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How to tackle the late payment culture

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How to tackle the late payment culture

By Lee Murphy,Founder,Founder of Pandle (www.pandle.com) the cloud bookkeeping software specifically for small businesses and the self-employed.

Every year 50,000 businesses in the UK are forced to close because customers have failed to pay on time, if at all, for services provided. The late payment culture is fast becoming the norm, but it comes with a price tag with the Federation of Small Business estimating that £2.5bn is lost annually to late payers.

Lee Murphy

Lee Murphy

The collapse of construction giant Carillion earlier this year highlighted the scale of the problem, with the company accused of forcing onerous payment terms of 120-days on an army of small scale suppliers. Carillion, MPs said, showed ‘utter contempt’ for its suppliers by using them as a line of credit to shore up its balance sheet while concealing the scale of its debt.

The full extent of the damage done by Carillion’s collapse is yet to be fully realised. In 2016 the company spent £952m with local suppliers in 2016, using an extensive network of small firms. In the wake of its failure it emerged that up to 30,000 small businesses were left with unpaid bills. The long-term future of those businesses has been jeopardised simply because they had not been paid on time by a client many had presumed reliable and solvent.

Build UK, the representative organisation for the UK construction industry, claimed that in the past were contractors have failed, around 18 per cent of creditors did not survive the next five years.

Of course, Carillion is an extreme example of what can happen to an army of contractors when a big business goes bust. Nevertheless, the Carillion saga has served to highlight the late payments culture that has come to dominate UK businesses, with those at the smaller end of the commercial scale most adversely affected.

Whether you are a micro-business employing a small team of people or working as a self-employed plumber, getting paid on time is essential if you are going to keep the bank happy and your business thriving.

For a row over late payments to escalate and threaten the ongoing flow of work is a situation most business owners want to avoid. The aim must be to try and maintain a sustainable relationship.

Remember, not all late payers are cynical, there may be a valid reason that the cash is yet to hit your commercial account.

Managing money is a tough regardless of the size of your business. It is tougher still for those at the lower end of the commercial spectrum, where the chances are the same person who is doing the day job is also doing the administrative work.

The good news is that there are plenty of tools online to help business owners get to grips with admin, many of which are free. Pandle, for instance, can automate the process of chasing and reminding customers for you, something that will have an immediate impact on reducing the number of debtors you have.

There is plenty that business owners can be doing to make sure they get paid on time. By following my advice and making a few changes you can boost your productivity, get paid on time, and ensure you remain on friendly terms with your bank.

 Be clear about your payment policy 

Regardless of the size of your business or the size of your clients creating a clear payments policy will put you on the right path to getting paid on time.

If you are in the contracting trade, for instance, you may want to include a link to a standard note on your estimates on your website, whereas if you are an IT contractor it may be preferable to issue terms and conditions tailored to the clients’ needs.

If you send a letter of appointment or contract, make sure your payments policy, whatever shape it takes, is mentioned on this.  If you ask customers to sign the document, it is an enforceable contract that you can later rely upon should matters take a turn for the worse.

As well as having the customer name and address right, your invoice should include your business details with the correct VAT registration number, any purchase order number and bank details. Also, be clear about who you are sending it to, so you know where to chase.

Essentially, the policy should include details of any penalties for late payers or, to entice early payment, offer discounts to customers who pay on time. 

Let software take the strain 

Getting organised with your payments and keeping track of who owes you what and when can be a stressful task, especially if you have had a long day working.

If doing the books and checking payments and expenses are being handled properly takes too much time, then it is worthwhile looking online for cloud-based applications and bookkeeping tools that can do the job for you.

Many of them are free and do lots of things automatically, such as send reminders to late payers. Pandle, for example, also gives real time cash reporting and forecasting so that you can easily spot current or future cash flow problems and react.

Simply by sending payment reminders to customers you will see an improvement in payment terms.

Debtor Days

It may come as no surprise that the longer a customer waits to pay the less likely it is that they will.  It is not uncommon to wait 60 or even 90 days for payment from larger businesses – or 120-days in the case of Carillion.  If there is an error on the invoice it will be longer.

