To a small business, a customer that hasn't paid their bill is a terrorist. They're basically holding your product or service ransom and aren't paying you what you are owed. When I first started out in business, I owned a recruitment company, I used a factoring company for all my invoices. I could swallow 4% of the invoice being paid to the factoring company because I knew that without fail all my invoices would be in my account and I didn't have to do any chasing or running around after people. 
 
Now i'm a Virtual Assistant, I do it all myself. The money is a lot more important to me now because it's all my wages. 
 
I've now got myself in a position where I have a 'cushion' so if people don't pay me one month, I can still pay my bills comfortably but it took a long time to get to this stage. A lot of small business owners don't have that luxury. It only took me 9 years to get to that stage! 
 
I tell all my clients that I am happy to extend my payment terms as a one off if they need help. They just need to be HONEST and OPEN with me. Give me a chance to plan my own finances. If i know your bill will be 2 weeks late, that's cool. I can work with that. Just don't go quiet on me. 
 
Small business owners can really struggle, especially in the first few years if companies they are working for are not either A) paying on time or B) totally upfront and honest. 
 
I'm now no longer negotiating with companies who refuse to be honest about payments. I don't care if your invoice is £1 or £1000, if you're not paying me on time then the work I do for you will come to a stop. I'll send you a payment reminder and then I just won't bother doing the work for you. Harsh? Maybe, but I've offered honesty, life lines and help to people and they would still rather bury their heads in the sand. 
 
Don't negotiate with SME Terrorists, people. Stay firm, stop providing the service or product. 
 
If you have customers in your business that fit into the "SME Terrorist" category, get shot. It'll save you a lot of time, money and stress in the long run. 
 
If you think that YOU fit into the category, start being honest with yourself and your suppliers. 
Until next time, 
 
Dee x 
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