Small Business Debt Help

Guest: Emily Chase Smith

Guest: Emily Chase Smith

Are you a small business owner who needs help with debt? Then you won't want to miss this interview with Emily Chase Smith, the Entrepreneur's Money Expert who shares her insights from helping many entrepreneurs through financial challenges.

She explains why every small business owner needs to build enough runway; how to handle ups and downs in cash flow: why some creditors are like puffer fish and others are skunks (and how to handle them accordingly). If you own a small business, or hope to, you'll won't want to miss this! This interview aired February 25, 2013.

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About My Guest

Emily Chase Smith, the Entrepreneur’s Money Expert. She writes and podcasts about the intersection of business and personal finances and how to be successful in both. She’s a 15-year California attorney with a background in debt solutions and bankruptcy.

Her website is

Excerpt from this interview

Gerri: Do you have a small business or have you thought about starting a small business? Well that involves risk and sometimes things don't go exactly as you planned. So my guest is here to share strategies if your small business is struggling. Emily, if you could talk to entrepreneurs early on, not when they’re in a crisis but before it gets to that point when they're not quite sure things are going on the road they expected. What would you tell them?

Emily: That’s a great question because I often deal with the backside and when I deal with people who are in financial crisis or financial chaos, there's so many things that they think - “I wish I knew.” One of the main things that I like to talk about to new entrepreneurs is the idea of runway. So when you’re setting up your business and you’re getting ready to go, every business takes twice as much time and twice as much money as you think it will. It’s kind of like travel, you pack twice as many clothes and twice as much money.

With business, you need twice as much time and twice and money, and we call that your runway. So we want to extend your runway as far as we possibly can. And when we’re doing that as small business owners, sometimes we just see the vision so clearly, it’s realized in our mind and so we go for the big vision and we don't have a plan for how we’re going to get there.

So we might go out and rent a giant office because that’s our vision. We’re going to have this fantastic law firm or we’re going to have this great retail space, we go get the big ones just only to realize vision as opposed to making the steps to get there. Because without that, when we run out of our runway, when we run out of our money and run out of our time, and perhaps what we (could) have is a fantastic business.

Gerri: I love that analogy because so often what we read in the popular press are stories that make it sound like things went so well for an entrepreneur. They went better than they expected and they were making more money faster than they expected. But usually when you delve in, you see that there was a lot of other things that happened before they got to that point of overnight success.

Emily: Absolutely. If we really went in and did some forensic auditing of their business, we could see kind of that ebb and flow. That even though it was an upscale, uphill trajectory which is fantastic, there were points at which it was like, "oh no, wait, oh good we made it through that." And so I just want to make sure that entrepreneurs plan for those mistakes because we’re all going to make them. Even if we’re serial entrepreneurs and we have a lot of different businesses, every new business is a new venture and we’ve got to give ourselves room to make some mistakes.

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