It may be tempting to take on larger contracts as they can be profitable, but make sure you work out the impact on your cashflow before agreeing to work.  Most businesses that go insolvent are profitable, they just don’t have the money in the bank to pay the bills.  Beware of falling into this trap.  If the payment terms are bad and put you under pressure, think about whether it is worth the risk.

You may want to consider your payment terms. If like most small businesses you are quoting 28 days as standard, you may want to consider reducing it to 14 or fewer. Also, some businesses are willing to pay in advance if you offer a discount, so think about these sorts of options and negotiate them at the start.

Get more money up front

It is worth considering whether to ask a client for a deposit on the payment should the work be cancelled so you are not left out of pocket. If you have set a week aside for a projectthat  falls through or gets postponed, you are left with nothing to show for it.

Consider whether it is worth asking for as much as 50% to make sure the work goes through?

Likewise, you may want to discuss phased payments with clients, particularly if you are working on a long-term project. Making sure you get paid for your time as well as the end product can be difficult. If you keep a note of hours and bill in phases you are more likely to be remunerated for all the workyou have done.

What if you still haven’t been paid?

Of course, there are those who simply don’t pay on time, no matter how friendly and professional your reminder service is. Unfortunately, these are the tricky customers who need a tougher line. This is particularly difficult if you want to keep their business.

There are a few different options you can take. Firstly, if they want more work done then you can insist that they settle their debts first. You can also insist on a different payment system going forward.

Other options include selling your invoices and getting someone else to do the chasing for you known as invoice factoring (an important option if you need the cash, but you won’t get anything like what you’re owed), or pursuing a claim for payment legally, perhaps through the small claims court.

Taking control of your payments policy needn’t be a chore. By automating the system and handing it over to someone else you will find more time to focus on making your business a success, and ensure you get paid for the services you provide.

How To

Guest Posting

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Guest Posting 1

The internet has set up brands at every corner of the street and getting people to visit yours is a mix of skill and art. The attempts to layout customer roadmaps to your brand which aren’t abandoned are not new and the struggles are the same as before. In fact, the struggle to have your brand heard has piled up as competition keeps emerging and viewer attention span keeps getting fragmented. This has led to a surge in brands using conventional advertisements to highly compress their message to the audience.

This is not the best gameplan to bet on. Ads are perceived by many as intrusive, insincere and housing an ulterior motive. The audience is bombarded with ads from every angle and making it shorter does not really help. Most people don’t react the same way to guest posting.

A guest post is a piece of brand journalism which lives on a publisher’s website. Sponsored posts are an advertorial piece of long-form writing that is created to be highly engaging. They avoid the intrusive and abrupt conventional-approach of ads and indulge in a more respectful and subtle modern-approach for recommending your services or products.

Choosing the right platforms to publish your guest post is crucial as the platform is seen as your partner and representative. Your chosen platform must balance between writing a blog post and a traditional advertisement, stray away from being intrusive and stick with being subtle and respectful. At Global Banking and Finance (GBAF), we offer the opportunity to bank on our decade-long experience and expertise in writing balanced content like this.

How Can Guest Posts on GBAF Help You?

Constantly investing time and effort into writing and publishing on your blog is great for fostering and strengthening your already existing audience relationship but this doesn’t help you reach a new audience.

Guest posting opportunities on our platform gives you access to an untapped audience base. This is a significant advantage in two ways:

  • Familiarity: We have built our audience through our authentic, thought-provoking and storytelling writing nature. Our audience is familiar and receptive to this writing style. When we adapt your content in the same format, it allows your content to have better reception compared to traditional ads. Also, your content will adapt to the environment of content which makes it feel natural and less abrupt or intrusive.
  • Trust: When a consumer learns about your brand through someone they trust (someone like a renowned brand, friend, some industry authority, etc), they are more likely to trust you, too. Our audience’s trust means a chance for your brand’s voice to be heard. It also means having customers who have completed their journey of brand choice. When they choose you, it will be an additional choice of transition from our platform rather than a new choice of approaching you. They only have to go half-way.

