Small businesses are being forced to use credit cards, raid their savings and borrow money from friends to keep their companies afloat.
That's according to new research which questions where the banks are that pledged to help businesses with money to survive the recession.
The study also cites customers' failure to pay bills promptly as another reason for SME's to be reaching for the plastic.
According to the Federation of Small Businesses, the Government is claimed to be one of the worst offenders for this, with one in three bills paid late.
FSB chairman John Wright said: "Late payment has been a particular problem in the past year and it is more important than ever that this worrying practice is brought to an end".