Contributing to our position as Australia’s premium Financial Risk Management resource, our management globally explores and surveys relevant and valuable articles published by respected professionals, academics and organisation. The articles offered here are suggested reading for any Business Owner and Financial Risk Management professional.
28 Jun 2016
What makes good people do bad things? We keep asking ourselves the same question when we see how good people are caught up in bad situations and with the wrong people. There are many different reasons why people do the wrong thing, and often, there are no simple answers.
One of the factors on why good people do the wrong thing can be found in understanding the psychological factors involved. Dr. Bradberry illustrates 14 of Dr. Kaptein’s most compelling findings on how the mind tricks good people into losing their moral compass and going astray.
In either situation, this article may be one source of assistance in helping you work out what influences good people to do bad things.
20 Jun 2016
Chris Hayes writes about one of the forgotten tools of credit management; the personnel guarantee.
His comment on what many people say, “… personal guarantees aren't worth the paper they're written on” is based on a myth from “the good old days". This myth come about because many creditors failed to validate the worth of the security supporting the personal guarantee.
A personal loan is no different to taking any other form of security. If you aren't prepared to do the work to validate the security or to understand the nature of the security, then of course the security may be worthless. Notwithstanding all the work which is required to ensure that it is worthwhile accepting a personal guarantee, the guarantee is still a valuable credit tool.
If you now think is time to revisit the use of a personal guarantee as security, this article may be worth a read as a starting point for your investigations.
27 May 2016
Kim Niemi writes about one of the major disruptors in business, the customer experience. What are customers really looking for? We know one factor is the cheapest price. However, are there other factors which influence their decision making which you can use to influence their decision making positively?
Kim writes about what she considers to be the five most important factors. By focusing on these issues, she believes you are likely to attract more customers. Furthermore, I respectively suggest, by considering these issues properly with an open mind, you will also have a much better business organisation.
The five same issues which Kim writes about not only attract customers, they are also applicable when it comes to running a profitable business.
If you are failing to attract or keep your customers, this article may be a good place to start in rethinking how you do business.
6 May 2016
Greg Ferrett has written a blog with a timeless message about the issues which we all struggle with from time to time. This blog was originally written in November 2015, however it's message is as applicable now as it was then. After all, as it is now approaching the middle of May, we are at the start of that hectic time with the end of the 2015-2016 financial year in sight.
Managing yourself and your time are critical factors in surviving the frantic pace of business these days. When major deadlines approach, managing these factor is particularly important. The suggestions provided by Greg on managing the tasks ahead within the time available are a useful reference for all business professionals.
You may be a seasoned business professional or a new business professional who is battling time and task issues. If that is the case, this article may be worth a read provide the ideas to help you manage your work and time more effectively.
20 Apr 2016
Dr. Bradberry's article is focused on how you may try to keep good employees working for your business.
Too often it is forgotten, people are the glue which keeps your business running. Employees are the link between your business's procedures and technology tools. Good customers help sell your business products and services to others. One aspect of selling, is having employees which make customers feel wanted and valued by attending to their needs in a fast and efficient manner.
A workplace where people feel safe and properly valued, also attracts other likeminded people which may become employees. Therefore, being aware of what drives good people away from your business, is also really important.
You may not have thought about what motivates your employees and customers lately, or are finding you have a high turnover of employees. This article may therefore be a good starting place to identify the issues which assist you keep good people involved in your business.
6 Apr 2016
Graeme Skinner's blog is based on one of the oldest themes of business, “A sale is not a Sale until it’s paid for”
Your salespeople are often the first of your employees to see what is happening within your customer's business. Graeme provides indicators of the type of evidence which your salespeople might notice and could reveal the customer may be experiencing difficulties.
Any indications that a customer's business may have problems are valuable and are generally the warning signs that they may be struggling financially. It is imperative this information is provided to the credit department in order that can institute actions to reduce the level of any potential debt.
Your salespeople are part of your business's team which need to be trained to look for signs of your customers' well-being. It is of no value however, if the indicators of any problems are not reported to your credit team members.
If you need a starting point or a brief refresher on the importance of sales and credit working together, this article is a suitable source of this information.
21 Feb 2016
In the modern age, the customer who wants everything is the norm. For instance, those business people who sell on credit, usually find the customer believes they have the right to change the terms of trade or not pay at all.
The situation is exactly the same from the modern autonomous customer who approaches your business. They want everything their way. If you don't offer almost every interactive contact method known to man or woman, then your business may miss out. Despite adhering to their demands, there is still no guarantee they will transact any business with you.
As in all things to do with business, nothing is simple. Furthermore, the customer is not always right. As a consequence, if you believe you must comply with the autonomous customer's demands, then doing it right is essential.
This brief article, with an option to download a PDF white paper, may be of value if you decide your business must cater for the autonomous customer's every need.
7 Feb 2016
Marie Keyworth's introduces the unwary to two more fraudster strategies. People are becoming increasingly aware of phishing which is fraud by email. They may be less aware of newer fraudster strategies of vishing and smishing.
"Vishing" is where criminals persuade victims to hand over personal details or transfer money, over the telephone.
