At our Online Marketing Agency we work hard for our clients. We are meticulous about our research which adds enormous value to the effectiveness of our clients websites and online marketing campaigns. We compete with graphic designers who produce visually appealing sites but who never stand a chance in hell of being found on Google.
Some of our clients actually even understand the difference. Some even appreciate our efforts and so they should.
We are generous with our time. We are always on hand to assist our clients with their computer problems. We regularly take calls to assist our clients with their email problems (mostly to with their outlook or email client), their inability to use certain software and are patient when they have forgotten how to make an adjustment to a page on their site. This time that we give freely in an effort to build relationships robs us of the opportunity to do more work but we accept it as part of the game and give freely in good grace.
But there is one area of our business where we fail. We fail to insist that clients pay us on time.
I've spoken to many small businesses about this problem and most of them fall into the same trap.
Somehow, despite offering great service we get all shy about asking for money and insisting it gets paid on time.
I think it's a form of masochism. After all try not pay your electricity account or you Vodacom account and see how shy these people are about cutting you off. Vodacom has millions of cash reserves. As small businesses we have to pay our overheads such as salaries, lights, water, telephone and internet bandwidth. In our case we pay our service providers for hosting, domain registrations and God help us somewhere amongst the endless list of expenses we have to keep a bit for ourselves.
So why do small businesses devalue themselves so much by feeling shy to ask for payment for services delivered. It's demeaning and it shouldn't be.
The accounts department that has closed for the holidays wouldn't dare not have paid the directors Vodacom accounts. Why should we be treated any different.
My advice is "don't demean yourself". Feel free to ask what is due. If not received then cut off. Vodafone does- why not you? Your clients will soon learn to take you seriously.
If you fear loosing customers because you are asking them to pay what's due then you're being a masochist. If your clients get offended - then ask yourself "do you really need them as a client"? Probably not.