When the Cheesecake Factory and other retailers have announced that they will not pay rent, it can give pause to small and growing businesses who need their invoices paid. During such an unprecedented time, most everyone is feeling the panic and stress about potential loss of cash flow. It doesn't seem like a good time to ask for payment from clients or customers who may be facing their own crises.
For freelancers, startups and small business owners, the COVID-19 pandemic likely has impacted daily life and your business. Startup funding is drying up, employees are being furloughed or in general, we're all living in a state of uncertainty. You may be wondering if there's anything that you can do that could save your business during a crisis.
Our advice - Don't Panic! You may be better off than you thought.
Steps you can take to save your business in a crisis.
Whether you're a freelancer, small business owner or employee, working from home can be quite an adjustment. It's easy to get distracted by laundry or other household to-do's and you're probably reading this because you know that already. With a couple of tweaks to your routine, you may find that you're more productive working from home than the office.
Here are tips to stay productive when you work from home.
When a client hasn't paid their invoice on time, business owners feel the pinch in their cash flow. Even if sales are being won and the work is being done, without timely payments from their customers, vendors, accounts payable and employees go unpaid. It takes time and resources to chase down payments, affecting efficiency and productivity as well. Instead of wondering if your clients are going to pay their invoices, take control of the situation proactively and in a non-threatening manner.
Here are the best business practices to get prompt payment from your clients.
Suing a client isn't top of anyone's list of things to do but if a client is refusing to pay, it may be the logical path to getting what's owed to you. Before you take your client to court, you'll need to make sure that you're prepared, have a good case and that it's worth the cost of your time and money.
When you're thinking of suing for nonpayment, here are your next steps.
If yours is a B2B business, it means that you're relying heavily on your valuable business partners. Much like any relationship, you're only going to feel as comfortable as the level of trust you have with these business partners. Getting to know them better also means that you understand their goals, their pain points and what keeps them up at night. Knowing your clients will also give you a heads up if they're facing difficulties that may affect your relationship.
How well do you know your clients?
If the thought of an uncomfortable meeting with your client makes your stomach hurt, you're probably already shuddering at the title of this post. Invoice disputes usually mean that the client owes you money and is simply unwilling to pay what you're asking. Is it possible to figure out a solution to this situation with an in-person meeting?
Should you handle an invoice dispute in person?
No one goes into a relationship, business or otherwise, planning how to end it. Firing a client is an unfortunate necessity when things go terribly wrong. The first thing to determine is your last straw. This client may be:
- consistently asking for services beyond the scope of the contract.
- pushing back on everything they're paying you for.
- difficult to work with.
- not paying you for all of the work you've already done.
Now that you know you've had enough, do you know what to do next?
Here's what to say and do when you're firing a client.
While it's easy to be overwhelmed during the year with business to-do's, your clients are the reason you have a business to begin with! You don't have to wait until the holidays to show them that they are appreciated. Gratitude can be practiced all year long and will help build a strong foundation for any challenges that may arise. Gratitude reminds your clients that they are appreciated.
Here are some of the best ways to show gratitude and help client retention.
Your goal is to run a successful business and that means creating strong relationships with your clients. During the sales process, your business is going all out to impress and that positive impression may last for a few months. After a while, you and your clients may hit a period of leveling out and, even more serious, discontent. Just as with any relationship, it can be challenging to maintain happy, long term clients.