"Smishing" is SMS phishing where text messages are sent trying to encourage people to pay money out or click on suspicious links.
The author illustrates a number of strategies used by fraudsters in regards to these two frauds and how you might deal with a suspect contact.
If you are unsure how to act or what to look for when you receive a suspect contact, this article may be a good place to start your investigations. As advised on all occasions, if in doubt seek professional help.
22 Jan 2016
Ty Kiisel from the US explains the importance of keeping a good business credit rating as well as a personal rating. In Australia, the same situation exists for people who also are in business. Even in this day and age, many people do not understand that when in business, your creditors and potential creditors will seek to have the authority to access your consumer and personal business file, as well as that of your business.
When operating a business that relies on the good will and credit of other organisations, maintaining all your credit related files in good order is of critical importance. With a bad record in one file, this record could easily preclude you from credit facilities on the best terms and interest rate for your consumer and business needs.
Ty's article includes a number of valid reasons on why a good business credit rating is so important. If you were unsure on how to maintain a credit rating in all your accounts, this article may be worth reading.
11 Jan 2016
Dean Kaplan is an experienced business professional and debt collector from the US. In this article, Dean provides a number of red flag indicators which may indicate future cashflow problems for your customer.
These same indicators are observed and applicable within the business environment of any country. For instance, I suggest other experienced credit professionals, debt collectors and insolvency practitioners from all countries would have seen similar red flag indicators during their careers.
Dean points out there are other indicators which may be useful in specific situations which he has not detailed. Educating yourself to be on the alert for any unique red flag indicators which are applicable for your industry, is just as important.
A useful aspect of this article are the explanations which are included to illustrate the problems behind the red flag indicators.
In the turbulent business world of today, being aware of the indicators of customer cashflow problems is an essential component of business survival and to reduce unnecessary costs and bad debts.
If you are unaware or would like to refresh your knowledge of the red flag indicators of cashflow problems, this article may be of value to you.
10 Nov 2015
The task of taking on a new employee is no longer as simple as it once was. Today and into the future, undertaking due diligence on all prospective employees, will be the new norm. One of the parties best placed to assist you in this process will be recruitment agencies or consultants. Again however, you must choose your recruitment agency or consultant with care.
Vic Careedy puts forward a number of issues to be considered when choosing an employment agency or consultant based on his experiences and perspectives.
"Having been a client, a candidate and, for several years now, a consultant in the recruitment industry, I've learned there are some starting issues you need to be clear on."
The four areas worthy of investigation and questions in Vic's opinion are:
1 Who will doing my work?
2 What background experience does my consultant bring?
3 What is the process?
4 What will I pay?
If you have never used a recruitment agency or consultant before, or a dissatisfied with your current service provider, reading Vic Careedy's article may be of assistance. As is always the case, care is required when employing anybody these days and having a professional service provider who understands the issues may well be your best assistant in this process.
24 Oct 2015
We have all read those business stories of success which have suggested, success only became possible after surviving one or more setbacks. Yes, sometimes, the people involved had to take a step back or hold up the development of their idea for a while. Having to take a break or re-evaluate the development of your ideas, is a perfectly normal and acceptable part of the process of success.
Sometimes however, as Vesna suggests, we become overwhelmed by our situation and self-doubt contributes to our eventual giving up on our ideas and objectives.
As individuals, we all have different ways of dealing with stress or managing the issues which affect our determination to last the journey and achieve the success we desire. One of the references which may help you understand and overcome the doubts which test your perseverance, may be this article. After all, it is not that we will not face obstacles which may prevent us achieving our desired objectives, it is how you overcome these obstacles which is the important thing.
7 Oct 2015
Imbedded in Professor Graycar's article is a brief insight in to Australia's history of corruption in Australia. As he mentions, many people do not see any purpose in wasting time talking about corruption "... because it has always been there and always will be."
However, as Professor Graycar points out, the facts demonstrate when corruption is tackled, positive outcomes are possible. The Professor also highlights some of the issues ahead in fighting corruption as a result of today's volatile world.
"While Australia is very highly regarded, it would be foolish indeed to become complacent. In the face of economic turbulence, demographic change, environmental threats, and knowledge and communications revolutions among other things, the public policy challenges will be formidable. Good governance and unimpeachable integrity will have to be the bedrock of our policy and delivery apparatus. We can deal with corruption, maladministration and misconduct at the coal face if we have good principles, good practices and good data."
This statement presents guidelines and principles to help business owners and managers identify and operate their businesses to avoid being caught up in corruption matters.
As a starting point in your own efforts to understand and avoid the pitfalls associated with corruption, this article may be worth reading.
4 Sep 2015
Debbie Fletcher presents a number of key issues relating to the bots which are visiting your website. Not all of these bots will be visiting with the right intentions. Unfortunately we live in age when the internet is both our window to the world and a wonderful research facility. However the internet also allows unwelcome visitors to visit our site.
These unwelcome visitors are designed to seek advantages for their own business enterprises. The advantages which are sought include, finding out the weaknesses in your security systems, website designs, seeking to over-ride human operating disciplines and stealing your IP and other work.
