Problem solving techniques for business.
Are you having trouble getting paid?
You are busy but you have nothing to show for it. You work long hours; you are up late preparing quotes; you
give excellent service and you are booked months in advance. Your wife is complaining about never having any time with her.
"SHOW ME THE MONEY!" you exclaim. Just like Tom Cruise in the movie Jerry Maguire.
Problem solving techniques can be as simple as taking a long hard look at how you do business.
Are you so busy, that your invoicing is weeks behind?
If you don't ask to be paid - you ain't gonna be!
Why is your invoicing behind?
Do you double or triple handle your data entry? Think about it.
When you do a quote for someone, do you write out your quote by hand and then if accepted, you handwrite an invoice (writing again all the client detail you had on the quote) and maybe scan it in your printer so you can email the request for payment?
Whew! Any wonder you hate the paperwork and any wonder you are up late at night doing it.
Streamline your processes. Enter the data ONCE only.
As soon as you get a new prospect enter them into your smartphone as a contact (people love it when their name comes up on your phone when they call you).
Make sure this is regularly synced with your computer's Outlook (or the cloud) (No backup - no business).
All you have to do now is 'cut and paste' the customer details into your mobile quoting and invoicing programme (like 'Invoice2Go' - Google it) on your smartphone or tablet.
All this can be done after packing up at the client's premises.
All done. Now, go home, have dinner with your wife and 'kick back' tonight.
Problem solving techniques can come down to what you are expecting the client to do.
Do you have 'Terms of Payment' clearly spelled out on your invoices? No?
When the magistrate is hearing your matter of non payment, he will inspect your invoice - closely.
"Sir" he says "When did you expect to be paid?"
"You have not given the client your terms of trade."
Do you do work for larger companies that have 'accounts payable' clerks?
Here is a hint on how to style your 'Terms of Trade':
"Nett payment is due in our office 30 days (or whatever your terms are) from the date of this invoice"
Now, on the 31st day since the invoice was presented (you put a forward reminder in your phone calendar, the day you sent the invoice, didn't you?), you are on the phone to the accounts payable clerk to chase up whether they received your invoice and where the payment is.
When he/she looks up your invoice, ask them to read your exact terms of trade that was agreed to, when the job was organised. You will get an apology and a cheque.
If they fail to pay, three days later, call the clerk again and request payment (politely). Do it again at the end of a week until you get paid.
When you send them your next invoice, do this system again.
Then do it again the third month. (I know it's a pain, but you will only have to go through this process once for each new company)
They will get sick of your calls and just pay you without a hassle.
'The squeeky hinge gets oiled'
No, you won't lose any work by using this method. They still love the way you respond, your professional attitude and of course your work.
Problem solving techniques can come down to what you say, every time you get a job.
Do you get work orders by phone?
Cover your backside, by ALWAYS telling the person who is allocating your jobs what your terms of trade are and get a verbal OK back. (Make a habit of always telling the person allocating the work - they won't mind, if you say it's your company policy to say this). Take your invoice and include on the bottom "Terms of Trade agreed to by Alan Peterson 7.42am Friday 8th November".
You have now got proof that they agreed to your terms and any magistrate will order in your favor.
I hope these ideas help,
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