I recently wrote about ways to ensure timely payment from larger corporate accounts. If you follow my 14 guidelines, the cash management side of your business will be less difficult. That said, there are times in any business when cash flow lessens, and sometimes even disappears, and in that case you can have a big problem.
Before we begin, I implore you to always follow this rule:
Never Run Out of Money
All successful business owners know that you need to analyze, understand and get in front of impeding cash flow problems. Never wait until the last minute to act because the day you cannot pay your employees and/or the day Sysco moves your account to COD can be disastrous. You should be savvy enough to know well in advance when cash trouble is lurking.
And one more thing--crises are not the time for in-depth analyses of what got you where you are. There's plenty of time for mea culpas after you have found a way to stay in business. Absolutely do not dwell on your company's fragile condition; instead, spend all of your energy figuring out how to raise cash.
Following are two very important, ad helpful, client-proven methods for creating cash flow:
1) Put off paying bills. This may seem obvious, but you may be surprised that those vendors you previously labeled "unlikely to help" may give you a break.
a) If your $10,000 rent is due on the first of the month, for example, walk into the landlord’s office with four post-dated $2500.00 checks due over the next four weeks. And don't blame yourself for the problem; tell the landlord that business is great but collections have slowed, all issues are temporary, and you will be back on track shortly. Chances are that he or she will take your money.
b) Tell every supplier that you have a temporary problem and need more time to pay. Make personal visits to vendor credit managers and possibly contact someone higher-up. True deadbeats who intend to disappear rarely show up at the credit manager's office, and if you carefully tell your story, your candidness and forthrightness will be appreciated.
2) Have a meeting with your employees and ask if any of them are capable of making you a short-term loan. Again, you may be surprised at the results. If your credit cards are maxed, your employees' may not be.
In my next post, we’ll discuss four more tactics that you can use to help create cash flow in times of need.
Michael Rosman is founder of The Corporate Caterer, a membership website, training and consulting company for caterers and restaurateurs and who want to launch, or grow their corporate drop-off catering business. Michael has over thirty years of experience in the industry and has built an almost two million dollar a year corporate drop-off catering operation from the ground up. Michael can be reached directly at: [email protected].