Hunkering Down

How entrepreneurs are adjusting to a dire business climate

A $700 billion bailout hasn't done much to help entrepreneurs get the loans they need to build their businesses. So until the credit situation eases, financial planning, for many, boils down to just one thing: managing cash.

In this issue, we've got plenty of info to help you do just that. In CashFix, columnist Monica Mehta offers a primer on how to draw up a pro forma cash-flow statement. Then she addresses a scary question—What happens if your customers can't pay?—and helps with the sleuthing to make sure you're not left empty-handed. In "How To Survive a Cash Crunch," correspondent Jill Hamburg Coplan offers 10 strategies to bolster your cash position, should it look dicey.

Which leads us to our Special Report on philanthropy, edited by Staff Writer Amy S. Choi. It may seem incongruous to be writing about donations to nonprofits when many small businesses are in danger of becoming nonprofits themselves. But support of a worthy cause doesn't have to be a one-sided affair, as the business owners in these stories show. Some are donating time or excess inventory; others are making a big impact with a modest cash outlay. Jason Linkow, for example, raised $65,000 for melanoma research last year, but spent only $200 out of pocket. After reading about how he did it, maybe you'll be inspired to do something similar in your community.

Here's wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.

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