Any business which is deemed to be profitable, or rich in ideas and IP, will be targeted. It is not about if, it is about when. It would seem therefore to be sensible to build a website which has been designed by professional website designers who understand and use appropriate security measures. Any alternative over the long-term is a recipe for disaster.
In today's world, if you have a website, it would be wise to understand these issues. If you are interested in knowing more about the visitors to your website, this article may be a good place to start.
10 Aug 2015
Business is its own art form. Amongst the tools an artful business person will use to collect their accounts from recalcitrant debtors, is legal action. Taking legal action can be expensive if used badly, just like any other business tool. Using legal action as it should be used is often the difference between making a profit or a loss.
I am not suggesting all debtors should be sued for all outstanding debts. Knowing how and when to take legal action is the important issue. If you always run from a contest at the legal action stage, then you are unlikely to come to grips with use of legal action. Furthermore, and inevitably, you will continue to lose money unnecessarily.
In my experience, the business people who know how to use legal action properly are generally good business artists. I also believe they operate more profitable businesses over the long term, than the business person who is always afraid to take legal action.
If you are unsure of what I mean, reading this article is a good place to start when thinking about legal action. The writer has declared their vested interest in this subject and his desire that more business people consider taking legal action if appropriate. However that should not distract you from looking at some of the more positive reasons why, on the right occasions, legal action is effective.
4 Aug 2015
Trade credit insurance is a form of protection against the losses which may result from dealing with slow-paying and financially challenged customers. Whether it is a viable proposition for your business, is another matter. Nevertheless, it is worth considering whether trade credit insurance should be part of your risk management policy.
Many business owners and managers unfortunately have a misguided view of how trade credit insurance operates. Consequently there can be issues between the expectations of policyholders and the actual workings of the insurance policy. Like all insurance policies, there are requirements and responsibilities which must be met by prospective policyholders before the insurance policy becomes valid.
If you are unsure about trade credit insurance, and would like a general introduction, this article may be a good place to start. As always, you should seek professional help when in doubt.
9 Jul 2015
As Vincent Mayfield writes:
"No other term is more overused in the business world than Return on Investment (ROI), except perhaps “The Bottom Line.” Armies of well-meaning managers throw out superfluous business jargon like ROI to demonstrate they are good stewards of corporate finances. ROI was originally used to evaluate financial transactions by calculating the return of profit versus the capital investment. Over time, ROI has become the de facto measure used to evaluate one-time capital projects."
Whist Mr Mayfield is writing about the use of ROI within software operations, the issues raised in his article, apply across many other different business operations.
The use of ROI as a measurement term is used as much to confuse people as it is used properly and within the context originally conceived. Too often ROI is used to shut down conversations by those people with a hidden agenda, those who do not understand your concepts or because your concepts threaten their own position within the proposal.
When the term ROI is used, many business people do not fully understanding its concepts or do not believe the outcomes presented by the ROI exercise. Irrespective of your current understanding of ROI, I suggest this article is worth reading if you are interesting in learning more about the ROI concept.
23 Jun 2015
There always seems to be another reason why your account never gets paid. One example, as Dean Kaplan advises, is when your customer decides to sell their business
All too often, when a small business is up for sale, the net result for many of their suppliers is increased costs and a bad debt. If you hear that one of your customers is selling their business, review the situation before doing any further business with that customer.
The four critical questions you need to consider in these situations are:
1 Why are they selling their business?
2 Will the customer have difficulty in selling their business?
3 What will happen to your debt after the business is sold?
4 Have you red-flagged the account and warned all staff to be vigilant in their dealings with this account?
If a customer has never contacted you about selling their business prior to the sale of that business or you have lost funds previously in similar circumstances, Dean Kaplan's article is worth a read. You may still not recover your debt. However you have at least an idea of how to deal with this situation, with the possibility of reducing any loss.
16 Jun 2015
Shep Hyken presents a blog discussing the concept "that all customers are right!"
As a credit management professional, I know the problem caused by customers which are not right. I see such issues through the blatant changing of payment terms, constantly raising invalid credit claims and the reasons used to justify their slow payment behaviour.
Mr Hyken raises two more important aspects of dealing with the wrong type of customer. His view is that bad customers (i) suck the energy out of your employees and therefore this can lead to (ii) the destruction of your organisation's culture.
You probably know the feeling you have when dealing bad customers. There are some customers who seem to believe they have the right to use your goods and services and not pay for them on agreed terms. In addition these customers try to blame your employees for any issues which are clearly the fault of the customer and not of your business.
As Mr Hyken advises, bad customers destroy value and it is perfectly okay to "sack" them.
If ever you need support in dealing with bad customers and wonder if they are worth keeping, perhaps you should have a quick read of this article. It just may help you say "not every customer is right all the time!"
7 Jun 2015
Thank you is so easy to say and the effect lingers long after it is expressed in gratitude. However many people forget to say thank you.
We live in a fast paced world, crowded with people, noise, and information. Therefore how do we stand out in such a world so that people want to do business with you? Saying thank you is one of the few actions we can take and costs so little.
Jeffrey Slater provides a nice story on the value of saying thank you through his story.
If you have forgotten how to say thank you, why not read Jeffrey's article and try it yourself?
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