Many entrepreneurs are trying to balance the demands of both their businesses and their children; many also find it easier to manage their family life separately from the corporate world (the hours of a small business owner are generally more flexible than those of a nine-to-five employee, in this regard).
It's a great challenge, particularly for the self-employed.
According to Jennifer Martin, executive director of the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association, estimated that more than 70 percent of the organization's 318 members have children younger than 13.
“A lot of people have left the corporate world out of necessity or because of the economy,” said Martin.
“Many had children and needed a schedule that worked more with them.”
Some small-business owners try to shame their customers into paying their bills by posting their bad checks on the cash register or by keeping a repaired item until the bill's completed.
But this doesn't work for everyone; some businesses need to take a more delicate approach. And if the problem escalates, the business owner will have to consider whether it's worth chasing down the money or just 'take the hit.'
But don't fret. There are steps small-business owners can take to increase the chances of collecting payment.
One of the most important tools for those businesses involving transactions worth $500 or more is a contract outlining the materials and services used. The contract should also outline a payment schedule (a down payment could be required to cover expenses at the start and additional payments to be required at certain points of the project. And if you should ever have to go to court, a solid contract will make things a lot easier. But any legal action should only be used as a last resort. Court will be time-consuming and an up-front investment as is).
There may be times when sending extra invoices and reminder notes doesn't work; then a phone call needs to be made to the client.
“Try to follow up on whatever you consider to be a regular reasonable basis to find out when you can expect your payment”, said Cindy Schulz, owner of Schulz Iron Works in Raleigh, North Carolina and president of the American Subcontractors Association of the Carolinas. She further commented that “If you have not received your payment by the date, call back and find out what is going on.”
If a payment's not going to be received, try to find out why: Does the client have a problem with the service? They just don't have the money? If it's the former, mediation could resolve matters; if it's the latter, work out payment plans.
Sources: “Balancing babies and small business”-The News and Observer-The (Sunday) Vindicator, July 7, 2013, “Billing problem can cause friction”-The News and Observer-The (Sunday) Vindicator, Aug. 18, 2013