Tanya Kuhrt, Virtual PA

By Tanya Kuhrt

 

It’s THAT time of year again! Phew how did it come around so quickly!?

So now that Christmas is just around the corner I know that one thing which will be at the front of your mind will be MONEY. That’s why I’ve decided to share my 5 Step Cash Flow Booster Plan with you.  This is what I put in place when my cash flow was suffering and I’ve never looked back.

1.Terms and Conditions

Make sure you communicate your payment terms effectively to your customers and have them detailed in your terms and conditions.

What do you mean, you have no terms and conditions???

Seriously, if you don’t have any terms and conditions you need to get some in place. A good commercial lawyer can draft a set for you. If you need a low cost solution try downloading a template from Simply Docs but I beg of you to get it checked over by a fully qualified lawyer before using it.

Without these you will not be properly protected if your customers do not pay.

2. Invoice regularly.

This is one of those things that seems SO obvious but SO many of us let things slide and don’t get round to invoicing on time. Whether it’s a monthly job, or carried out as and when orders are fulfilled, you really must make sure that your invoicing is done promptly. If you don’t invoice your customers, how can you expect them to pay you?

If you find you keep letting it slide then a good virtual assistant or virtual PA will be able to get the job done quickly and efficiently, leaving you free to concentrate on other things.

3.Chase up your invoices as soon as they become overdue.

Again, this seems like a no-brainer. But there are a few reasons why small business owners often let this slide and whilst lack of time is one of them, it’s not the main one. Yes, I’m talking about the EMBARRASSMENT, the UTTER SHAME, of having to call a client or customer and discuss MONEY. Perhaps it’s a peculiarly English thing but we shy away from mentioning the M word. But listen up! You need to get over this because so often, all it takes are a few reminder emails or quick phone calls every month and hey! presto – your cashflow will improve no end.

Also I can guarantee that you won’t lose clients because of this. You are providing them with something and  believe it or not they don’t expect to get something for nothing. But some of them WILL try and get away with it for as long as they can which is why they need a gentle kick up the backside, regularly, and they’ll soon change their ways.

And if you really can’t bear the thought of chasing your clients yourself, you can simply have someone else do it on your behalf. 

4.Have lots of EASY payment options

The easier it is to pay you, the more quickly you will get paid – Yippee!

If you only have the option of paying by bank transfer then this will DEFINITELY slow down your cash flow. As you know yourself small business owners are often pressed for time. So make it easy for them. If you email them a Paypal invoice they’ll just have to click a button to pay. Or try a mobile card terminal such as Izettle. Another idea is Paypal Here which also allows card payments but you don’t have to have a terminal. Have you considered direct debit? If you do recurring work for clients this is a great idea – try Go Cardless which makes the whole process insanely easy.

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5.Get paid upfront

This is my absolute TOP TIP. If your business model possibly allows it, get paid BEFORE you carry out the work. This what I do now and it is the number one way to ensure you always get paid.

I won’t lie – when it was first suggested to me I didn’t think it was possible. But all it took was a change in my mindset. And once you are convinced that it is right then your customers will just accept it.  The way I pitch it is in terms of a pay as you go phone. Everyone understands the concept – if you charge the phone up by buying minutes it works. If you don’t – it doesn’t. My clients are perfectly happy with this now, but just so that they have peace of mind there is a refund policy within my terms and conditions.

There are some kinds of business of course where this kind of charging structure just isn’t possible. If this is the case with you then don’t despair! There are still a couple of things you can do – for example  you could consider charging 50% upfront with the balance payable on delivery, providing discounts for early payment or imposing penalties for late payment.

For more information or to discuss how we can help with any of the above, email me at [email protected]