My store hadn’t been opened for very long when she said to me with a twinkle in her eye, “Madame, it looks like you are going to have to put on your big girl panties.” and then walked away.
She was right.
Someone owed us money and I needed to pick up the phone and call him to discuss it.
It was uncomfortable and awkward but it needed to be done. The invoice had been mailed several times, emails and voicemails had gone unreturned.
With my phone number blocked, I picked up the phone and proceeded to call this gruff and abrasive man to negotiate why he should pay us and pay us now.
It was not fun.
A few years later, I took on a project for a client whom I had a bad feeling about. I ended up in the same situation. She owed us a lot of money because we kept doing the work, even though she had not paid.
Having to chase her for money was the most unpleasant part of my business and even now, after all these years, once-in-a-while it happens again.
On one hand, I want to believe that people are good and that they will pay their invoices according to our agreement, like mature and responsible adults.
On the other hand, I want to create really rigid processes to ensure I am never taken advantage of again, because let’s face it when that happens, it doesn’t feel good.Those people who are not always true to their word represent the hardest part of running a business. Click To Tweet
One might say, “let it go, it is a small percentage of your business, just ‘write it off’ as a loss.”
But here’s the rub….
For each of the three people who have stiffed me in some way over the past eight years, somehow in my gut I knew they were not a good match.
The lesson, the really hard part of running a business, is saying no to those people BEFORE they owe you money when you sense they are not as full of integrity as the other 99.6%.
So how do you do that? How do you graciously say, “no thank you” to business when you fear loss of revenue, hurting someone’s feelings, or being wrong?
It’s not easy and I am still learning but the simplest way to handle this is to stick to your own rules (in every case I described above, I made an exception). And, if you REALLY don’t want the business, just tell them the truth.
Put YOUR big girl panties on and say “no thank you, too busy, can’t do it.”
What about you? What is the hardest part of running your business? What is that thing that makes you squirm, keeps you up at night, and makes you wish you could just hire someone else to “just do it” for you?