If your company gets into financial difficulties, don't panic. First, try these steps espoused by Multi Financial Services Inc. chairman Gerald C. Meyers, former chairman of American Motors Corp.
* Shorten payment terms for favored customers. Cutting back from 60 to 30 days will buy a month's worth of cash.
* Tell suppliers frankly where things stand, and convince them to lengthen your terms; paying in 45 days instead of 15 buys another month.
* Sell nonessential assets.
* Drop frills such as first-class travel and club memberships.
* personally monitor your cash position daily -- how much is on hand, how much will be spent soon, what the remaining level will be over the next 10 to 30 days.
* Think only in terms of cash production; close down cash drains.
* Forget long-term strategies; figure out how to make it to the end of the month.
* When things are partially stabilized, draw up a six-month plan and look for new sources of cash -- the most vital step to moving ahead. Be prepared to relinquish some control.
* Shed your loser image and project yourself as a viable competitor to employees, suppliers, lenders, stockholders, and the media. Proclaim the company's vision of the future.
* Relax your concentration on cash -- it's time to show a profit.