Recently I was on a Zoom meeting with people I’d never met before. We had a lovely conversation about business and life and we laughed a lot. I said that I was spending some time that day reviewing my business strategy and immediately one of the people told me what my strategy should be. Not might include or, in their opinion, might be, but this is what my strategy should be.
I was surprised because:
they were very certain how I should grow my business, and
they seemed to think I would just do what I had been told
This got me thinking.
I think it is true to say that any strategy needs to include certain things: a goal, a plan of implementation (this can be fluid), a timescale and a review process. This is my opinion. My business strategy follows that scheme and in my case, the fluid part needs to be very fluid as opportunities come my way. The issue is that whilst business strategies may be similar, we as business owners are all different. What works for you may not work for me for various reasons, our business may be at different stages of development, we may have been in business for different times, our background, and our experiences will almost certainly be different. We may have difference in the amount of risk we find acceptable and our personal business needs, and our work/life balance may be different. Which brings me to my next point.
Doing what other people tell us to do.
When I became self-employed, I didn’t know what I was going to do, so I set myself three rules. The second was “I never do anything I don’t want to do, with anyone I don’t want to do it with” or to put it another way and to quote my beloved “You don’t do bosses well” I like that all my business decisions are mine, be they good, bad or indifferent I own them. So I listen to opinions and then I decide what I take from them, and, when I give my opinion, I expect others to do the same. If they want my further input they’ll ask, and sometimes they do.
So thank you for your opinion, I may consider it further. As a thank you, here is my gift to you: my Top 20 networking tips just follow this link: ebn.uk.com and complete the form to receive your copy.
Recently I was having a discussion with three business contacts about what tasks we found difficult as business owners, and I was surprised when two of them said they hated chasing up debts. They said that they felt embarrassed asking for payment and it was one of the jobs they often kept moving down their list of things to do. Now there are a couple of tasks I do put off but asking for my money is not one of them and I think it’s because I do think of the money as mine, not theirs. Why is that? Well, any money I am asking for is either money for work done, or money for work to be done but, whatever the situation it is money we have agreed will be paid by a certain time.
This means that, once the agreed date has passed, they owe me my money. The other thing is that, if enough people do not pay me, I will no longer be able to pay my bills or keep my business. Now sometimes the situation changes, and the terms have to be renegotiated, who could have foreseen the business challenges of the last two year.
Now I am lucky, I have great customers and usually when they do not pay it is because they have forgotten, or their payment processes have failed. Very rarely it is because they are being difficult. Therefore, when I contact them, I assume the former and not the latter. I remind them that payment has been missed and ask what I can do to help them to make the payment. It could be they need duplicate or additional information, and it might be that I can discuss making payment with someone in their accounts department.
My approach is always positive, never aggressive, and always in a spirit of working together to resolve the problem. It has always worked, and I have never had a bad debt. My current business is slightly different because people can, when money becomes due, decide not to continue their membership and thus payment is void, but, if they say they will be renewing I ask them for the money. Until I had the discussion with my contacts, I didn’t realise that other people didn’t like to do it.
How do you feel about collecting money due?
As a thank you for reading, here is my gift to you: my Top 20 networking tips just follow this link: ebn.uk.com and complete the form to receive your copy.