It happens to the best of us.

Customers pay late. The furnace breaks down. You owe the government more taxes than you expected. You need cash, and you need it fast. What are you to do?

Calm down, take deep breaths, and remember that you have options other than selling your car or borrowing money. There are a few ways to make some fast cash, but you have to be willing to hustle and do things you've never done before.

Three Fast-Cash Strategies You Can Implement Starting Today

1. Revive leads with a simple email.

The people who are mostly likely to buy from you are the ones who've already expressed an interest but haven't actually pulled the trigger. To everyone who's ever explored the possibility of buying your product or working with you in the past, send an email that essentially says, "Are you still looking at [insert your offer]?" (credits to Dean Jackson for this email idea) And then mention you have a special offer that's available for a limited time.

One of three things can happen: the person doesn't respond; the person responds and says they're not interested; or the person responds with something else other than a "no." To everyone who didn't say no, offer to get on the phone so you can discuss how they can get started. Make your offer on the phone and close the sale.

2. Sell a done-for-you or other high-touch service.

Whereas products take time and money to build, services can be sold as soon as you get the idea for them. And you can charge more for them.

Brainstorm services you could offer. What could you do for someone to create an outcome they want? It doesn't even have to relate to your core business, as long as there's a demand for it. Think of something remarkably useful you can deliver that's worth what you want to charge.

Once you have a clear idea of the service you want to offer, email your prospects about it. Explain your idea, emphasizing the benefits they will get from the service. Make sure those are benefits they actually care about. Give a ballpark figure of the cost, so they don't get sticker shock later. If they're interested, have them apply for the chance to avail of this service. This gives your offer exclusivity, which means you can charge more. You can use a free online service like Google Docs or Survey Monkey for this application process. But if you're not confident about your ability to sell online, then just get them on the phone and close the sale there.

3. Sell a small event or experience.

Instead of a service, offer a simple event or experience you can quickly organize for five to 10 people. It could be half-day up to two days long. The venue could be a free or low-cost conference room. It could be your living room. Or even a web conference room. The point is, don't offer a big, expensive conference that takes months to organize. Think quick, simple, and straightforward... that will deliver results for participants. Don't dismiss this idea and say events won't work for your business. Ask, "What virtual or in-person experience can I easily put together that people would gladly pay for?"

Send an email to your prospects where you paint a picture of what the event will be like. Describe what they're going to do, what they're going to learn, and what they're going to take away from the event. Again, give a ballpark figure but not the specific cost. If they're interested, have them apply to join the event (similar to strategy number 2) or get them on the phone to give the details.

These ideas may seem daunting, but when you're in a cash emergency, you need to be willing to be bold and try new things. As Albert Einstein said, "The problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them." The suggestions above aren't sustainable and they aren't the same strategies you would use to grow your business. But they will get you out of a tight spot.

Published on: Feb 3, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.