Have you ever heard of the saying that “a sale is not a sale until the cash is in your bank account? ”
If we you were paid for your sales the moment that you made them, you would never have a cash flow problem.
Unfortunately, that does not always happen in lots of businesses. Credit is a privilege (not a right) and too many clients seek to abuse this believe in and often never pay for the products or services you have supplied.
However , you can nevertheless improve your cash flow by managing your own receivables. The basic idea is to undertake only those customers and clients who will pay you and then convert the time it takes to collect their cash.
Follow these techniques to improve the look of your bank account!
Develop good conditions and terms
Having good terms and conditions is not only good business practice for the big corporate companies. It’s a very good practice for small business owners to ensure that their clients are aware of when (and how) you anticipate payment. Make sure you include late payment and interest clauses in them and state that debt collection costs will be passed onto the client. I have had many clients who think that they can spread a debt collection agency’s fees only to find out that they have to absorb these costs themselves because they did not make their clients aware of this.
Carry out credit checks on potential customers or non-cash paying customers
Many small businesses just take whatever business they can acquire and carry out credit checks only after problems arise. Often , it is too late to carry out a check after issues arise. It’s probably better for your business in the long run to reject a customer immediately if they have woeful credit history, are slow payers or are consistently delinquent. Slow payers are frequently troublesome clients. They tend to get ones that fall behind paying people, are typically impossible to please, and will find any reason or justification to pick faults with your business, wearing your resources as they do.
Educate your sales team
Do not allow your sales team to sell to businesses or individuals that persistently pay late. Calculate how much it costs you in fascination; telephone calls; letters and accounts employees time when someone persistently pays off you late. If your sales people are fantastic, instruct them to find customers who respect your business enough to pay anyone on time. Poor cash flow management is just about the most common reasons why businesses fail (I discuss this in more detail within my eBook “7 common reasons for company failure… and what you can do to avoid this happening to your business”) and in many cases it’s because of bad or gradual paying customers.
Quicker that you invoice your client, the sooner that the clock starts ticking to allow them to pay you. Issue invoices promptly and follow up immediately if payments are usually slow in coming. Consider mailing invoices daily if it warrants this. Find a way to bill everything when necessary it happens. Many businesses take too long for you to invoice; how much does that run you in interest costs and effectiveness?
Enforce your terms and conditions
Make sure your terms and conditions specify when (and how) you want payment. Consider a late payment terms and interest costs. Unless you certainly are a bank, why should you finance other people’s organizations?
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Offer incentives to customers that pay promptly
Consider offering your client’s incentives to pay you earlier. Chances are that many of your customers will pay immediately if there is an incentive involved. However , Now i am not a big fan of this personally as it amounts to a discount, which usually many marketing authors discourage.
Keep track of your receivables
I am constantly amazed at the number of my clients who do not identify slow-paying customers. Constantly take care of your receivables list and ensure that you simply address slow payers immediately as being the longer you allow a client to pay you, the more likelihood they will not pay you. I’ve seen too many horror tales of where businesses go out of business as a result of insolvent or bankrupt debtors.
Create a workable debt management policy
Consider the strategies that you will use to collect your money. This may often combine letters and telephone calls to slow payers as well as sending statements. However , also consider sending debts and statements electronically (by facsimile or email) as this should slow up the number of clients who tell you “I did not receive your invoice”.
Review your payment options
Do you only acknowledge cheques? Consider offering a variety of monthly payment options to your clients and make this easy as possible to pay you. Set your banking details on your debts and statements so they can pay you electronically. Not only is this often quicker to help them to pay you but you’ll have cleared money quicker and will have less administration (and bank fees) to handle this cheque.