Do Customer’s Respond the way you would Like?

What happens when you ask for directions? You interrupt someone, stopping them from going about their business, yet people are rarely rude. This is because of the way we ask. We will normally say, ‘Excuse Me’ in a slightly deferential way. We continue, ‘I wonder if you can help me? Could you tell me where Bromley Place is?’

25 common characteristics of successful home working entrepreneurs

Regardless of your definition of success, there are, oddly enough, a great number of common characteristics that are shared by successful businesspeople. You can place a tick beside each characteristic that you feel that you possess. This way, you can see how you stack up. Even if you don’t have all of these characteristics, don’t fret. Most can be learned with practice and by developing a winning attitude, especially if you set goals and apply yourself, through strategic planning, to reach those goals in incremental and measurable stages.

Five Golden Rules for etailers in the credit crunch

In spite of the economic slowdown online shopping is still thriving, with more people taking advantage of the cheaper prices available on the net and shopping in the comfort of their own home.

However, internet expert WebTrends is warning ecommerce sites that they must provide a seamless online experience, or they could face missing out on a significant piece of the action, as internet shopping gets increasingly competitive .

Absenteeism – problem or symptom?

I have recently read a number of articles on the problem of absenteeism and was struck by how most of them completely ignored the causes of the problem, and instead focused solely on the measures organisations were taking to ensure that persistent offenders are deterred from taking time off.

Do you speak your prospect’s language?

We all think of typical sales people as being great communicators. We say that they have ‘the gift of the gab’. But what if you are not a born sales person but regularly need to find new clients? Business development expert Richard White discusses one of the areas that can make a big difference on results – how we communicate with our prospects and clients.

The value of a sounding board

In times of Change, people feel much more secure with strong and clear leadership, but they need considered action and decisions from their leaders. The trouble is, with the pace of business today, the pressure has never been higher and consequently there is always a temptation to act just for the sakes of moving things off the pending pile and appearing decisive.

Change specialist Richard Derwent Cooke suggests that sometimes, the best way forward is infact to stand still for a moment a lend some quality time to a spot of good old fashioned conversation.

Surviving the downturn part three – When it goes wrong

Many are wary of upsetting key customers by chasing slow or overdue debts. But as a frequent surprise to many suppliers, buyers often report privately that a failure to chase agreed debts is not seen as a relationship-building exercise, but as weak management. A contractual debt owed is a contractual debt to be paid!

In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, we have stressed the importance of ‘starting off on the right foot’ contractually, and ‘keeping your eye on the ball’ financially.

Of course, some organisations have no shame in delaying payments to their creditors, until pushed really hard.

Whether you really want to trade with such bad payers is entirely up to you, but here are some more handy tips that might help however things might go wrong.

Surviving the downturn Part two – Getting Paid!

Part 2: Keeping your eye on the ball

Getting your Terms and Conditions right and checking customers’ credit status are vital. (See Part 1 of this series). What else can you do to ensure prompt payment?

Monitor your Aged Debtors and set Customer Credit-Limits

You will probably already review your debtors at least monthly, to keep an eye on defaulters. Most financial software packages readily provide this data phased by sums due over successive months. Ignore it at your peril.

The monthly ‘Total Outstanding‘ figure per client is also critical. Your credit checks on each customer should also produce credit limits and you need to have really good reasons to allow these to be exceeded. (Banks, Factors and Debt-Insurers can be laughably conservative in guiding you here, but don’t ignore their advice without excellent reason.)