Anyone who’s had to deal with a client has probably had issues collecting debt. It could be due to unexpected family troubles, major miscommunication, or the client just won’t pay up. Nobody wants to deal with a situation like that. A family friend of ours named Mark, a builder who runs his own business, once dealt with a client who just wouldn’t pay for the work he had done. Mark tried everything: polite conversation, threats, pleading, until eventually lawyers were called and court dates were arranged.
After Mark had gone to the trouble of arranging everything, the client simply handed over the money. Mark ended up having to pay a huge chunk of what he was owed straight over to the people he’d hired to get that money in the first place.
Thanks to acclaimed debt collecting companies like EC Credit Control, the messy process of getting what you’re owed has been cleaned up. But sometimes the problem can be cut off at the source. That comes down to being choosy about your clients in the first place.
Much as it might seem tempting, you don’t want to take on a client with too big of a job for you. If you own a small business just getting its foot in the door, stick with the small stuff and work your way up to the big ones when you’re ready.
Business philosophiser and father of modern management Peter Drucker said, “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” Are you in it for the long haul with your potential client? What kinds of opportunities can they bring in the future? Do they seem like someone you want to keep around?
It’s true that business is business. What happens in the board room stays in the board room. But a relationship with a client is still a relationship. You need to build familiarity and comfort, maintain a sense of trust between the two of you. It’s an important tell if you can’t stand to be in the same room as a client for more than 5 minutes.
If it doesn’t feel right, it’s important to back out before making any serious commitments. Ultimately, your business should be a source of enjoyment and satisfaction. If a client isn’t offering you that, why not pull the plug before you get a shock?