnel would impact everything else. Fixing computer issues that prevent the company from receiving funds and processing orders is just as important. If your company manufactures a product, you need to keep your suppliers paid or you'll have nothing to sell.
Brainstorm with key staff. You may need to streamline some approaches, but think of the greater good. Staying solvent and functional is the goal.
Apply for a business line of credit.
Although there are many approaches to finding fast cash, the business line of credit is one of the most flexible. Once approved, you can receive the funds you need as you need them. Use only what you need and pay interest only on that amount for the period of time you use the funds. Pay back the funds when your clients pay you, and you have the full value of the line of credit for a cushion. You don't need to reapply for a loan if you need funds at another time.
Work with your staff to implement the plan.
Some of these ideas may take some time to implement. Your staff will be motivated to put the plan into action. Keep key staff involved so they are committed to following the plan and working through the glitches. Incentives can be incorporated that can motivate those in sales and collection roles to "up their game."
Resolve your issues.
If Sally in sales is a prima donna and, after repeated coaching, she doesn't pull his weight, take a deep breath and terminate her. Pay her what she's due, but be firm. Look for the talented, loyal people and promote them. Sometimes the perks can outweigh the money if someone really wants special privileges. Job satisfaction is often more than just a raise.
Sometimes, just keeping the doors open on a business is a heroic task. As an entrepreneur, your commitment is to take the passion you have for your business and translate that into even greater levels of success. Reviewing and finding ways to streamline, funding the projects and preparing for potential crises, and setting goals are all part of the process.
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