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Challenges for small businesses coping with debt

Business Debt

06 Mar Challenges for small businesses coping with debt

Risk is part of running a business. You can’t easily plan for recession, natural disasters or other negative events, because if you take a too-cautious approach then you’ll never succeed. But sometimes the odds will go against you.

If you find yourself unexpectedly further in debt than you’d like, don’t panic. There are options available but they require action. If you sit back passively and wait for the worst to happen, it just might.

So take action. Manage what you owe before it becomes unmanageable. Here are some useful tips to help you take control of your debts.

Understand your situation and take action

If you’re facing increasing debt, take action instead of hoping for the best. If you fail to make payments on your debts, the consequences are often disastrous. They can include loss of employees, seizure of stock and costly court cases brought by your creditors.

Potentially worse than that is the risk of government intervention. If you fail to pay the taxes you owe, the government will come after their money.

Depending on where you live in the world, governments have the authority to get their money any way they can. They can seize your business assets, help themselves to the contents of your bank account, declare you bankrupt and even take personal assets such as your house or car. Sometimes this can be done without even a court hearing.

So stay sharp and aware of your situation. Use good quality accounting software to keep a close eye on your outstanding debt and monthly payments. This information should be at your fingertips at all times.

After that, your priorities will depend on the type of business you run and how flexible your suppliers are willing to be. The following payment priorities are suggestions, but the actual order is for you to decide:

 

  • Payroll
    If you don’t pay your employees’ wages on time you may be penalised for this. You may be able to renegotiate contracts with some staff, but that’s likely to affect their morale.
  • Suppliers and business partners
    Avoid losing valuable goodwill with your most loyal suppliers and business partners.
  • Aged payables (60 days or more)
    If you don’t pay, your credit score will be impacted, which will affect your ability to borrow money in the future.
  • Bills
    Outgoing costs such as rent and utility bills need to be paid to keep the lights on! And again, not paying these could affect your credit rating.
  • Secured debts
    If you run your business as a sole proprietor or partnership, you might be held personally liable for debts, and creditors could try to take your assets. This is one good reason to form a corporation or limited liability company.
  • Insurance
    Especially professional indemnity and public liability cover.
  • Credit cards
    Avoid penalties or interest charges as these can pile up quickly.

 

Ref : www.xero.com

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