Late payment is a scourge that has a disproportionate effect on small businesses and, according to the FSB, is responsible for the failure of approximately 50,000 small businesses a year. Cashflow is the lifeblood of businesses and, when it runs out, they fail. It’s as simple as that. When employees, a key supplier, or a landlord can’t be paid then the inevitable outcome is failure of the business unless alternative additional funds can be found, and quickly.
But the impact of late payment is not just financial, it’s also emotional. I’ve talked to thousands of small businesses through lockdown on webinars and virtual forums and I’ve heard many harrowing stories from business owners. People who are living their passion and dream through running a business but who can be incredibly vulnerable.
As a result of worrying whether a payment is going to arrive or not, they suffer from mental health issues which can cause relationship difficulties, breakdowns, sleeplessness, mood swings and anxiety. Their employees are often personal long-standing friends and they feel a responsibility towards them yet, at the same time, they are worried about clothing and feeding their own families and know that they will have to make difficult decisions. They’re often caught between a rock and a hard place and can feel they have nowhere to turn for help or meaningful advice.
Talking about feelings is a great form of relief and the earlier we are able to recognise when something isn’t quite right, the earlier we can get support. It’s important to realise that we’re not alone and there any many organisations committed to providing support and advice, even if having the initial conversation might seem overwhelming.
Similarly, if you’re suffering from late payments, you may feel hesitant to take action but having a simple conversation with my team will help. You won’t be pressured or penalised and you will find a supportive team ready to listen and assist you.