Lessons on business

Running a small business you get to learn a lot of things that no matter how much you have read before, or done only the experience can really teach you.

One of the most important things you learn is that cash flow is king and you manage client invoices like gold. My commercial terms are strictly seven days on the date of invoice and when clients agree to a project with us they sign a project acceptance form which has attached all the Terms & Conditions and it actually states they agree to the work and the commercial terms.

Realistically this means that most customers pay their initial invoices almost immediately and
progress payments are generally made within the agreed seven days,.

But final invoices are the hardest to get paid on time, some clients try and push the boundaries substantially and can hold off on final payment for 30, 40 even 60 days

I have one such client at the moment who is resisting paying their final bill. So far they have given me all sorts of excuses such as "oh the cheque is in the mail", "we don't work on 7 day invoices", my favorite - "we didn't get your invoice".

If you didn't get my invoice how did you then respond when I sent it and say thanks we will pay this?

I would prefer honesty from the client with regards to their bill payment. If they are having cash flow problems, tell me, don't leave me strung out waiting for your money.

I run a business and if you tell me that you need a few weeks that's cool, but if you continue promising me stuff and then send me a narky email telling me that "real businesses" do not operate on seven day invoices after being 37 days overdue I understandable get annoyed!

I have some pretty interesting options with clients like this. I can actually turn off their websites and block their email access too.

Sounds harsh? I have temporarily turned off access to people's accounts before and have generally found that this works to get them to pay their bill.

I'm in the office for the first time since last week tomorrow and will check to see whether the mysterious "cheque" has arrived.

If not their site and email will go down with a standard message that their account has been suspended due to non payment.

F*** I hate clients sometimes!