Overcoming the business hurdles that stand between you and opening your boutique is no small feat. Finding the right suppliers and building a client base takes determination, time, and lots of “Am I doing the right thing?” moments. That’s why the worst part of any business venture is chasing payment – after spending months of your time working late into the night to set up your boutique, the last thing you need is clients who don’t pay.
Clients who try to get away with not paying is all too common. And where they can’t quite pull off their attempt at daylight robbery, they may insist on a discount. They will threaten to leave a poor review and promise to spread the word that your business is not trustworthy. All of which can make you feel like backing down. But there are things you can do.
Invoicing Can Help Secure Payment
The problem may have been how you bill your clients. You need invoicing (check out a handy small business invoice template). Without invoicing, you are most likely reliant on ad hoc messaging. Sometimes you can run a business using a combination of text messaging and social media. But that’s no way to agree to an official transaction. Unofficial communications leave you open to late payments (or worse, such as clients who fail to respond to any further attempts to make contact).
Text messaging and social media are not the best way to secure payment. Although you may feel you are using the most relevant platforms to reach potential clients, you need something more official on your side when it comes to money transfers.
That’s where invoicing can help you to rule out any issues with miscommunication and convey information effectively. For example, you can present clients with an itemised bill listing all accepted payment methods. This receipt of the transaction alone should be enough to make people pay up. Where clients can see that you have official records of their dealings with you, they will be less inclined to take issue.
Large Orders – You May Wish to Proceed with Caution
Small business owners know the feeling of receiving a large order. It’ll be a challenge, but it’s what we came to do. The revenue will feed into the business and cover your overheads, giving you room to breathe. The only slight problem is that you can’t believe everything you read. Hard as it is to imagine, there are some unscrupulous characters out there. A small boutique business that is eager to fill orders and impress clients can be a beacon to criminals.
The advice is simple. If you receive a large order out of the blue, try not to get too excited until you are satisfied that the order is legitimate (see these tips on avoiding time wasters). Check out the buyer. Do some digging. Find any online profile information and try to get to the bottom of who they are and why they are asking you to fulfil a significant order (if the buyer is abroad, for example, you may wonder why they have chosen to shop so far from home?).
Stay safe out there. Always make sure you invoice, and only sell to clients who don’t raise red flags.