In business, there's no such thing as a certainty. One day, things could be going great, and the next day you're in a financial crisis. There could be any number of reasons for this: someone could have died who was crucial to the business, there could have been a natural disaster which destroyed your data storage, you could have a PR nightmare on your hands like BP or Target, or your industry simply hit a downturn. Whatever the reason for the crisis, it's important to take steps to ensure your survival. Here are several that come to mind right away:
Don't Do Anything Rash: Before you do anything, you might want to meditate for a few minutes. No seriously, making a decision when you're emotional could cause you to make the wrong one. Take a breath and seek counsel from others who can ascertain the situation with a clear head. However, do know that the ultimate decision will need to come from you.
Identify the Root Cause of the Problem: Okay, obviously if you have an earthquake and your business suffers structural damage, you know that you'll need to fix the damaged walls, but can you do something to make sure this never happens again? If poor customer service is causing you to lose employees, do you need to retrain your employees or reconsider where you're putting your assets? If you need to remarket yourself, are there viable PR strategies or community outreach opportunities to give you positive press? By pinpointing where exactly you're losing money, you can resolve the problem to hopefully avoid any more bleeding.
Secure Cash: It's imperative that you still make payroll for your employees. There are a number of different penalties from the IRS if you aren't able to make your payroll. Can you liquefy in any way to raise capital quickly? If you eliminate some staff, will that save you enough money to save other jobs and cover payroll. Do you need to take out a quick turnaround loan just to stabilize yourself for the moment? By all means, do whatever you can to secure enough in cash to maintain your operations and payroll, even if that means becoming a smaller company. It makes more sense to live another day as a small company than die a larger one.
Seek Help from Professionals: If you feel overwhelmed by the current financial state of your business, there might be a way out that you're not seeing. A company that specializes in business crisis management can help you pinpoint where the problem is and offer you viable solutions that you can implement right away. This includes a reduction of business costs and quick turnaround plan. However, if there really is no hope, it can also help you with the bankruptcy proceedings, so you know what rights and protections you have.
There's no question that being a financial crisis is scary for any business. However, all hope isn't lost. Remember these things to help you as you attempt to pick yourself up by your bootstraps.