The start of a new year is a great time for planning. But it can be easy to forget that our ability to implement these plans often largely depends on a steady cash flow.
And this is a fact that is strongly backed up by the stats: according to an MYOB survey, one of the main stressors for SMEs in Australia is anxiety about late payments. Seventy-seven per cent of businesses adversely impacted when a customer doesn’t pay on time, and the Federal Government’s Prompt Payment Protocol Paper showed that 90 per cent of small business failures are caused by poor cash flow.
So, all the planning in the world won’t be of use if you haven’t worked out a process for ensuring prompt payments.
Make 2018 the year you plan to get paid on time! Below are three ways to jump start this process from the get-go.
1. Use the new year as an excuse to reach out
As a part of your start-of-year planning, you may have already scheduled a catch up with some of your clients, to discuss strategy and your overall service. This can be a great opportunity to “Trojan horse” in a quick discussion about your current payments process also.
What do they like and dislike? What would make the process easier for them?
Parting with cash can be an emotional and even stressful process for some. Even simply being asked their opinion may take some of the edge off, and remind them that you appreciate that they pay on time. They may even give you some great new ideas too.
2. Do the obvious… make it easier!
Of course it’s obvious that if you want your clients to pay on time, you should make it as easy as possible for them. However, it may surprise you to know that a number of payments systems are set up to be easier for the payee than the payer.
The increasing prevalence of fintech is solving these end-user problems, however, and the area of payments is no exception. As a result of the growing fintech revolution, there are now a host of newly emerging payments platforms that make paying faster and simpler. When choosing one, consider what makes you personally take action. A fast and fuss-free process completed on your mobile? All your bills in one spot? Push notifications that prompt you when a bill is due?
Chances are if it works for you, it may also work for your clients.
3. Make this a priority – right now
Before you know it, it’s going to be March. And then June. And then October…
The year can get away from us in the blink of an eye. And trying to change payments systems once you’re well and truly back in the swing of things can be more than a little challenging.
So, commit to investigating and addressing any potential issues before January has slipped away from us. And then you can get on with providing the exceptional product or service that is the reason you are getting paid in the first place.