The Step Is To Determine Whether Cash Flows Are Relevant. Save Your Small Business – 10 Crucial Strategies to Survive Hard Times Or Close Down & Move On

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Save Your Small Business – 10 Crucial Strategies to Survive Hard Times Or Close Down & Move On

If ever there was a business book, Save Your Small Business: 10 Key Strategies to Survive Tough Times or Shut Up and Move On by Ralph Warner and Bethany K. Laurence, this is it. Promoted as a small business survival guide, Warner and Laurence provide simple, no-nonsense steps that can make all the difference in running, saving or, if necessary, shutting down your small business. Running a small business has always been difficult, but right now it can be brutally excruciating, if not downright terrifying. This guide can only provide you with information on how to turn today’s bad economy or future bad economy into opportunities so that in good times your business will be ready to thrive.

The book begins by claiming to be your small business companion and recommends that you create a business survival plan, prepare a current profit and loss statement and cash flow analysis, and establish an advisory board. It delves into chapters that will provide you with tools to help you decide whether it makes sense to continue, hibernate, close, or sell your business, and offers some strategies you can implement to get your business back on track.

Chapter One: Can You Save Your Business? This chapter discusses topics such as short-term and long-term planning, selling your business, hibernating your business, and rescuing your business. It also looks at some special considerations for retailers, services, construction, restaurants, wholesalers and importers, and franchises.

Chapter Two: Don’t Ignore Bad News. They discuss why you can’t wait, cost cutting, changing direction, giving up and selling. There are also strategies about determining how much to cut costs and slowly trying to reverse the cuts.

Chapter Three: Control Your Cash Flow. This area can be one of the most important, especially for small businesses. Topics include: paying bills on time, how to generate more cash, and what not to do, such as using merchant cash advances, credit card maxing out, and home equity loans.

Chapter Four: Reduce Your Debt Liability. Are you personally liable for business debts? Liability for joint debt. What can creditors do if you don’t pay? Prioritizing debt payments, including wages, taxes, utilities and more.

Chapter Five: Focus on What Really Pays Off. Face it, the goal of business is to make a profit. This chapter looks at getting a quick money plan on paper, making money in a service business, and making money in retail or manufacturing. It’s a short chapter, but if it gets you thinking about making a profit, it’s done its job.

Chapter Six: Innovation on a leash. This chapter discusses invention, copying, chance, and turning innovation into a continuous process. This chapter might get you thinking about the next amazing gadget that every household must have. Depending on your business, this may be what you need.

Chapter Seven: Identify Your Customers. Before you can create an effective marketing plan, you need to know who your likely customers are. This chapter is about aiming at a target and completing a target. Topics include current customers, needs, pricing, access and experience.

Chapter Eight: Don’t waste money on ineffective marketing. If only we knew which of our marketing efforts are producing the best results. This chapter helps you determine things about your marketing such as: advertising the right products or services to the right people, not spending big dollars on advertising, asking for support from long-term customers, encouraging customers to refer your company, effectively using a paid list, marketing on your own website page and maintaining “try to stay in business” sales.

Chapter Nine: Handle layoffs fairly—and keep the best people. Firing people is often one of the most dreaded tasks for a business owner. This chapter provides guidance in this area by looking at: making a wise layoff plan, layoff logistics, and keeping the great people you hire. Some very good advice for this unfortunate part of the job.

Chapter Ten: Don’t Do Too Much. What? If your business falters, you have to work harder, right? This chapter deals with the importance of a healthy schedule and how to work less and earn more. Priorities and delegation are keys the authors discuss.

Chapter Eleven: Work with Your Best Competitors. The four areas covered in this chapter include: treating competitors with respect, doing business with competitors, working for competitors, and working with competitors.

Chapter Twelve: How to Close Your Business. Most people don’t want this to ever happen, but the reality is that it does. This chapter offers some good strategies if you decide it’s time to close the business and do something else. Topics include things like building a closing team, reviewing contractual obligations, dealing with landlords, collecting invoices and selling inventory, notifying and paying employees, liquidating assets, notifying creditors and customers, paying debts, paying taxes, and dissolving your business entity. This is not a pleasant topic, but unfortunately it is important if you find yourself in a situation where you have to go in this direction. The book provides guidance in this process.

Chapter Thirteen: Dealing with Debt: Bankruptcy and Its Alternatives. An introductory chapter on these topics with good advice, but you’ll need more resources if you decide to file for bankruptcy, or better yet, seek advice from a qualified professional.

Appendix A provides guidelines for preparing a profit and loss forecast and cash flow analysis. There are certainly more complete references on these, but these short, bare-bones basics will get you started and at least help you determine where you stand.

“Save Your Small Business” is a good guide for struggling small business owners and also provides information for small business owners who don’t want to fall on hard times. Business education is crucial to the success of a small business. This is another Nolo title that will hopefully help small business owners survive, but also help them liquidate and close with less pain if that’s the way to go.

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