18 Mar A Message to Business Owners Trying to Restructure
Are you under extreme financial pressure? Desperately need to restructure your debt – personal or business?
First, try not to settle for simple short term survival. Go for improving your situation for the long term. Yes, it is possible. Figure out how. You don’t want to find yourself back in this same situation in a few years. To do this, you may have to be willing to play the “then let’s just let this ship sink today” card. If the ship is going to sink, today is better than tomorrow. You know? If it’s going to sink, let it be today so you can get on with your recovery and to a better place in a few years.
Second, keep in mind that your creditors are big boys and girls. They got into business with you in an arms-length manner knowing good and well that it might not turn out perfectly. Your job is to negotiate from here for your own behalf. Negotiate in the best interest of you and yours. Their job is to do the same for their own interest. All options are open for all parties. Negotiate for yourself with skill, courage, savvy and creativity.
Third, you have options. Get creative in identifying them. Some may not be very attractive, but put them on the table. Employ the good help of others you respect in listing each and their pros and cons. Share them with your creditors along with how each would impact the creditor. Some will not be very attractive to the creditors. Be willing to use them to gain negotiating strength.
Fourth, the key to any restructure is held by your creditors. So, as with any negotiation, information is power. Get close to your creditors and gather all the information you can. Go to lunch with them. If they drink alcohol, so much the better. Make it a dinner or happy hour. Try to get them to talk to you candidly about their fears. About how they see the “credit”. About how they view your options, their options, and the pros and cons of each.
Last, credit agreements are legal agreements. Obtain a copy of your legal agreement and read it. Understand every paragraph. Therein you will fine the powers granted both you and they. Don’t assume that your creditors know what the document really says. Be sure you have the superior knowledge of the agreement. Make sure you see the options available to you in the agreement and the limits imposed on them in the agreement.
To be sure, it’s the moment of truth. When the goin’ gets tough the tough get goin’. So get goin’.
PS. If I were you, I’d include in the restructure a reduction of the debt you owe them. A forgiveness of debt. Yes, creditors – even banks – will do this if they come to realize that it is in their own best interest.