You are probably well informed about your industry. It would be hard to run your business if you weren’t. But what about your clients? Do you know what’s going on in their business world?
One of the best ways to solve debt collection problems is to prevent them from happening in the first place. When you know the warning signs that a business is struggling, you can work with that business to get your payment sooner or to create a payment plan. But for many businesses, the warning signs start much farther away than what’s happening in their own office.
Imagine a linen supplier whose biggest client is a chain of bars specializing in retro cocktails. The linen supplier might not think the current trade disputes have anything to do with them. However, for the bar’s suppliers, the potential tariffs on U.S. Whiskey are a big deal, and that makes them a big deal for the bars, which could have an impact on the bar’s ability to pay the linen supplier.
The linen supplier can’t really do anything to change international trade, but knowing that there’s trouble in the world of whiskey could inspire them to check in with their client and to keep a closer eye on past due invoices.
So, how can you keep up to date on every industry when you barely have time to run your own business? Obvious sources like reading The Wall Street Journal or listening to NPR can give you a general overview of most industries. Many larger companies employ “knowledge managers” or librarians to create digest versions of relevant news. You can do something similar for yourself with daily news digests, including industry specific ones, and Google Alerts for relevant industries. Apps such as Owler, Nuzzle, and Feedly can also help you create personalized news feeds that give you the big picture you need.
If you do notice news that might have a negative impact on your client or customer, it doesn’t mean you have to cut them off or change payment terms, but depending on the news, you may wish to check in with the client or consider diversifying your client base.
Being generally informed about what’s going on in a variety of industries can help you to form better relationships with your clients, and keep them paying their bills on time. As a bonus it may also make you a more interesting guest at parties!
At The Kaplan Group, we hope all your clients stay healthy and pay their bills on time, but if not, let us know how we can help.