Increasing rates of interest and corporate debts are the major concerns for most investors and small businesses. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), bad credit management, little money and personal use of business funds are the key reasons why small businesses nosedive. If your small business doesn’t have the money to pay for the basic expenses like utilities or payroll, you can quickly get into delinquency or, something less good, bankrupt.
There are many proven hacks to stable the overall financial health of your business and effectively paying down your business debt. Start with getting rid of additional outlays, reconstruct debts via a third party, and create a debt repayment plan to help manage your bills before they become uncontrollable.
Predicting or foreseeing the future is impossible; however, there are smart moves you can take. If you’re troubled with debt, now is the right time to act smart and try to pay it down, pay it off, or restructure it. Here are seven proven hacks you can try to stamp out your small business debt. To start, let’s learn what a small business debt is.
What Is Business Debt?
A business debt is a money owed by a business owner to third parties and it becomes untenable when the business owner unable to repay it back on time and in full.
Excessive debt can stifle cash flow and put your business at risk and there could be many reasons for it. You need funding to leverage an opportunity but the business is not generating enough organic revenue to cover the expense. To manage that, you take out a loan. Then the business opportunity winds up not swinging your way. Now your business carries additional debt, but your small business isn’t generating any additional revenue.
Accumulating more debt that you’re unable to repay is frightening, but there is a solution. Some debt management tips are distinct, while some are more intricate. Here’s a summary of what you should do in order to get your business back on track from a load of scary debt.
- Revision of Budgets
A solid understanding of your business financials is important before tackling debt. Assess your budgets and their performance. Track where the money is being spent and how it is spent. A good business budget provides a clear picture of your expenses and income that helps in making vital business decisions.
Get help from your bookkeeper or accountant to assess and rework your budget. There are also nonprofit associations like the SCORE Association that provides free counseling, advice, and online workshops on business budgeting. You can also use accounting software like Sage, Wave Accounting and QuickBooks to track the money flow in your business and to make the process even easier.
Evaluating and revising your budget should be your first step towards eliminating your business debt.
- Cut Down Costs
The next step after revising the budget is to review your operating costs. Analyze what expenses you can cut down and settle for services and operations that are compulsory for the daily business operation.
Start reviewing every little thing like subscriptions you rarely use, memberships you can hold off temporarily, renegotiation of low prices and flat rates with vendors, or stop advertising on channels that yield little return. Every little cost accumulates into considerable business debt.
Review your financial statements to identify expenses that add to your debt. Cutting these little costs is a guaranteed way to reduce debt and in turn, increase cash flow.
- Pay with Cash
Reorganizing how you pay for expenses can also help you with your business debt load. If you carry on to use a business credit card to make the purchases or pay for expenses, you’re only increasing your debt—putting you always in worry about how to pay it off. The best way to manage your expenses is to pay them via cash or cash equivalents such as checks temporarily, as per your budget, which can allow you to buy only what you can afford. This not only prevents debt accumulation but also helps to eliminate procuring new debt. This might not be a suitable option for many—especially when you’re planning to restructure your debt. While restructuring debt, you really want to have money on hand to look favorable to lenders. Think carefully before choosing this option as your debt elimination goals.
- Converse with Suppliers & Lenders
Having a conversation with your creditors and lenders can also help reduce your debt load or interest over time.
Start with negotiating for lower interest rates with them. For credit cards, you can do this by transferring existing balances to a 0% introductory APR credit cards that offer a lower interest rate. For loans, discuss your options with lenders for flexibility. If you’re making regular timely payments, you can also negotiate lower rates. The second step is to consolidate your loans into one payment in order to lower your monthly costs without hurting your credit. This option will surely comfort your repayment load and help keep you away from going default.
Applying for a hardship plan is also an option. Such plans offer lower interest rates and payment extensions. Applying for this involves explaining your current financial situation with evidence that you need support to meet your debt obligations.
- Develop a Debt Repayment Schedule
If you’re unable to consolidate your debt and still have flabbergasted interest rates with lenders, develop a solid repayment plan for your debt. Creating a debt repayment can help you envisage and repay your debt strategically.
Whether you’re down with a credit card debt or loan, the interest rate on each can seriously hinder your capability to successfully repay the principal loan amount. So, start with paying the high-interest-rate loans first, also called the “target debt.” Paying for such high-interest debt will surely save you time and money in the end.
Whether it’s $500 or $10,000 amount, the first stack payment should be used over your minimum payment toward the high-interest loan each pay period till that debt is reimbursed.
After your first loan is paid off, made stack payment to the debt with the next-highest interest. Keep paying the following debts, and so on until the last debt is paid. Certainly, following this debt schedule strictly requires practice and scrutiny but ultimately, you’ll see your debt load disappearing soon.
- Upsurge Your Revenue
In simple terms, the more money you make the quicker you can repay. Making more revenue will help you to eliminate your small business debt speedily. Here are some tips to help you increase your business revenue:
- Diversify your offerings by adding more products or services, reach out to potential customer base via targeted marketing, and tap new niche markets to earn more money.
- A little increase in prices can help generate more money, but ensure you communicate this to your potential customers and ask will they buy before the price rise. On the contrary, you can also offer discounts and markdowns, especially for your repeat customers, in order to boost sales. Also, ascertain you don’t cut prices too much that you won’t cover the lost cost with more sales.
- Follow up on your accounts receivables for payments and offer them discounts or rewards for paying fees upfront.
- Offer product/service bundle packages to entice your customers to buy more from you. Create a campaign for a limited time offer, or subscriber-only deals can also bring in more monthly revenue.
- Check for suppliers to return your unsold inventory. This way you can have more space for the inventory that might actually sell and increase your revenue.
- Examine things that you don’t use and try to sell it to those who might buy it.
- Leverage social media platforms to increase your revenue. Build up your business presence, start brand awareness campaigns, and solicit feedback from customers. Things, like answering to user’s comments or encouraging them to review your business, will assist in revenue generation later.
- Think of other things you can do to earn quick money. Like leasing out a portion of your building, working remotely to save rent cost, become a market research participant, sell used tech or assets on Craigslist, or become creative with your assets to bring about more revenue.
- Get Help from a Debt-Restructuring Company
If the above-mentioned hacks are not working for you, it’s time to ask help from a professional debt-restructuring firm to do the job for you. Hiring a debt-restructuring firm will help in sniffing out inefficiencies and negotiating better terms with creditors and business debt collection agencies.
Such debt-restructuring firms charge little fees, but it’s typically an affordable alternative to the bankruptcy filing and will help in rebuilding your credit. Have a candid conversation with your firm on what you can afford to pay each month so that you can formulate a debt settlement plan that works for you as well as your creditors. While selecting a debt-restructuring firm, look for accreditations from the United States Organization for Bankruptcy Alternatives or the Turnaround Management Association in order to avoid scammers (at an additional fee and you to be in default on several credit agreements).
If nothing works out for you, you have options. You can sell your business, liquidate assets, or file for bankruptcy. But with any luck, it doesn’t have to come to that. By using the above-mentioned hacks, you should be able to lower, and eventually, stamp out your business debt.