Consider the following scenario: You suddenly find yourself without work. There’s enough money in the bank to cover your next mortgage payment and feed yourself for a couple of weeks, but precious little else. You’ve got a laptop and an Internet connection, but no money to buy new stock or raw materials. What would you do? Could you turn things around?
OK, the above setup might appear a little apocalyptic — but how many small business owners have found themselves in a situation where money is so tight, it’s difficult to know what direction to take?
The Cash Flow Hustle
Your business might be booming, but if cash flow is restricted, everything can turn sour really quickly. It just takes a few late invoices, an unexpected bill or the business failure of a supplier or customer to upset the apple cart.
In scenarios like this, you’ve just got to hustle.
Seven Entrepreneurial Magic Tricks
Here are my seven tips to turning things around and, with a little entrepreneurial magic, creating something from nothing.
- Liquidate Everything: If it’s not bolted down — sell it. Old stock, unused plant and machinery, and even the shelves they sit on (along with various other items of office equipment) hold some value. Online auction sites and even flea markets/car boot sales can help you turn old junk into hard cash. At this moment in time, cash is king — so don’t worry if you find yourself sitting on the floor. As long as you’ve got some cash in your pocket — you have choices.
- Dropship: The art of selling products before you take them into stock. It doesn’t cost a single cent to list a product for sale on your website (or even some online marketplaces). Take the money upfront and settle up with your supplier after a sale has been made. If you have an email list — hit it hard with these items of virtual stock.
- Sell Training Services: Exploit your position as the expert in a particular field of expertise. The sale of educational or training services can provide a lucrative business opportunity. If you are a musician — teach piano or guitar. If you are a restaurateur — teach cooking. If you sell bikes — teach bicycle maintenance. Many training services can be delivered digitally (for example: via Skype) — so the cost of delivery can be negligible. Tip: Always insist on payment in advance via an online service like PayPal.
- Email Everyone You Know: Your clients don’t need to know the full scale of your problems. Instead, just let them know that you have some additional capacity to take on extra work and sell them an idea. You might be surprised how many people take you up on the offer.
- Never Ignore a Profit: Sure, there might have been a time when you wouldn’t have gotten out of bed for less than $1,000. But when times are hard, sometimes you’ve just got to swallow your pride and accept any opportunity to make a profit. Don’t be a busy fool, but think twice about turning business away that gives you a workable margin.
- Get a Job: Many entrepreneurs would consider this a bad move — but sometimes taking the pressure off yourself to keep the wheels of commerce turning for a while can be the catalyst to greater things. Just because you are working for someone else doesn’t mean you cannot continue to chase your entrepreneurial dreams. It might just be a case of working the 5 to 9instead of the 9 to 5 for a while.
- Stay Smart: Now is not the time to take stupid risks. Don’t waste your time with get-rich-quick schemes and the promises of easy money. Hustling isn’t about looking for easy options. It’s all about hard work and creative solutions. You knew this when business was booming, so don’t take your eye off the ball and find yourself distracted by charlatans when you’ve really got to put the effort in.
How have you used a little entrepreneurial magic to get yourself out of a financial sticky point? Share your comments below:
This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.
Image: 401(K) 2012