Holidays, challenges, meditation and other random good stuff

Most people in business have probably experienced the mad dash of client requests when they hear you are taking holidays. When you run your own business, you have the added bonus of ensuring that ongoing work remains ongoing, people have the explanations they need to get one with things and enough blog posts etc have been created to keep the social media gang going. Hence the challenge of going on holiday in the first place.

When you read this, I truly hope to be in Cyprus lounging by the pool and catching up on some leisure reading and indulge in limitless games. I have given myself permission to ignore all things work for at least 7 days and if I can stretch to 10 or 14 days that would be a bonus. I am officially back in work on the 21st for those of you now wondering.

Holidays for me are often a chance to discover new places although business travel has increasingly allowed me to do the same. Hence this years holiday is to recharge and do as little or much as we feel like doing in beautiful Cyprus.

Meditation challenge

To assist the recharging of batteries, I am also taking the Crystal Visions healing challenge with me, which is a 7-day meditation based challenge with daily actions. I am hoping that it will clear past issues and set me up for a fabulous coming year in all ways from business to finance to health and friendship, family etc. I see it as a way to erase what no longer serves and imprint what will help to go forward. #healingchallenge

I have done a few challenges with Tetsiea Blijham from Crystal Visions and always find they give me a higher level of inner peace, sometimes guidance and healing. She channels messages and healing from Archangels, crystal and spiritual guides, which are often pretty powerful. As a fun fact: Archangel Michael likes quests and challenges :-). I am aware this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this method works for me. In the quest for inner peace, my advice is to find what works for you. If you speak Dutch, you can find a lot of Tetsiea’s material online, recommended listening if you ask me.

For other brain conundrums and lingering patterns that I spot and want to clear up, I also consult Marylin Devonish of TranceFormations, who has a multitude of skills and is an excellent coach for personal motivation.

Typically when I have specific issues that I can’t seem to get my head around and I want to consciously clear out, I will go to Marylin. She masters a number of techniques such as NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), Huna, Time Line Therapy, Photoreading and a whole bunch more amazing stuff.  Typically through an initial discussion, we find what techniques could work and then we work that way. In my experience, it has given me great results and often clarity or a resolution to the problem we were tackling. She also has a fun way of sharing her work on social media, by all means, follow Marylin or check out her work.

Both ladies I consider part of my personal support team to make things happen. There are many more that have helped me over time, but in the past 12 months, these have been my go-to team. I am truly grateful to have amazingly skilled people on my support team.

Funnily I also realised as I write this it covers both English and Dutch, maybe that is good too from the perspective of both my first languages now. I grew up in Belgium speaking Flemish and have now lived in the English speaking world for over 25 years, so I can flick between both languages when thinking or dreaming.

Books and games

My holiday reading will consist of some business books I downloaded on Kindle and Audible from authors such as Rob Moore, Daniel Priestley, Kevin Kelly, Chett Holmes, Patti Chank and a few others. For more entertaining reading it will be Maeve Binchy and maybe some random free stuff.

The games I play are mainly playable on iPad, the hitlist there are tried and tested regulars such as Homescapes, 80 days, Hidden City, Ticket to Ride and Carcassone with maybe the odd Jigsaw and another attempt to master the basics of Fortnite on a tablet.

Challenge

For me switching off completely is a challenge. At the end of the day, when it is your business it is also your brainchild. Usually, I am good at switching off the phone and email, but the brain is another matter entirely. I think of new ideas all of the time, which I guess is also normal. Setting a challenge to completely ignore for 7 days will be interesting, but my partner is in on it and has threatened to hid both phone and iPad if I don’t succeed. (Saying that he is also still working on every day when his holidays started a week ago ;-))

I hope you find some inspiration in some of my writing in the mean time, whilst I embark on my 7 day detox of all things work. See you on the other side!

 

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Can gamification help small businesses reduce late payers?

In any small business, getting paid on time is a mighty challenge. As I write this, we have 3 clients between 35 and 90 days late on payments. We have worked a lot in the past few years to look for deposits, monthly payment structures etc. But for some of our clients even when they pay in stages or on a monthly retainer, they can’t seem to pay on time. I am turning to gamification to see if we can bring some back in line with expectations.

My accounting software FreeAgent has now started pointing out the ‘rogues’ who are always paying late in their insights section, which gives a good overview of some behaviours over time. It also points out the top sales which typically actually aren’t the late payers.

I am sure my business is no different to other small companies on the market, who on occasion have late payers. Thankfully it is not the rule with most clients, but we have some consistent bad guys, which when it becomes time to renew their contract will be presented with the track record which I can now pull from my accounting tool.

The knock on effect of late payments is quite vast, we have suppliers waiting for our payment, which as the owner makes me feel really embarrassed and guilty. We have team members that can’t be paid and families that then suffer as a result. In my case, I typically avoid taking any salary as the director, so that my people get paid, which also isn’t sustainable.

The past 2 months have been a bit of challenge in this department to the extent that we started giving money off to people who were willing to settle their bills upfront. It made me think of ways of gamifying the payment cycle from the moment you invoice.

Here are some ideas I am considering to improve prompt payments, this financial year (it just started on the 1st of August for us). Oh and just so you know, we already have a 50% deposit upfront in place and monthly retainer plans.

      • On the invoice, indicate that 90% of our clients pay promptly and encourage them to do the same
      • When they pay on receipt, send a top client badge or Giphy to say thank you for prompt payment
      • When they pay within the payment terms, again a heartfelt thank you, maybe a bit more toned down
      • For the first reminder after payment terms have been exceeded include a note to say that they are now in the 10% of slow payers and considered rogues by my accounting software
      • For the second reminder, after payment terms have been exceeded, a note included that they are now potentially creating knock-on effects for staff and suppliers and families being affected
      • For the third reminder, a note to congratulate them that they have hit the top spot in the all-time bad paying client leaderboard
      • For the fourth reminder, something similar to the above, but with an image like this:
  • For the subsequent reminders, we inform them we will stop the work and undo what we have done until payment has been received.
  • For the final reminder, before we take it to legal letters, something to state that they have left us no choice but to send in the legal people to come for our money
  • I did also consider a top bad payer name and shame list in the form of a leaderboard that is public on our site, but not sure if I would break any laws by doing that.

All joking aside, I am serious about implementing some of these to see if it will make a difference. If you have tried similar tactics, I would love to hear from you how it has worked and which ones work best. Oh, and if you have any holiday ideas on a £6 budget let me know 😉 too.

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