With amplified brand reach and redefined trust, your brand visibility and credibility will be boosted. We also help you boost visibility by leveraging our social media channels which currently have 135k followers and keep growing every day.

Another major area of impact when doing guest posts with GBAF is the focus, delivery and expertise of writing. The audience members will engage with your content much more than they do with your traditional ads. This will increase the chances of convincing the customers who doubt, skepticize and speculate becoming customers of your brand from afar. Writing to deliver your promotion with value-driven content also allows you to plug in a recommendation at a crucial point of the problem with your brand as the solution.

Lastly, value-driven content avoids the intrusive BUY THIS! style of writing. Here, the focus is on communicating your knowledge and therefore allows you to establish yourself as a thought-leader in your niche.

All of these combined benefits act as a catalyst to boost your brand reach, funnel attention to your brand, gain a competitive advantage and knock down all other challenges presented in separating yourself from your competition.

Final Thoughts

Brand adoption is slow. Abandoning an old familiar brand route for a new one is difficult. People rarely reach out to brands and they sprint the other way if they see brands reach out to them through conventional and dull ads. In such a deadlock scenario guest posts can provide the perfect strategy to bet on.

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How To

Why Guest Posting is Your Best Bet

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Why Guest Posting is Your Best Bet 2

In a scenario where new businesses are popping up everyday, one of the major challenges brands face is that of devising an organic and effective way to get the attention of their target audience. And one of the first solutions that comes to mind is the internet and consecutively, digital marketing. Even though its all-pervasive nature has made it both super-easy to reach people across the globe, the internet also comes with its own set of challenges. In this article, we will discuss the tough-to-crack parts of digital marketing, things that almost every brand representative or marketing executive has to face in the present date.

The oversimplification of digital communication has deceived many brands into believing that it’s the only way to reach their audience. However, the reality is hardly so. Today, there are more platforms and media formats than there have ever been before and newer ones keep emerging everyday. As a result, the netizens have developed a rapidly decreasing attention span. As a result, brands are wrestling to fit their message into as tiny a space as possible in what can only be called conventional methods of advertising.

For many brands, digital marketing proves to be an ordeal that takes years to crack, all the while draining the brand’s potential for more business and/or larger reach. It is worth noting that one of the major challenges that most businesses face is that of people avoiding ads altogether; no matter how good your ad is, chances are that people don’t want to see it, resulting in zero engagement. The second and bigger challenge is that short messages don’t convert those who are unaware of your brand, to brand loyalists. Instead, these ads are likely to affect only those who are already considering buying into what your brand is offering, which might be a small share.

This is where Global Banking & Finance Review (GBAF) comes in. We offer you the opportunity to overcome both the challenges (and more) in one go through our guest post services.

Guest Posts Have An Edge Over Normative Advertisements

Guest posts are advertorial pieces of long-form writing, created with an aim to engage the audience by taking away the impression of normative ads. How? Sponsored posting articles are so designed that they address the audience’s demands or queries, and also offer your brand as a solution instead of point-blank marketing. Consequently, this makes the audience spend a longer time engaging with your brand than they would do with, say, a pop-up ad. Through a guest blog post, your brand has the space to engage in a fair exchange because the article delivers value to your audience rather than being a conventional sales-driven advertisement.

To sum it up, sponsored posts fall right on the sweet spot between a blog post and a traditional advertisement on the spectrum of advertising.

Here’s Why You Should Run Guest Posts on GBAF

At GBAF, our team understands the importance of the environment in which your brand is introduced to an audience, something that leaves a lasting impact on their minds. It goes without saying that this very impression will influence and drive their future decisions on whether they want to engage with your brand and buy what you’re selling. Hence, it is our staff that is usually responsible for writing the posts that go up for your brand on our website. This allows for the sponsored post to merge in seamlessly with the existing content in our website instead of sticking out like a sore thumb. The aim in doing so is to create these posts in a way that does not distract or seem abrupt as guest posts are meant to be adaptive to an existing environment. So, even though it is essentially promoting your brand, a sponsored post is more of a brand journalism piece than an ad.

