Welcome to the second post in our 3 part series on business administration
I was having a stroll down memory lane the other day. It led me all the way back to when I first started work as a (relatively) fresh faced intern within a large company. After my first day at work, I went home and told my parents about some of the technology that was being deployed within the office environment in which I had started working – this included a modern technology which was known as a fax machine (who remembers them?). My parents, who were by no means ignorant to these things, were still incredulous as to how you could transmit a document via a telephone line – I cannot imagine what they would make of some of the technology that is deployed in modern office environments these days!
Anyway, enough of this reminiscing – on to the main points of this post – correspondence and communication - Everybody in business corresponds.
In any type of business it is essential that all types of correspondence are carried out in a professional manner. This doesn’t just mean letters that are grammatically correct and spell checked – this should be an absolute. It does mean that business correspondence of all types should be documented, accurate and to the point. When we say that correspondence should be documented, we mean that if you make or receive a phone call, email or letter you should have a system in place to log a brief summary of the content, when and how it was sent or received. This just makes it easier to resolve any disputes and of course keep track of customer expectations.
The Student Loans Company have been in the Guardian newspaper recently and are currently facing an investigation due to correspondence issues. In a nutshell, the company sent letters to some of their customers that were allegedly meant to lead the recipient to believe that their case had been sent to a bailiff company when this was not actually the case, and the letters were just from the Student Loans Company had set up a company with a different trading name.
Some businesses owners may not realise that this is the wrong thing to do. After all, they are only trying to collect the money they are owed. However you look at it though, it is misrepresentation. So what is the best way to go about collecting your money from debtors and managing your cash flow?
• Often overlooked is the initial confirmation of expectations. What will be provided and for how much? Once a deal has been agreed it is important to write down the particulars and have each party sign on the infamous dotted line.
• Have a clear invoicing structure. Tell your client when you will send the invoice and how long you will give them to pay it. Always put this in writing if you can. Remember to put a balance due date on the invoice.
• On the invoice you can put a note at the bottom that briefly outlines what will happen if the pay date is missed. For example, a late fee will be charged, or a fee will be added if you need to send a letter to chase for payment. This reduces the chance of a misunderstanding regarding your intentions later down the line.
• Have a debt collection procedure in place before someone owes you money. How many letters will you send before taking things further? Examples of what should be in a debt collection letter is something we will go into more detail in a future post
• Is there an amount of money that you are able to write off instead of going down the legal route? This is because taking legal action can be a costly option.
These are all things that you can employ in order to maintain your cash flow whatever business you are in. Join us next time as we look at the reasons behind having an employee handbook/detailed contract.
In the meantime if you find yourself struggling with any of the issues raised within this post – or you just fancy a chat, then do not hesitate to contact one of our team on 084 3289 3288. Alternatively, you could always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
At Blue Box Consultancy we can help you implement an appropriate correspondence processes through our tailored business support packages. If you would like to know a little bit more about what Blue Box does and the people that we do it with, then check out our website at www.blueboxconsultancy.com
Until the next time, be bold and do good business