By Marissa Levin, an EO DC member and CEO of Information Experts.
A few weeks ago, I found myself in a challenging position with my business, and I really needed some guidance from other business owners who could understand my predicament. I turned to the EO-DC Yahoo! Listserv and sent out a plea for help from my fellow government contracting business owner peeps. What I really needed was some “online group therapy” in how to resolve collections issues.
What resulted completely surpassed my expectations. It was a truly transformational, highly educational experience-sharing forum that resulted in ideas that all participants could implement, and for my business, it led to a total overhaul of my invoicing and collections processes. Ideas included:
- Imprinting on all invoices “We are a small business; please pay within 15 days in accordance with the mandated Prompt Payment Act”
- Rejecting all milestone-based billing schedules since reaching a milestone is open to the client’s interpretation, and can result in significant approval delays
- Ensuring monthly invoicing terms with a Net 15 requirement are part of the approved statement of work
- Sending a C-level person to each client kickoff to hear firsthand of any project changes and to get signatures for billing schedules
- Setting up daily email reminders and calls for all invoices past their due date
- Billing for daily compounded interest, per the Prompt Payment Act
- Ensuring each contract allows for credit card payment processing
- Creating a chain of escalation straight to my congressman when government agencies fail to pay
I sprung into action immediately, and stepped up our aggressiveness. Two weeks later, we were current on all but one invoice, we had all billing schedules approved, and I’m leading a company-wide initiative to take a closer look at all of our processes.
I often think of our Yahoo! Listserv as the network of people from the Verizon commercial…. “Can you hear me now?” Even as I travel my personal journey of entrepreneurship, I know that my EO network is never far behind.