When Times are Tough, Make the Most of Business Through Client Relationships

January 26, 2009

It’s always a strain on your client relationships when you have knock on their door and ask to be paid. But during tough economic times, collecting from your clients is even harder than usual.

For anyone looking for some guidance navigating collections, Simona Covel and Kelly K. Spors have penned a great article in the Wall Street Journal with some examples of how to do it right:

Marc Levine, chief executive of the company, which has 350 employees and $40 million in revenue, began personally calling customers who were more than 30 days past due. He says he explained that he needed to be paid because his business was suffering, too.

“I made sure I told them how much we loved them,” he says, “but in order to do a fine job in serving them, I needed them to accelerate payment and return my cash flow to where it was in summer ’08 and prior.”

Notice how Mr. Levine uses these tough times to increase communication and personalize the collections process. These themes were consistent with other examples in the article.

At FreshBooks, we believe the currency of our business is relationships. We’ve also seen in the past that top performers from the FreshBooks community are client-centric professionals—businesses who maintain strong relationships with their clients. So there was little surprise when we discovered that FreshBooks users as a whole actually collected their money faster in Q4 2008 versus Q4 2007 (on average 14 days, down from 15 days) despite economic trends being reported throughout the media. Kudos to the FreshBooks community!

If you know anyone who works hard to maintain their client relationships and is looking to get paid faster in 2009, you may want to recommend they start using FreshBooks. If that sounds like you, sign up and get started with FreshBooks for free.

about the author

Co-Founder & CEO, FreshBooks Mike is the co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks, the world’s #1 cloud accounting software for self-employed professionals. Built in 2003 after he accidentally saved over an invoice, Mike spent 3.5 years growing FreshBooks from his parents’ basement. Since then, over 10 million people have used FreshBooks to save time billing, and collect billions of dollars. A lover of the outdoors, Mike has been bitten so many times it’s rumored he’s the first human to have developed immunity to mosquitoes.