So you’ve decided to pivot your business. Or maybe you’ve got a corporate job and want to pivot to become a business owner.
There’s just one problem.
You’ve got your business credit card stretched to the max. You have an ongoing agreement with your coach, assistant or marketing support professional. You lost a big project and now you have no room on your credit card to pay for next month’s coaching. What next?
(1) Before working with any business resource, make sure you have a nest egg. You can’t run a successful business when you are feeling desperate.Don’t hire a resource if you’re stretched so thin you will feel deprived and resentful.
A surprising number of successful business owners will tell you (quietly) that they kept a part-time or even full-time J.O.B. till they launched their businesses. Some realized that’s what they ultimately wanted: they couldn’t wait to get off the roller coaster and get paid with a W-2.
They were smart. You can’t fight yourself.
(2) Talk to your resource person as soon as you know you can’t pay. When you’re working month to month, you may be able to skip a month or delay your start date. Don’t email an hour before a scheduled call to say, “I can’t pay.” If you normally give your credit card number on the phone, don’t wait till the call begins.
When you plan ahead, you have more negotiating room. You come across as strong, mature and responsible.
(3) Think of negotiating rather than making appeals or demands. Remember that your resource wants to keep you as a client, so make it easy for her.
— Respect the arrangement. “I know I can’t pay but can we do the call anyway?” does not put you in a position of strength.
— Be clear on what you can and will do. “I’ll pay when I can” will send shivers down the spine of any supplier. Instead, say something like, “I will have the money on the 17th, and our call was scheduled for the 15th. I would like to postpone the call for this month. I will pay you on the 17th.”
(4) Be completely accurate, consistent and truthful. If you want to maintain a business relationship, check all your facts. What was the exact date of your last payment? What was agreed?
(5) Finally, be aware that you’re in a business arrangement. If you are working with a life coach or a money management coach, you may want to discuss the details of your finances. Otherwise it’s just not appropriate.
Be especially careful when you’re working with a business coach. You’re getting potential referrals and building a long-term relationship. It’s not unusual for a client to develop alliances with a coach after working together awhile. Therefore, your reputation is on the line.
As with so many things, how you handle the challenge is more important than this temporary financial crisis. When you calmly postpone a session or two, you won’t do much damage. Most people can relate to where you are coming from. Stay focused and positive…and this problem may never happen again.
What do you think?
Have you ever been in this position, either as a client or as a resource person faced with a client who can’t pay? Comment below.