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Many small businesses can increase sales and future income by offering to help clients and customers with partial or extended payments. This can be for products as well as services.
Partial payments, as work progresses, can assure income as work is being done. Layaway plans help buyers purchase items they otherwise might not buy. Retainers and maintenance agreements provide a business with on-going income.
Examples: (1) Massage specialists, lawyers, computer experts, landscapers and others offer on-going retainers or maintenance agreements, assuring future income for the business. (2) Electricians, plumbers and other tradespeople can realize a better bottom line by quoting the overall jobs in pieces for homeowners and other businesses--breaking up big jobs into components, each billed as it is completed. (3) Jewelers and furniture stores can offer layaway plans, breaking up a large expenditure into monthly payments. Layaway was once very popular, especially in large department stores. Recently, it has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. (4) Printers, consultants, wedding providers and construction specialists can set up projects to be paid in thirds--one third upfront, one third when a critical milestone is reached, and one third at completion. (5) Any small business doing work for larger companies should be aware of approval authorities. A manager might be able to approve up to $500 while a senior vice president might okay a $50,000 project. By knowing who can approve what and for how much, you can structure a project accordingly--doing it in pieces that can be approved. Nobody's hiding anything here. It's just taking advantage of authorities of clients. Both sides win.
Look for ways to guarantee future income for your business. Start by understanding the needs of your clients and customers. Help them solve their problems, and you help yourself. It all goes to the relationship you have with them.
Looking to your future income can help you sleep at night. It's not the whole answer to the cash flow problem, but it might help in your business. And we all know how critical cash flow can be.