Thursday, September 23, 2010

How Can We Get Small Businesses Paid On Time?

My meeting with SCORE went well today. Ben and Vince were pleased and proud that I managed to be able get some aging accounts receivable caught up a bit. Now I have to stay the course and make sure payments are kept up. They are sticklers for when something is billed and getting the payment due. We'd like to be as small business owners. It is hard to confront other small business owners because they are waiting on payments from vendors or retail giants. You don't want to spoil good relationships with that uncomfortable subject called "bill is due". But money is money. You need it to keep your business operating. It's a hard pill to swallow. I want to keep everyone happy. Even if you owe me.

Why is it that retail stores make you wait so long for payment? It's just seems so unfair that they can take your product, have it on the sales floor selling it, and paying you some 30-60 days later. Or how about canceling an order when you're just about finished filling it? Or the COD payment that the store keeps refusing your shipped finished product, sending it back multiple times, because they "forgot" the check. Again.

Why can't they pay for the order when they get it? Would we be able to go into Macy's, pick up a necklace, go to the cashier and say, "I'm taking this. I'll send you a check for it in 60 days."? You'd be arrested for shoplifting. So why do they get to do that to your business? Why is there no union or revolution against this practice? Is this the way we keep this economy going in this day in age? With record fast technology of wire transfers, electronic payments and paypal? Make small businesses wait for money (check's in the mail!) that they can't lay out for long stretches like the big box stores? Who can survive that?

It's a bumpy road to follow. I can't answer any of those questions for you, I'm just as mad as heck with you. How can we stop this? Let us know so we can rise up, receive payment when product is released so everyone can keep the cogs moving. What if we could all do that? Nothing leaves the studio, home office, warehouse til money is in the bank. Just like when you shop for that necklace at Macy's, we have to pay for it before we leave the store. We may be wearing something that was made by a small business, that hasn't been paid yet for making it, who's struggling to pay their bills. C'mon stores, boutiques and retailers! Pay them!


Anonymous said...

Werd. I think if I told you how much in accounts receivables I have, you would die. But then again, I'm sure you are in a similar boat.

Jewelry Assembly Chicks said...

I know its so hard to confront aging account receivables. But it's your product, stand behind it and demand payment. You are not a bank, why should you have your product at their stores, selling it and pocketing money that is due to you?

Identify the customer who seldom pays. If they are still wanting your product, payment must be up front. You've delivered for them before, so they know your record of holding up your end of the agreement. If that still makes you a little weezy, try 50% up front, at least that will cover costs that you laid out for their order.

I'd love to see this cycle of sending finished product to retailers and them lagging 60 days to pay, STOPPED. I doubt your mortgage company or credit card company would tolerate that from you. You'd be homeless with bad credit! If they don't have the money, don't sell to them. You'll find new customers who will. Thanks Midori Jewelry for stopping by!