If you are a business owner, you could probably use a bigger number on the positive side of your cash flow. But how do you best accomplish that? You might think the answer is to sell more of your goods and services, and you'd be right. But employing the economic skills honed at the lemonade stand isn’t the only way to succeed in business.
Other strategies for injecting cash into your business don't involve praying for an uptick in sales. You probably offer important things you hadn’t thought of before that might interest a buyer. So, explore these options that you may not have considered previously.
1. Learn about grants
You’ve undoubtedly heard all the ballyhoo about stimulus packages and other nice presents for “job creators.” Well, you are one of those. The grants are there, and the federal government is dying to give you one. Or, let’s just say it's willing to consider doing so after you fill out the paperwork.
A grant is a gift to you for moving your business into the future. It might be for your potential as a job creator in a desired area. It might for employing certain energy-saving measures. Just check it out—maybe your business qualifies for one of these gifts from one of the 26 federal agencies that provide grants.
2. Sell your debt
Banks love buying debt. Even today. Even after banks buying debt is what got the banks and the rest of us into the current global economic meltdown. But while banks have mostly quit absorbing the toxic loans that first sickened them, banks need loans to survive, especially good loans. And your loan—the loan made to a small business with good credit—might look mighty good to them.
If you show a history of having enough money coming in to pay off your loan in a timely manner, you might qualify for a new loan that pays off your current small-business loan at a lower rate. Shopping around for a new loan is not a guarantee of a better deal, but the effort could be worth your time to investigate.
3. Talk to the city, the county, the state
The local government in the area where your business operates has an interest in seeing it succeed. If it does, you might create more jobs. So, the community, the county or the state might give you an ultra-low-interest loan to establish a business, to expand one or even to keep your business afloat. Maybe the local authorities offer tax incentives to encourage you.
The possibilities include tax breaks for locating in gentrifying neighborhoods and resources for getting your store used as a film location, among others. Visit the websites of your local government entities, call up the civic chain and find out what’s available.
4. Move the dead weight
Dead weight means any inventory and equipment that’s taking up space rather than producing income. If you need cash, move the stuff that’s slowing you down.
The longer individuals and businesses stick around in one place, the more stuff they acquire. But no business should go under when it still has stuff, even if it appears useless. Someone, somewhere wants your stuff and will pay you for it. I have yet to find a single thing that cannot be sold on Craigslist.
Although by “dead weight” I don’t mean the employees who are dragging your business under, get rid of them, too.
Move all that dead weight, upgrade your business with the cash you realize and move forward.
Jacob Harper co-founded Vintage Vice, a clothing store and apparel brand in 2006 when he was 23. He sold Vintage Vice in 2009 and the company operates successfully today. He is a writer and teacher, and is currently a head writer of the weekly political sketch show Top Story! Weekly at the iO West in Hollywood.