Starting a small business isn’t easy—or cheap. Even the most well-organized and generously funded business can quickly run into cash flow problems, so it’s hardly surprising that many small companies experience debt problems, particularly during phases of growth. So if you find yourself facing a mountain of debt, what can you do?
Try cutting your costs
If you can reduce what you spend, you will also cut your debt and boost your profitability. All the little things add up, from what you pay your broadband provider to what you spend on stationery. If your suppliers aren’t offering competitive prices or terms of business, you should consider changing providers—the savings could be substantial.
Work on your business relationships
Of course, it could be foolish to throw away the relationships you have with your existing suppliers. If you’re struggling with debt, they may be able to help out with discounts or might be willing to extend your payment deadlines. Similarly, you should work on your relationships with your customers, focusing on upselling and diversifying.
Consider consolidating your debt
Most businesses have a number of loans, which can cause some confusion in forecasting cash flow due to different due dates and varying interest rates. If you consolidate your loans, you can bundle them into a single, larger loan repaid on one day of the month, giving you far greater predictability. Further, you can take advantage of the historically low base rate to secure a lower interest rate and save yourself some cash.
Talk to alternative lenders
Alternative lenders can offer a number of innovative debt financing solutions not available from banks, as well as offering a more streamlined application process. Take out asset-based finance and you can borrow against the value of your plant, premises or equipment – and because the loan is secured, the interest rate will be competitive and the finance company won’t need to pore over years of accounts, cash flow projections and tax returns before making a decision. Alternatively, with invoice factoring or discounting you can borrow against your invoices as soon as you issue them, with repayment being made when your customers pay you. Opt for factoring and the finance company will take control of your debtor ledger and assign experienced credit control professionals to secure early payment, whilst with invoice discounting you retain control of your own accounts payable.
Don’t be afraid to seek debt advice
If the figures aren’t adding up and you’re struggling, don’t be too proud to seek professional advice. Whether you talk to a debt charity, a business mentor or an independent financial advisor, you will be able to benefit from informed, impartial advice on what to do next – and how to stop debt from capsizing your business.
Author: Carl Faulds is the managing director of Cashsolv, Carl offers advice and alternative finance support to overcome cash flow problems and identify possible underlying problems that can be addressed to ensure a positive future for your business.