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Table: Staying Alive


How to remain afloat until the recovery begins

1. CONSERVE CASH

Prepare a detailed cash budget for the next three months, and stick to it. When deciding to spend, if you can't see an immediate benefit, it's probably not worth the cost.

2. AVOID DEBT

Faced with a crisis, many entrepreneurs take on debt "just in case." But that only adds to your fixed costs. If possible, manage with belt-tightening.

3. REVIEW YOUR CUSTOMERS

Verify creditworthiness before making a sale. Collect outstanding accounts, and stop selling to people who can't pay. Lock in long-term contracts with valued customers.

4. REDOUBLE SALES EFFORTS

This is the wrong time to cut marketing. Be inventive: If you can't afford to advertise, think of other ways to get your name out there.

5. BE WARY

Slumping economies often see a "false bounce." Don't ramp back up until you have a backlog of business.


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