Us Brits are terrible at talking about money. And when someone owes us money we’re even worse at asking for it. Our odd attitude to cash doesn’t matter quite so much on a personal level but for a small business, inadequate credit control can be catastrophic. Here’s some sensible hints and tips about getting your small business finances in order and maintaining a healthy cashflow.
- It’s all to easy to get wound up about customers who owe you cash. Don’t rant about it or let it get to you. Bite the bullet and ask for it nicely as soon as your invoice deadline has passed
- If you’re too farty to call someone in person, send a polite email. Something like: “I’ve just noticed I haven’t received your payment for invoice number xxx. I’ve attached it just in case it has gone astray. Please can you let me know you’ve received it safely and when it’ll be paid? Many thanks.”
- If you don’t get a reply, send a letter in the post with the same kind of message. So few people send real letters these days they can have a surprisingly strong impact
- If you still don’t get a positive response you’ll need to ‘phone and talk to someone. Stay polite and take a helpful stance, asking if there’s anything wrong and finding out how you can help instead of getting aggressive. You could suggest monthly instalments if your customer is having cashflow problems of their own
- When all else fails, find a good credit control expert to deal with the situation for you. A professional will take a friendly, helpful stance rather than getting nasty, leaving you with your customer relationships intact instead of making an enemy
I met a credit control expert recently who said he finds that resolving matters calmly and kindly usually means both parties are left feeling good about the whole process. Weird but true… when you’ve had an issue with someone and solved it you’re far more likely to feel good about the whole thing than if you’d never had an issue in the first place. Which means good credit control is a real asset to your business.
While debt collection services will cost you a small percentage of the debt, it’s well worth finding someone with the right attitude rather than a hardcore credit controller who figuratively ‘sends the boys round’!
Published September 1, 2011 & Filed in Discount Coder Chat
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