Time to get a handle on what your customers want (and control your debtors)

 Most businesses that have taken a Christmas break start back at work today.

 There will be a range of different levels of energy in your business, from those that are refreshed after a break and really keen to get back into making things happen, to those that just don’t want to come back.

 From a leadership perspective, this is a great time to show the way, and demonstrate the standards you want maintained. In many ways, you will find your people ready to accept some of those changes that you have been meaning to get around to, but just haven’t found time to do.

 In my experience, some of the busiest times in the businesses I’ve been involved with are just before Christmas, and everyone’s focus is on getting the job to the customer on time and on spec. Mid December deadlines seem to accumulate, and it’s all hands on deck to get the job done. Often during these peak times the job is done well, yet the paperwork and the follow up can slip to one side as you move from one urgent deadline to the next.

 This week is a great time to go through all those sales from December, make sure they have been invoiced, and then get in touch with your client base for several reasons.

  • Make sure the job was completed properly and that the client was satisfied with the work
  • Make sure the client has received the invoice, and that you will receive your payment on time – after all you did “whatever it took” to deliver on time.
  • Start to develop a sales plan with the client for the coming year – so you can both be in control when the peaks and troughs come during the year.

 Every year has its unique challenges, and while it is difficult to predict everything that will happen, it is good to be prepared and start to plan now.

 Getting your clients involved in the process also helps you get a really good understanding of how the economy is affecting your client base.

 January is traditionally a slow month from a cash flow perspective, and some businesses that have gone on Christmas break may choose to not come back

 Staying in touch with your clients will make sure that you maximise your chance of being paid for what you have delivered.