On our platform, we understand the importance readers attach to authenticity and value. This also allows GBAF to have a firm grip on introducing your brand effectively while simultaneously catering to the audience’s needs. Our team works around the clock to gain our audience’s trust by continually delivering authentic and value-driven content to our readers for more than a decade. When you partner with us, that resource pool is easy to tp into. When a consumer learns about your brand through a reliable source (for instance, someone like a renowned brand, friend, some industry authority, etc), they are more likely to trust you, too.

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Why You Need to Take Guest Posting Seriously

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Why You Need to Take Guest Posting Seriously 3

When customers are largely in control of marketing conversations, traditional advertisement has lost its touch. How you educate your prospects and out-educate your competitors now win the battle and generate leads.

If you’re the spokesperson of a brand or if it is your job to tell a story that your customers care about, you know how important it is to be generous, to share your ideas on a platform that promotes storytelling, and to position your brand as the most trusted partner for your customers.

The challenge with quick, easy micro-copy is that it fails to make an impact. It’s like a quick-fix that we try to use in everything we do. However, quick-fixes don’t heal a burning pain-point. A thoughtful, easy-to-read, user-friendly guide does.

At Global Banking & Finance Review (GBAF), we help you help your customers. Here’s how.

Guest Posting: How it Works

Guest posting is the art of telling your story to your audience without shoving it down their throats. It’s not an advertisement, but a thought-leadership content piece that educates & promotes your brand to your target audience without interrupting them.

  • Our editorial team works your content piece to present your brand on our website
  • The sponsored articles adhere to the context, the tone, the voice of your brand and represent it in the way you’d like to portray to your audience
  • The content piece is lucidly written and only does one job, i.e. educating your audience
  • The piece is long-form of content that allows your target audience to engage with your brand longer (much more than an advertisement)
  • It doesn’t distract, interrupt, or intrude the audience
  • Sponsored posts are designed and articulated to solve the audience’s pain-point and showcase your brand as a solution-provider

Why Should You Run Guest Posts on GBAF?

GBAF is a platform that garners a community of over 135,000. Here are four reasons for which you should run guest posts on GBAF:

  1. We help you increase the engagement with your audience: We don’t depend on surveys to understand what your target audience wants. For the last ten years, we have been serving various kinds of readers. And we know them personally. Thus, we know how to place your content to increase engagement.
  2. We put your audience ahead of the marketing funnel: When you run an ad, you start from scratch. And as a result, the first step is always to start with the beginning of the marketing funnel. When you publish a guest post on our platform, your target audience already begins to trust you since we’ve put years of work in building the community.
  3. We help you generate leads: An ad is interruptive. When you submit a guest post on GBAF, it teaches instead. And directs the audience to take action. As a result, you generate more leads. In this era of marketing, the brand that educates better, profits more.
  4. We offer you cost-effective solutions: When you run sponsored articles on GBAF, you’re in charge of your budget. You decide how much you’d like to spend per month. And we support you with cost-effective solutions backed up with the results so that you can calculate your ROI upfront.

How to Submit a Guest Post on GBAF

  • Check categories:
  • B2B: CSR, Green Tech, AI & Big Data, Ongoing Training for Employees, Manufacturing
  • B2C: Travel Destinations, Trends on Buying a Home, Working Remotely, Electronics
  • Follow guidelines:
  • Format: Word format
  • Send at: [email protected] (or use this page to submit a guest post)
  • Length: 750 – 1000 words
  • Image: We need an image of the author (specifications: width – 800 px. & heigh – 600 px.) with original credits
  • Additional requirements:
  • Author Bio: Provide an author bio (name, title, affiliation, bio, and contact). You can add a link
  • Profile: Give a brief overview of the company, key information about the company, major projects, certifications, and company logo. Please submit the profile in word format

We review your submission and if it adheres to our submission guidelines and quality standards, we will connect with you before publishing the article.

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