Well, here we are again – Halloween is over and thoughts – and TV ads – turn to Christmas. I know it’s a cliche but it’s true : We won’t feel it till Christmas is here. To be honest, I love Christmas and all that goes with it. I love the build-up : I love the family gatherings ; I love the Christmas Music on the radio ; I even love the Christmas Movies on TV. It’s also nice to have the bit of time off work over the holidays and I try to put that time to good use by getting out in the air and walking through Emo Court or Kilminchy Forest – weather permitting of course.
Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to be able to look forward to a Christmas like this. Many people and families won’t have enough to enjoy the festive season and these people shouldn’t be far from our thoughts at this time. There are numerous charities to which we can contribute to ease this burden.
For the Small Businesses and Sole Traders among us, Christmas brings it’s own stresses. Money has to be available to pay wages – and possibly a bonus-, suppliers will be chasing hard for bills to be paid before work stops for the holidays, and we need to ensure that there’s enough money in the bank for any contingencies that might arise. With this in mind, we should be working NOW to get paid for the work we have done and the services we have provided. There’s absolutely no use in starting to chase the outstanding accounts the week before Christmas. In my experience, if your customers haven’t paid their outstanding accounts by, say, 15th December, it’s unlikely that you’ll get that money before Christmas. And if these businesses are not working again until early January, Chances are that they won’t be making any more payments until close to the end of January. Which means that January can be a very tough month in terms of Cash Flow.
There are a few things you can do over the next few weeks to help you get paid quicker. For example :
- Get your invoices out promptly. Any delay only increases the time taken to get paid
- Deal with invoice queries immediately – otherwise you’re just handing the customer a valid reason not to pay you
- Ask for the money when it falls due
- Follow up on payment promises – don’t let your customers off the hook .
Follow these few rules and you’re sure to notice an improvement in your cash flow and you’ll be able to really enjoy the Christmas Holidays.