My job is easy when we're in one of these cash shortages. I don't answer the phone, because it's always someone looking for money. Which we don't have. And I don't want to talk about it (not to the people who want to talk to me about it).
There are only so many ways to say "we're expecting that money in about a week" before people stop believing you. Imagine! "Expecting" is true. "About a week" is true. I give them the truth, and they still want to know when they're going to get paid. As I said: about a week. Or so. We hope. Maybe.
Oh, I want to pay them, almost as much as they want me to. But it does no good to open up the company checkbook and write checks, when the account has about $64 in it. I'd like to write those checks now, while I have the time (not answering the phone and all). But if I wait, I know I won't accidentally mail one and screw up my bookkeeping forever. I hate when that happens.
The other thing I could do is borrow the money. That's what I've done in the past, and it makes everyone happy except the Boss, who looks at the interest and finance charges we pay and starts spitting lag bolts. Last year we paid three times as much as the previous year in interest, and since he found that out he's been determined not to borrow. That's easy for him to say. I'm the one answering the phone and telling people we're expecting money in about a week.
Finally the Boss has seen the light. He's always bidding work at too low a price, just to make sure we get the jobs we want. Keeping busy helps the cash flow, even if there isn't enough money in the contract to cover expenses (such as interest payments).
On the job we bid this week, he put in the highest markup he's ever tried, and we were still the low bidder. (Unfortunately, it was over the state's budget, and we won't be awarded a contract unless the agency can get more funds appropriated.)
I hope this is the way of the future. We get work, but they pay us enough to cover our overhead and make a little profit, too. Imagine paying all the bills on time, and answering the phone with a clear conscience. It's a whole new world.