We’re lovers not fighters! Yet sometimes we have to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee when it comes to fighting our client’s corner.
In our monthly Insight Finance Solutions newsletter we always have a section called ‘What we’ve been doing this month’. Ordinarily, it’s something quite upbeat and positive because we prefer to live our lives in a positive state and it’s how we run our business.
However…. (big deep breath coming…) this month we’ve found ourselves fighting.
Woah, what a negative word for us! Yet it’s true. This month we’ve put on the imaginary boxing gloves and gone toe to toe for our clients when dealing with an unreasonable supplier. It’s something I wanted to highlight on the blog this month because I believe it doesn’t have to be this way and it cements my belief in open, honest and transparent communication between all businesses.
The Short Story of the Situation
Keeping the story short and names plus scenarios all changed to protect identities here’s what was happening in a nutshell:
Our client, let’s call him Bob, runs a business where he supplies carpets. These carpets are pretty niche carpets and so he spent a lot of time researching the right supplier whose product really reflected Bob’s high standard of work.
Bob sells the carpets to his clients in addition to his amazing services as a carpet expert. People call on him and pay him for both his products and his services. He needs the products to be able to be paid for his services so the supplier is a pretty valuable piece in his business puzzle.
The supplier of said carpets, let’s call them *AUA Ltd which, for the purpose of this story, is short for Arrogant Unreasonable a… (you get my drift!). *Not a real company name. Fictitious for this story.
So Bob buys carpets off AUA Ltd.
Bob keeps a spreadsheet himself of the orders he has placed and cross references this when the carpet deliveries arrive at Bob HQ. Sometimes the quantities ordered don’t match what Bob put on his spreadsheet at the time of ordering. AUA Ltd never send him a balance sheet of what he has ordered and AUA Ltd had, up until we got involved, not sent Bob an invoice for what he owed for the carpets purchased to date.
In the absence of invoices for what Bob owed, AUA Ltd would call him at random times and be extremely aggressive, demanding payment right away otherwise the account would be locked and suspended and Bob wouldn’t get his carpets. It didn’t matter if Bob was with his clients, on holiday or at the doctor – AUA Ltd were threatening and expected Bob to drop everything and make payment for amounts sometimes over £5,000 with immediate effect. This left Bob in a really stressful position with his cashflow and left him unable to sleep at night.
One day on a call to us at Insight Finance Solutions Bob was stressed and unhappy. He explained what had been going on and causing all his stress. We at Insight knew this was absolutely bang out of order and needed sorting so we offered to try and communicate sensibly and openly with AUA Ltd on Bob’s behalf.
Bob was so relieved! AUA Ltd always intimidated him and made him feel stupid, like he didn’t understand how accounts work. So with us as his expert support crew in his corner, we took his place in the ring and went head to head with the heavyweights that are AUA Ltd.
After a fair few conversations and calling AUA Ltd out on their aggressive tactics we finally reached a compromise where AUA Ltd would send Bob the correct invoices and balance sheet at the end of every month and he’d make payment on an agreed date. It wasn’t an easy task and we are still liaising with AUA Ltd who were not happy at being put in their place. However, overall the outcome is a positive one. Bob’s not stressed anymore and doesn’t have to call AUA Ltd again as we can do that for him. He has his steady supply of carpets meaning his clients are happy, he has income coming in and he knows where he is with cashflow without the immediate and unexpected demands from AUA Ltd. A happy, peaceful and resolved situation all round which Bob was so grateful for. The boxing gloves can come off now!
The Moral of the Story
I’d like to say that this is a rare occurrence with suppliers but unfortunately it does happen. It doesn’t mean it is right though! If you are dealing with a particularly aggressive supplier in your business I’d encourage an open and honest conversation with your contact there. If they are still unreasonable do not be afraid of doing your research and speaking to someone higher up and senior. Also look for other suppliers. It could be a time to research any other businesses who may be able to supply you with what you need. You might be able to negotiate better rates or payment terms – particularly if the current supplier and potential supplier are competitors.
You do not need to feel like your business cashflow is strangled by unreasonable suppliers. You get to set new business boundaries and agree new payment terms all round that are mutually beneficial. If you really don’t like this aspect of running your business then consider utilising the services of an accountancy advisory service like ours at Insight Finance Solutions. We will always fight your corner from HMRC repayments to inefficient software to aggressive suppliers. It is part and parcel of our service to you.
If you’d like to chat about your business finances and how we can help you at Insight Finance Solutions, get in touch.
Helen Crapper is the founder of Insight Finance Solutions. Helen and the team specialise in accountancy advice at every stage of business and help make finances stress free for clients. Helen is also a coach and uses money mindset coaching to help business people remove their personal blocks and limiting beliefs to grow as people while growing their businesses.
To have a chat about your business finances and how Insight Finance Solutions can help you, get in touch.