I had an interesting call recently and most of the conversation was about payment terms.
One of the things that was mentioned was that I should not be too “aggressive” when following up on outstanding monies as people who don’t know me might misconstrue this as a sign of rudeness. You can only imagine how gobsmacked I was on hearing this.
As a business owner and a service provider to many clients, I do understand that some organisations have very specific payment terms and at times they are not open for negotiation. In these instances, one is able to properly plan and basically expect the money in line with the payment terms, absolutely no problem with this.
However, when Joe Soap picks up the phone to you and says the following – “I need this transcription done like yesterday but I don’t want to pay your urgent rate as I have to take care of my client’s interests and get this transcript done at the best possible price. I could go to Dick Bloggs but I would like to support you.” In this scenario, Joe Soap and you have had a long standing working relationship and now that you are running your own business, he’s supporting you. So, you are grateful for the support and because of the relationship, you do the work because you also need the business. You take on the work trusting that Joe Soap is going to also pay you timeously.
No, he does not pay you when you render your invoice. Instead he tells you that you will get paid once his client has paid him – “we will pay you once we have been paid”.
How on earth can organisations claim to be supporting small enterprises, if this is what happens almost on a daily basis?
Is it fair to make a small enterprise wait for payment for an indefinite period of time? Absolutely NOT!
This kind of scenario can result in a small business dying a peaceful death before even having an opportunity to grow.
As “they” say, “When you buy from a small business, you are not helping a CEO buy a third vacation home. You are helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey, a mom put food on the table, a dad pay a mortgage or a student pay for college”.