I have found some of my favorite articles about business in Inc. Magazine. A few years ago they did an article “How to Collect from Anyone (Even Enron): Thirty ways to get paid within 30 days”. You remember Enron don’t you? I think that this article might be even more applicable in today’s economy then when it was written. So, I will be making the guidelines outlined in this article the subject of my blog over the next few weeks.
Way to get paid #1: Enlist Your Allies. Going to visit a customer to collect a check might seem like becoming Rambo and going into enemy territory to try to rescues hostages. But going to see a customer who owes you money doesn’t have to be a “combat mission”, especially if one of your customer’s managers is happy with the work that you do. During your visit, use that employee as your ally. One example is a guy I know named Jim. When Jim visits a customer that owes him money, he first pays a visit to the customer’s project manager, Bob. Then, the both of them visit the accounting department with Jim playing “tough cop” and Bob playing “victim”. Bob, the customer’s project manager, usually says something like this to the Accounting Manager (we’ll call him David). “Look David, Jim says that they may have to stop work if he doesn’t get paid. David, I cannot afford to have any delays in this project. Can you help Jim and give him a check?”
“To fight and conquer, to win the battle is not the greatest achievement. The greatest achievement is to win without fighting at all.” — The Art of War by Sun Tzu.