We recently spoke to a business owner that got so frustrated at times when customers didn’t pay that they just wrote them off, took them out of their system and made a policy of never doing business with that customer again. In short, they took the nonpayment personally. Unfortunately that’s not the first time our team has heard that and we are sure, not the last.
We have always stated that if you are in business, you are going to have receivables, and you are at times, going to have customers that do not pay. In short, you’re going to have to do some debt collections. It is a fact of being in business. It’s not personal, it’s just part of being in business. You provided a product or service, it was understood that cost money and that your customer was to pay you for what you provided them.
We understand that asking for money for many is an uncomfortable situation. We want our customers to like us, we don’t want them to leave and we don’t want any ill feelings between the two parties. The problem with that “perfect” relationship is in many cases, when the customer does go a long period of time without paying you, you start to feel uncomfortable and even angry.
So, what’s wrong with asking for money? Nothing. You should never feel bad about asking a customer for money that is owed to you. If you have laid out your expectations, done your part in providing your product or service, your customer should keep their end of the agreement. It’s just how business should be done.
So what can you do if you don’t like asking for money?
- Get over it. Yes, we said it. You have to get over your fear of asking for money. You are in business so it’s part of operating a successful and profitable business. Find a way to get comfortable asking for customers to pay up.
- Have your staff follow up on unpaid invoices. If you are a small business, you may have personal relationships with your customers. Having a dedicated staff member removes you from any awkward situation you might feel you have encountered. And if you are a growing company, you should have staff handling these responsibilities anyway.
- Don’t take it personally. There are a host of reasons that customers don’t pay. In many cases it’s just an oversight and often times, consumers are having trouble meeting their obligations. It’s best to give them the benefit of the doubt. However, you should still expect to be paid.
- Get help. When customers get too far out in their payments, its best to bring in a reputable collection agency that can remove the difficult situation of asking customers for money, especially if they have gone a long time without paying.
It’s okay to be asking people for money, especially when customers should have paid your business on time. Get comfortable asking, get a system in place and get help when you need it and you’ll see your cash flow improve dramatically.
Contact us today if you have cash flow problems that need to be addressed.