Most of the times, businesses that go into insolvency are taken by surprise on the suddenness of the event. It happens because most small and medium businesses are focused on day-to-day operations and fail to realize that there is something wrong with the larger picture. So, when the hammer finally falls, everyone is surprised and of course devastated by the blow.
While all business owners face challenges at one stage or another in their career, there are some telltale signs that can alert you about big financial troubles. Recognizing these signs also allows them to take corrective actions in time to salvage the situation. In this post, we are sharing the six things that can be a warning that your business might be in trouble.
- Difficulties in raising a new business loan: One of the very first indicator of upcoming financial trouble is the failure to secure a loan or fresh round of financing. If your latest business loan application has taken way too long in processing and eventually gets denied, it is time for some introspection at your SME. Lenders have pretty stringent due diligence processes and may be able to see the problems which you might have overlooked. Sometimes a lender, such as a bank, may tell you that everything is fine and to apply for a business loan again after a while. This happens because the lender does not want to push away a potential customer in hopes that you may be able to sort out the business troubles and will then apply for a fresh loan. So, never take such verbal communication for granted as it is still not a firm commitment.
- Lack of investors or buyers for your company: If you have been trying to sell your business through equity or direct buyouts and fail to find potential buyers, again it is a sign of troubles in your financial and operational situation. Just like financing, potential buyers also have stringent due diligence and value a business based on parameters which may not match with your internal estimations. Furthermore, sometimes a business owner in search for a buyer ends up neglecting the running of the business in the short-term. Which can significantly damage the immediate prospects of a sale and also brings down the value of the business.
- Frequently missing major milestones: As mentioned earlier in the article, every business has its problems and hiccups at some point, but if problems have become a norm at your establishment, it is time for checks and balances. Taking a look at the last one or two years of operations and doing a fair analysis of where you should be versus where you are may help in identifying problems in sales, product development, supply chain, working capital finance, etc. Whatever it may be, you must come up with a steady plan to overcome the problem because investors, lenders and buyers are seldom interested in excuses.
- Discord at the top-tier of management: The C-suite as it is generally called, is the top rung of your establishment. It is here where all the planning and overseeing happens. Sometimes, discord amongst the C-suite employees or surprise departures may also be a sign of things not going well at the company. Someone might have figured out that all is not well and has simply abandoned the ship as it begins to sink. So, whenever you lose a high-ranking employee do not just get into hiring mode, look for the reasons behind the exit as well.
- Accounts payable are way above normal: Accounts payables are one of the best ways to determine your company’s financial and operational health. Your accounts payable let you know about the state of your cash flow. If they keep stacking up, it means you are not generating enough inflow to be able to pay-off the debts, which is never a good sign.
- Very short operational runway: Lastly, most companies overestimate the time that they have got to sort out things. If your operational runway has less than six months remaining, it is a huge red flag and might even be a point of no return for your business. Having six months of cash runway is the minimum you need to get things to work again, if the cash stock falls below that, it is time to weigh your options seriously.
Moving quickly to resolve a financial crisis
If your business displays any of these warning signs, moving as quickly as possible towards a backup strategy should become your focus. If the problems are in operations or supply chain, it is time to give your teams a rap on the knuckles. Streamline your operations by cutting down manufacturing, downsizing or hiring experts. If the problems are with financing and you are having trouble raising fresh finance from the banking system, perhaps it is time to look at the ways of alternate finance for small and medium businesses available in the market.
For example, FinTech lenders like Lendingkart Finance offer short-term business loans to help businesses in managing their working capital. By applying for a working capital loan for your business you will be able to free up the cash at bank for capital investment and restructuring of your enterprise. Hence, taking correctional measures and day-to-day operations can go on simultaneously. So, consider taking a business loan from non-banking financial companies if your regular lenders are showing reluctance. Non-banking financial companies like Lendingkart also offer several other benefits like lower interest rates, flexible EMIs, zero-prepayment charges, and instant loan renewals that will help you get back on your feet.
So, do not wait before it is too late, if your business is showing the signs of trouble, take corrective steps now.