Toronto Star - - BUSINESS -

1. Con­tact the cus­tomers who owe you money. Many small busi­nesses feel un­easy about ask­ing their best cus­tomers for over­due pay­ments as they fear be­ing pushy might send the cus­tomer else­where. If a client is rou­tinely late with pay­ments, it makes sense to call them and ask why. It may be due to a mis­printed pay­ment date on their in­voice, fi­nan­cial is­sues, or even cus­tomer dis­putes. What­ever the rea­son, the only way this prob­lem can be re­solved is by first dis­cov­er­ing the is­sue. 2. De­velop a firm but fair col­lec­tion pol­icy. Cus­tomers need to know you will con­sis­tently fol­low up on over­due bills. This is where good ac­count­ing sys­tems are es­sen­tial be­cause they let you quickly gen­er­ate over­due pay­ment re­ports or flag them au­to­mat­i­cally for your im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion. 3. Of­fer al­ter­na­tive pay­ment op­tions, such as credit-card or elec­tronic pay­ments, that can of­ten help you col­lect faster.

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