SUPER MOVE #12 – As a business coach, I recommend to collect faster and show favoritism to fast-paying clients
You must insist on creating a culture where you collect the cash that your customers owe you quickly. With my experience as a business coach, when you allow customers to go longer and longer without paying you, bad things begin to happen. The debtor gets the upper hand as you start to say, “These people owe me a ton money and I really don’t want to upset them and not get paid at all, so I will work with them for one more month.” As experience will teach you, the longer you go without getting paid, the lower your chances become of ever getting paid. Also, the longer you let people go without paying you, the higher the fees will be that you have to pay to the collections agencies you finally have to hire to get paid.
SUPER MOVE #13 – Get paid in advance
The quality of your life will improve dramatically once you discover the magic of having your clients pay in advance. If you are not able to collect the total amount due up front, you should at least charge an upfront retainer, enrollment fee, or deposit of some kind. As a business coach, I cannot stress how important it is to create a company culture of getting paid before you actually deliver or fulfill the products or services promised to the customer.
Before I was a business coach, when I worked at Applebee’s, we used to have about one customer per week who would order a massive appetizer, steak, three beers and an incredible dessert before discovering that they had forgotten their wallet. In almost every circumstance, this human (almost always a man) would never come back in to pay us as he’d promised. Although running your business is very different from being a waiter at Applebee’s, the same concept applies to a certain extent. In the restaurant business, the profit margin is pretty slim on many of the food items and this one hog-esque customer who came in and ate like a king without paying absolutely killed the profitability of the tables I was working for the next three hours.
It is worth investing two hours to think about how you can get your customers to pay up front in some capacity. One move that we’ve used in the insurance business (I have been a business coach for hundreds of insurance agents) is to incentivize our ideal and likely buyers to pay up front. We basically lock in the customer’s insurance rates for the year and offer them a nice discount if they choose to pay in advance for the entire year. Having consulted numerous customers in the fitness business and the IT consulting business, I have found that about 15% of the customers we asked were willing to pay up front and this is a good thing.
“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.”
(One of the leaders of the industrial revolution and the man who founded Ford Motor Company without a college degree)
The following entrepreneurs struggled through life because they didn’t have a degree from a fancy business college (forgive the sarcasm spasms):
1. Abraham Lincoln – Despite not having earned the respect of his peers by obtaining a college degree, he went on to become a lawyer and president of the United States. Because he chose to be self-taught, he never stopped learning.
2. Amadeo Peter Giannini – Despite not knowing what he was doing because he didn’t have a master’s degree from a fancy business college, he went on to become the multi-millionaire founder of Bank of America after dropping out of high school.
3. Andrew Carnegie – Despite being an elementary school dropout, this man went on to become a billionaire. Amazing, since he couldn’t possibly have known what he was doing because he didn’t have a college degree.
4. Andrew Jackson – This guy went on to become an attorney, a U.S. president, a general, a judge, and a congressman despite being home-schooled and having no formal education at all.
5. Anne Beiler – The “Princess of Pretzels” went on to start Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and become a millionaire, despite having dropped out of high school. I bet she’s disappointed she missed out on the once-in-a-lifetime experiences that so many college graduates with $100,000 of debt enjoy.
6. Ansel Adams – I don’t know if you are into world-famous photographers or not, but if you are, you know that Ansel Adams became arguably the best photographer in the world despite not graduating from a college of liberal arts. I wonder how he even knew to take the freaking lens cap off of his camera without a college degree.
7. Barry Diller – This dude may be a billionaire and Hollywood mogul who founded Fox Broadcasting Company, but I am not impressed with him because he does not have a college degree.
8. Benjamin Franklin – This guy might have invented the Franklin stove, lightning rods, bifocals and other assorted inventions while working as a founding father of the United States, but I can tell you that he had a hole in his soul where his degree should be.
9. Billy Joe (Red) McCombs – Red became a billionaire, but did he have a degree? No. And that is exactly why he doesn’t get invited to any of those fancy alumni gatherings, which he would be too busy to attend anyway because he’s off counting his money. Seriously, if he started counting the billions of dollars he made by founding Clear Channel media, he would never finish.
10. Bill Gates – He started that little company that Steve Jobs fought. That’s it. And he can take his $53 billion and go buy boats, houses and stuff, but he can’t buy the memories that he missed out on making by not graduating from college. Bill, that’s why some of your stories are boring. I also bet that’s why some of your software doesn’t work sometimes.
11. Coco Chanel – She may have a perfume that bears her name, but I am not impressed with her because she doesn’t have a degree.
12. Colonel Harlan Sanders – This guy dropped out of elementary school and all he knew about was chicken. Sure he made millions, but I didn’t truly have respect for him until he finally earned that law degree by correspondence.
13. Dave Thomas – Every time I pull into Wendy’s to enjoy a delicious snack wrap, I find myself thinking about what a complete waste of talent Dave was. He could have had trillions of dollars if only he had earned a degree and become the head of the Federal Reserve.
14. David Geffen – Like a true loser, he dropped out of college after completing only one year. My, his parents must be disappointed. I feel bad just writing about this billionaire founder of Geffen Records and co-founder of DreamWorks.
15. David Green – David, oh David. I bet you feel bad about your billions and spend every day living in regret because you do not have a college degree. I know that you took $600 and famously turned that into billions as the founder of Hobby Lobby, but you could have been a good attorney or a bureaucrat or a politician we all could watch argue to an empty room about nothing on C-SPAN.
16. David Karp – This guy’s last name should be carp, because this bottom feeder obviously will never amount to anything – well, except being the multi-millionaire founder of Tumblr. If he hadn’t dropped out of school at age 15, I would respect him more.
17. David Neeleman – This guy started a little airline (JetBlue) to compensate for his lack of a degree. I don’t even feel safe on the world’s most profitable airline because its founder doesn’t have a degree.
18. David Oreck – David Oreck truly had a career that sucked. This college dropout and multi-millionaire founder of the Oreck vacuum company created vacuums that have sucked the dirt out of carpets for years.
19. Debbi Fields – Oh, so sad. Little Debbie, the founder Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chippery, never knew the pride that one could feel upon earning a college degree.