If you regularly bill clients, you have likely had the experience of chasing down money. It's frustrating, uncomfortable and a little intimidating. Now add in a global pandemic, climbing unemployment statistics and the amount of small businesses closing shop and suddenly, asking for what's owed to you can be downright worrisome. Let's take a step back and consider a new way of dealing with outstanding or overdue invoices, shall we?
Retaining clients and customers is important for any business at any time. During times of uncertainty, it can be especially challenging. Clients may be unwilling or unable to commit due to financial concerns. You can still make efforts to keep these customers by changing how you work with them.
Here are best practices for customer retention during tough times.
This week, LinkedIn published a piece from their Workforce Confidence Index sharing that freelancers "reported lower confidence in their financial stability than the unemployed." As if we're not all inundated with enough bad news, there's no need to state the obvious. Most of us are shaken and concerned right now as nearly any business is affected by the pandemic. Even more interesting were the comments on the article from freelancers and entrepreneurs sharing their view of this crisis as an opportunity.
For freelancers, entrepreneurs and digital agencies, COVID-19 might be presenting more opportunities than expected.
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.
Is there a good way to ask for payment during the COVID-19 pandemic?
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?