Monday, June 17, 2013

Managing Yourself First

Here's a copy of a blog I recently received from E-Myth. The authors name is by Josef Shapiro
It is an excellent article.

Your business plan is based on increasing revenue. You’re looking forward to more revenue creating more profit. And with the increase in cash flow you’ll finally be able to hire more people so that your struggles will ease and you will finally be able to get free of the technical work.
Is that your plan?

This plan may sound reasonable (and exciting) but in fact, it’s not appropriate or realistic for 99% of small businesses. As was offered in the recent G Myth blog, growing a business as a means to solve its problems is like buying a mansion to deal with a messy house: the result is often a bigger mess. In fact, it’s not uncommon for growth to literally kill a business.

It’s easy to dismiss this notion but it’s important to really consider the implications of growing before you’re ready: loans, overtime, waste, inefficiency, temporary and contract labor, etc. These things add up quickly, tend to pick up momentum, and can easily lead to bankruptcy. It happens often, though the people it happens to don’t tend to advertise it.

Growth has to be scalable and sustainable. And the prerequisite for this type of growth is competent and effective management — starting with your ability to manage yourself. This is where it all starts — your capacity for self-management sets the tone for the whole organization.
A critical piece of your self-management is your ability to stay organized and out of overwhelm. Business growth requires not just more of your time, but more bandwidth — more space — in you.
Here are some questions to help you get real with yourself and how you’re doing on self-management. Do you feel consistently overwhelmed? Do you finish your to-do lists? Empty your inboxes daily? Work more than forty hours a week?

Your self-management is the basis of effectively managing others…
Is there space in you for the business to grow?

Now imagine your leads tripled next month. What would break first? Are you doing all that selling? Delivering? Would you have to hire? Train? When would you outgrow your space, your technology infrastructure? What quality problems do you have today that will explode with those new leads?
For most businesses, the path to growth is one step at a time. Your self-management is the basis of effectively managing others, which leads to responsible employees who serve customers efficiently. The efficient production of your service or product is what creates value. Value increases profit. Profit fuels growth.

The SOBO 2013 results told the straight story: developing infrastructure (clear roles, accountability, training, etc.) to support growth is the path to growth. And you can’t build that infrastructure if you’re constantly overwhelmed and putting out fires.

“If you build it, they will come.”

Monday, June 3, 2013

Cash Flow Checklist v 2.0

We've made some updates to one of our most popular newsletter articles.

On a scale from 1-10 with 10 being “really excited” and 1 being “not so much”, what ranking does your staff give the job of calling customers for money fall…honestly?

During our conversations with dozens of accounts receivable clerks and credit professionals, almost 89% would rather avoid it if they could. Many tell us that they are busy with current customers or trying to approve new applications and just don’t have enough hours in the day to follow up on the slow payers.

As a business owner, I understand the need to service your current customers. What many owners fail to consider is the actual cost of allowing customers to use you as their banker. Let me explain. If you have $500,000.00 in receivables and your Line of Credit cost 4.00%, you must pay $1,666.67 per month in interest costs. There are many other costs such as breached bank covenants, service fees, missed opportunities to put your money back to work, inability to order more raw material, and interest costs to your suppliers.

To counter this drain on your profitability and increase your cash flow, we recommend developing a set of daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly key performance indicators that your credit and accounts receivable staff can follow. If this checklist system is developed and followed consistently, the return on your investment will be immediate.

Further, if you're having a lot of trouble maintaining a skilled workforce in your credit department, or would like to learn how set up your KPI checklist, please visit our consulting division at for a confidential consultation.

Credit Process Advisors provides strategic credit management services throughout the Order-To-Cash cycle.

Survey Surprise...On Me!

     I've been in the commercial debt collection business for almost 30 years. I enjoy the industry immensely because there's always something new going on. About a year ago, we started conducting some in-depth surveys with our clients after certain engagements, whether the accounts were collected or not, and the responses surprised me. One of the most common themes was that our clients didn't realize we provided such a comprehensive service offering. I discuss various aspects of them in our newsletters but never provided a "menu" per se. This topic is dedicated to outlining our service offerings so you know what we can do for you. So here we go.

  1. Domestic and International Commercial Debt Collection - PCR is licensed throughout Canada and is capable of collecting in over 200 countries.
  2. Asset Determination - PCR can provide you or your lawyer with a complete asset investigation to determine if legal action will result in recovery of your money. No sense in suing if your customer has nothing of value.
  3. Access to Builders' or Construction Lien Filing in Canada and USA - PCR is affiliated with Lien-Pro, ( Canada's first construction lien filing service in Canada. Through Lien-Pro, PCR can secure your receivable, giving us a better chance of recovery. For claims in the USA, we are associated with Lien Research in Washington State. Lien Research is capable of filing Mechanics Liens throughout the United States.
  4. USA Debt Collection - In 2008, we purchased Account Adjustment Bureau, Inc. or AAB (www.  in Plymouth, Michigan. AAB is licensed to collect commercial and most consumer claims throughout the United States. AAB reports to all major U.S. credit bureaus. 
  5. Contingency Legal Collections - PCR and AAB can provide collection lawyers or attorneys on a No Collection - No Charge basis on claims anywhere in North America, including Mexico.
  6. Credit Checks - PCR's sister company, Credit Process Advisors Inc. ( provides clients everything from simple one-off credit application approvals, through to temporary credit staffing and outsourced accounts receivable management, and onto credit policy and process development. Many clients rely upon us to reduce their credit risk exposure. Proper credit granting significantly reduces the amount sent to collections.
  7. Real Estate Title Searches - PCR has access to all provincial land title systems, enabling us to obtain copies of land titles to determine ownership and see if other liens or judgments are being filed against your client or potential customer.
  8. Corporate Searches - Both PCR and our U.S. division has access to Canadian corporate registries and U.S. Secretary of State registries to obtain corporate searches. We highly recommend that our clients obtain a full corporate search BEFORE you agree to sell to a customer on credit. You must know who your real customer is.
  9. Outsource/Insource Credit Staffing - PCR, through our affiliation with Credit Process Advisors, can provide complete accounts receivable management services, using our clients name. Calls are made to your client to follow up for payment to speed up cash flow.
  10. Automated Messaging - Clients with a higher volume of low balance accounts have come to rely upon PCR and AAB for our ability to leave professional pre-recorded messages with your customers reminding them of the amount now due. We can work through thousands of accounts each day.
  11. Credit Staff Training - PCR hosts Business Credit Seminars throughout Canada. Business owners and credit managers send their staff to these workshops, bringing valuable information back that they can implement immediately. This service is currently being rolled out in the U.S. as well through our sister company, Account Adjustment Bureau.
While this menu is not exhaustive, it does cover the major services that we provide in the North American credit and collection market. If you're not sure we can help, just call and ask.