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Fresh Threads: Amazon, unpaid bills and trust

  1. Kat Haylock

    Kat Haylock Community Editor Staff Member

    Posts: 337 Likes: 144
    8 |

    Hi UKBFers,

    Welcome to Fresh Threads, our weekly roundup of the best threads and debates from the forums. We’re two weeks into September and we’ve already got our woolly jumpers out in Bristol, but I’d like to take this time to announce that anyone seen to be posting about Christmas before December will be instantly banned from the forums (joking – I think).

    Here are this week’s picks:

    1. What should the boss be doing?

    GCL, General Business

    GCL has always been hands-on while running his small construction company, juggling the tools with admin and invoices. Since he started to feel the stress of trying to cram too much work in, he’s now focusing solely on running the company.

    The company’s running far more efficiently, but he’s worried he’s not doing enough as a business owner.

    “I feel an element of guilt that I have some free time on my hands,” GCL says. “I assume that this time should be spent working. But it really has been great to be able to work some normal hours and have some free time to myself and my family.”

    KateCB: You set up a business to fulfil needs. These needs are fulfilled when you find that everything is working and you have time to devote to your family; they need you too. Well done for figuring out the work/life balance! It's what we all aim for – enough business to keep our minds occupied and our families happy, and enough time to enjoy it all too.

    Chris Ashdown: It's not how long you work, it's how well you utilise the time to work efficiently. Any fool can do a bit of a job here and there, but a wise person does one job very well.

    Kev2017: The simple way of looking at it is that the boss needs to work on the business not in the business. If you have to work 10 hour days, 6 days a week and be on the tools, a management course may be in order. There is an old analogy that says a good manager/boss can break his/her leg and the business will cope without them.

    2. I’m being railroaded into becoming an Amazon vendor

    Pish_Pash, Ecommerce

    With his supplier “very keen” for him to become an Amazon vendor, Pish_Pash plans to start selling his products to Amazon, who’ll then go on to sell the products under the Amazon brand. Since it isn’t a Should I or Shouldn’t I situation – Pish_Pash senses that if he baulks, the supplier will simply deal with a different business – he’s wondering what stumbling blocks he should watch out for.

    MY OFFICE IN CHINA: It may be a realistic route to acknowledge that you may be surplus to requirements with this relationship, and agree a contract with the supplier to allow them to deal directly with Amazon (which Amazon will prefer; they will eventually use every trick in the book to get to the source), with an agreed percentage for you to be involved as and when required. This will still allow you to keep your existing customers and may lead to you negotiating better prices due to the Amazon contract.

    Amazon does not put a gun in front of your face with a threat to shoot, but they do have the power to dictate on what terms they will do business with you.

    Clinton: At the absolute extreme end of unattractive businesses is a one-man band that has just one supplier and one customer! That's the epitome of risky, edge-of-cliff existence. If the arrangement is one in which you can make a large sum very quickly, then make it and run. But if what you want is to build a long term business, a resilient business, a business that you can eventually sell, then – get out now, ditch Amazon and do something else.

    3. Client won’t pay and I’ve spent 15 hours arguing with him

    Ian PES, General Business

    One of Ian’s clients has decided they want to stop the project they’re working on, leaving an unpaid bill of £4,000 for the consultancy work Ian did. Over the last six weeks, Ian’s exchanged long, detailed emails with the client trying to get him to pay, but he’s refusing.

    “Am I entitled to bill the client for the time spent emailing too?” Ian asks. “My game plan is to send an invoice for the 15 hours of emails, and then offer to waive the charge if he pays the outstanding bills within two weeks.”

    STDFR33: You have spent at least 14 hours longer than you should have chasing this. Send a letter before action. If the money doesn't come, sue. You're clearly never going to reason with them.

    simon field: Trying to charge for time spent chasing money is playing games. Don't play games. Letter before action and go for the jugular, simple as that.

    Obscure: They didn't contract you to argue with them, so you can't bill them for it. Otherwise, everyone would be phoning their clients up and picking arguments with them so they can bill them. Chasing payment is part of running your business. Stop wasting your time trying to educate your client on how to run their business and focus on running yours. If they don't pay on time, send a letter before action. If they still don't pay, proceed to court action or contact a debt collector.

    4. How do you earn the trust of your prospects or customers?

    Mike_Cartwright, Sales, Marketing & PR

    As Mike queries, what’s the easiest way to earn the trust of potential customers? And how do you build and sustain rapport when you’re selling?

    Create a trustworthy online presence. Reply promptly to enquiries. Don’t rip people off. Put your face on your website and social media profile. Tell an honest story on your About page. There were far too many great replies in this thread to choose between posts – read them all here.