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October 28, 2013 — A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Doran Fluckiger, WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, Southwest Wyoming regional director
“Please help me with my struggling business. Can you offer any advice?” Mena, Riverton
Business ownership is challenging, and overcoming economic downturns can be overwhelming. Day-to-day operation of any business can be stressful. The stress level rises when cash is limited to operate the business.
Where should a business owner turn to find solutions to his or her cash flow dilemma? The steps below are suggestions for beginning that process.
Isolate the problem: A solution cannot be determined until the problem is identified. To identify the problem, all revenues and expenses must be analyzed. Fluctuations in revenues and expenses must be monitored to determine what is causing the major changes. Isolating the problem may require the assistance of a bookkeeper or CPA.
Ask the experts: Every business is different, requiring each businessman to have a different perspective for resolving potential business problems. Start by asking those that provide free insight such as the Small Business Development Center; SCORE, (www.sba.gov/content/score), which helps grow successful small businesses; bankers; and existing business owners. If you don’t find the insight you feel your business needs, consider hiring a CPA or financial planner. Take the advice extracted from the experts and create the business plan you want to implement.
Adjust management: Continuing to operate as you have in the past will not deliver different results. Management must implement the changes created from the business plan. Implementing changes takes time and can be uncomfortable for everyone involved. Assure that the changes implemented affect your cash flow positively by analyzing the revenues and expenses.
The steps for helping a struggling business seem simple, but are often overlooked. Some businesses wait to address cash flow shortages until they have too much debt to qualify for help. If your business is struggling, seek immediate help by isolating the problem, look for expert advice and adjust your management.
A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.
The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.