Our customers come to us when they are in a cash flow crunch. Many of them are running very successful businesses, only the timing of their payables and Receivables is simply a bit out of sync.
Here are 8 things you can do to shorten the time between when your customer wants something, and when you get paid.
1) Accept Credit Cards and/or PayPal (for internet businesses) – When you accept credit cards, you also qualify yourself (after a few months) for great cash flow rescue option like a business cash advance.
2) Encourage your customers to e-mail or fax orders – Mail takes more time. The sooner you receive the order, the sooner you can send out an invoice and get paid.
3) Send out a clear, organized invoice immediately – Use software, or make your own template, just make sure that you have invoices ready, so that the moment you get an order, you can send out an invoice. Make sure that the due date and the trade discount/late fee are displayed prominently.
4) Offer a trade discount – This is a discount (even just 1 or 2%) that you give your customers if they pay you within a certain amount of time. Often this small incentive will encourage your customers to pay immediately.
5) Due Diligence – When taking on a major customer, call their other vendors to find out their payment history/patterns. You may even want to run a business credit check.
6) Deposit without delay – Make an arrangement with your bank to have funds available from deposited checks within 0-2 business days. If you receive checks from customers nationwide, you could research the possible added value of a ‘drop box.’ Discuss this with your bank.
7) If possible, request payment (in part or full) up front, prior to filling the order. This also cuts down on time and money spent on collections.
8) Check back here later in the week to read my post on small business collections.