‘How do you propose to settle the account?’
There was a long pause. We all stared back in silence, feeling slightly awkward. The pause continued.
‘See how effective that is?’ Stephen, our enthusiastic business workshop presenter explained, thankfully breaking the tension.
We were covering debt collection, an aspect of business that no one enjoys, whether you’re collecting, or coughing up. ‘They can tell you all the excuses in the world. But that simple statement, followed by a pause while you patiently wait for them to come with an answer, is incredibly effective.’ We all scribbled away in our note pads. I double underlined ‘patiently’.
The helpful people at ANZ bank had arranged a number of free workshops for small business owners, covering everything items such as; cash flow, internet marketing, hiring and firing, and franchises. I have been dabbling in the world of self-employment for a few months now, and felt it was probably about time I started to take things a bit more seriously. Especially as my savings are starting to dry up a bit, and the workshops were free. I imagine the two factors are somehow interconnected.
We sat, several plucky business owners to a circular table, while our presenter delved into the always exciting subjects of profit margins, profit projections, profit / loss tables etc. Topics that instantly get people’s attention at the mention of ‘Profit’. Suddenly they’re sat upright in their chair, ears pricking up, and the glassy veneer over their eyes is washed away. Oh yeah, what’s this then. Here we go, they optimistically think to themselves. To then be instantly knocked back down with a following, less appealing noun, that just sounds like a lot of hard work. One guy even called out angrily, ‘Ah come on!’ and slammed his pen down on the table, when his elation wall pulled unfairly from underneath him when ‘Profit, after Tax’ was mentioned.
During the internet marketing workshop, we covered Blogs, which made me feel that I may not be wasting all of my time writing these things… just some of it. And the power of Google Analytics, the closest you’ll ever get to being an NSA agent, while you spy on the habits and demographic of your internet traffic. So be warned, I’ll know if you have read this – a threat which does seem a little empty seeing as you would have had to have read this far to get to the threat about not reading it. Which neatly brings us to another reason why I needed to attend some of these workshops.