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I was interviewed live on BBC Radio Scotland this week, asking for my opinion on a new company, Previse. You can listen to the interview between presenter Laura Maciver, myself and David Brown of Previse here:

Previse use sophisticated Artificial Intelligence to determine the likelihood of a buyer to pay. The way it works is:

A typically larger company may use SME’s to carry out certain work / services. However, they have payment terms that likely differ from that of the SME’s. Not only this, it’s also very common that invoices can be delayed or late for various reasons.

The solution is: The larger company agrees to work with Previse in the first instance (for all their SME suppliers, not just one particular SME) before work is even carried out. Once signed up; all invoices from those SME’s are paid instantly. Meaning the larger company maintains their 30/60/90 day policy but the SME’s are paid immediately.

The SME absorbs the cost to the tune of 1% or 2%, depending on the likelihood of the larger companies ability to pay (for example the BBC themselves would be extremely likely to pay, thus low risk for Previse to supply their service).

Here is an extract from my new book: “Get Unemployed” (which will be published later this month) on how businesses should have processes and systems in place – including payments:

 

“…speaking of mentally tough enough – get your processes in place! By that I mean streamline everything that you can, put systems in place, get notes out of your head and write them down.

“Business is easy; people are difficult.”
– Duncan Bannatyne

Yes, people can be difficult – both intentionally and unwittingly. People don’t care about you. They care about themselves. Paying you is not a priority. Priorities are servicing existing clients and finding new clients. You are not a feature. You are an inconvenience. I learned this the hard way and it’s why for years now I’ve only dealt in automatic payments. No invoicing late and hoping clients pay on time.

Speaking of time – mine is too valuable. I refuse to spend it sending invoices and worrying about getting paid. My service is good and reasonably priced – I deserve to be paid on time.

I remember vividly being owed around £6,000 from various clients at one time and yet I had literally nothing in the bank, with my overdraft maxed. I came out of a meeting and put my debit card in the machine to pay for my parking ticket, but it declined. I turned around to the two ladies in the queue behind me and said “Sorry, I don’t know why it won’t take my card and I’ve got no change on me”. I was about to step aside and work out what to do next, but these two ladies just laughed and said “Don’t be silly, we’ll pay your ticket for you, son”. When I asked for a phone number or email to get the money back to them they refused and said they were “Paying It Forward”.

The kindness over a £3.70 parking fee was amazing, but I have to be honest – once I checked the online banking on my phone and saw there was actually nothing there –  I don’t think I’ve ever felt so worthless.

I wasn’t getting paid on time, and while this can be considered normal, I felt like I wasn’t respected enough, that my work wasn’t good enough. That if I demanded to be paid it would cause friction and not only would I still not be paid – but I’d lose the clients also.

This is just one example of a refined process but it was four years before I had it properly implemented.

Having things like this in place is the difference for someone like me being able to travel and not. It’s the sort of thing had I had the confidence and the conviction to implement from the start, I would’ve saved years of drama. Learn from my mistakes.”

 

Get Unemployed – Coming January 2018

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