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Small Business Debt Collection Letter Writing

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By Joel Walsh

Writing a debt collection letter is one of the most important skills of any small business owner. Do you have what it takes to get the money youve earned?

I have a confession: I’m a business writer who’s let clients get away with not paying me–a huge sign of failure of my writing abilities. You see, I never learned one of the most important writing skills for any self-employed person or small business owner: how to write a debt collection letter.

Debt collection letters–an overview

“Debt collection letter” in the singular may be an oxymoron, since unfortunately, one is rarely enough. You should have a series of letters to send to deadbeat clients, each one becoming a little more insistent. Here are some ideas for a five-letter series.

1. Dont make your first letter look like a collection letter at all. Make it a friendly note. Youre more likely to get money from someone who thinks of you as a partner than a dun.

2. If that first letter doesnt get a response–and usually it wont–send another the next week thats more urgent and directly asks for the money. Express your concern that you have not been able to contact the client. Ask if he or she is all right, and if he or she is having any trouble paying.

3. The next week, if you still have not gotten a response, send a letter referring to the payment terms in the agreement you and the client originally made (you did have some kind of written agreement, even if it was just on the back of your invoice, right?). Mention the effect this nonpayment is having on your cash flow, and that your businesss cash flow is just as important as theirs.

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4. Still no response by the next week? State plainly that you are asking for the money for the final time before referring it to collections. Include a copy of the entire agreement between you and the client.

5. If you still have not heard back from the client, and are confident that you do not simply have a problem with their contact information, call a collection agencyin fact, you may have wanted to have gotten a collection agency from step one (more on that below).

More Tips for Successful Debt Collections

Tip: Dont wait to start asking for your money.

If its been a week since the payment deadline passed, its been a week too long. Send out that first reminder letter today. Dont hesitate to send these letters as little as a week apart from each other. The longer your bill goes unpaid, the less likely it is you will ever see that money again.

Tip: If youve been sending email, try sending paper.

For whatever reason, there are people who take a paper letter more seriously. Theres also the real chance that your emails really are not getting through reliably, or are ending up at the bottom of an overflowing Inbox.

If you do send email, make sure its digitally signed. A digital signature proves that you sent the email to the specific recipient. In fact, you might want to make sure all your emails to clients and prospects are digitally signed, to have solid documentation of everything you said, and everything they owe.

Unlike with regular emails, the date, time, to and from fields cant be forged, so the email has legal standing, even more than certified mail. While web-based email programs cannot send digitally signed email, there are third-party services that will let you send hundreds of digitally signed emails from a desktop email program for only a few dollars a month.

Tip: Follow up your debt collection letter with a telephone call.

As any collection agency will tell you, telephone calls are useful if your debtor has ignored the collection letters. But with caller ID, Caller Blocking and voice mail – if people don’t want to take your calls it is hard to reach them. This technique could be especially effective in the case of someone with whom you know will answer their own phone.

Of course, your writing skills wont go to waste: you need to make sure you have scripted what you want to say. You should take the same attitude and touch on the same points as your letter. Whatever you do, dont let yourself get sidetracked, and dont be embarrassed. Theyre the ones who are putting you out.

Dont know your deadbeats telephone number? Try looking up the Whois record of the businesss website, which usually has the owners telephone number.

Does all this sound like too much work?

If youd rather be writing proposals than collection letters, there are small business collection agencies that will take on debts for as little as $20 each. After all, your client had enough sense to go to you rather than doing your specialty themselves. Shouldnt you have as much sense when it comes to your debt collection letters?

About the Author: Joel Walsh is a regular contributor Read all his articles on small business debt collection:

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Making Money In Recession

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Submitted by: Timmie Wheeler

Recessions can be tough times for everyone many get laid off at work, and even those lucky enough to keep their jobs suffer through decreased investment, increased crime rates and low morale. On average, incomes will fall significantly throughout a recession, particularly for those running businesses which face great decreases in demand.

But it isn t all doom and gloom there are, in fact, many ways in which to make money during a recession. Those who know how can take advantage of the economic downturn and make sure they don t suffer in the long term. To start with, you need to think about current demand in the economy as people have less income than before, they will be looking to buy cheaper products. Why not provide them? Selling low price goods can help you make plenty of money in the recession. The process is a lot easier than you may think selling your own unused and unwanted items at local car boot sales could bring you in a decent wad of cash. Many more people will be turning to second hand items in an attempt to reduce spending. You could take this idea further by selling on Internet auction websites such as E-bay, which is an excellent way in which to gain a cheap selling platform on which to retail your items. Those who have tried this method have found it easy and enjoyable. Once you ve run out of your own items, you could search for low cost suppliers and set up shops selling a particular type of product (perhaps one you have found to be selling particularly well from your own experiences). If your ventures are successful, this could even turn into a long term business.

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Have you lost your job in the recession? If so, you may have received some redundancy pay. Why not use this to set up your own business? The economic times for doing this may not be ideal, but with a good idea, some motivation and a lot of hard work, you could well create your own new job. Even if you have no experience in business; if you have a fantastic business idea you ve wanted to realise for a long time, there is nothing stopping you from becoming a success. If possible, gain some advice from those who do have business experience, particularly in the field that you wish to enter. Don t forget to check whether there are any government support grants available to help with your business start-up; they are often given out in recessions as the government attempts to give the economy a much needed boost.

A surprising way in which money can be made in recession is through investment. Stock prices plummet during times of recession, and those with investments in the stock markets can lose out significantly. However, this downturn presents the opportunity for an upturn to take place in the market. Buy stocks that are low in value, and it is inevitable that once the recession is over they will rise again. Of course, there is a risk attached: the stocks may never become valuable again, as companies are prone to going bust in economic downturns. But usually, this isn t the case. To be on the safe side, invest in a company you believe to be reasonable secure (not one that has been said to be on the verge of collapse in recent headlines). Most companies have back-up funds that are used in recessions to survive.

About the Author: Timmie Wheeler is A media consultant at Platinum Plates who supply

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Comparing Fast Back, Uni Bind And Thermal Binding}

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Comparing FastBack, UniBind and Thermal Binding


Jeff McRitchie

Fastback from Powis Parker, UniBind and the various other thermal binding systems (such as the P2000 from ProBind) are similar in many respects, but have some major differences. When deciding which system is best suited for your needs, it is important to understand what you hope to get from your binding system as well as what the various machines are designed to do.

First, it is important to note that all of the systems are incredibly fast. Thermal binding is by far the fastest of the binding systems available today. One unique advantage of UniBind and other traditional thermal binding systems is the ability to bind several books at one time. If your application calls for a large number of the exact same document to be produced, UniBind and thermal binding are great options. Fastback, while exceptionally fast at 15 seconds per binding cycle, allows for one book at a time.

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Another factor to look at is the costs of the equipment and the associated costs of supplies. The equipment cost of UniBind and thermal binding are very low as they start under $500. The Fastback model 9 starts at about $2300.00. There is a huge difference in cost in the supplies as well. While UniBind will start at about $1.25 per bind and thermal binding starts right at $1.00 per bind, Fastback starts at about $0.30 per bind.

A huge issue to take into consideration is the cost of inventory as well. UniBind and thermal binding have preset spine sizes, similar to combs or coils, where you will need to have several sizes of product on the shelf to accommodate a range of document thicknesses. A hand full of boxes of supplies at over $100 per box can add up quickly-not to mention the additional space requirements of the stock. With Fastback, you will only need up to three boxes of strips, taking up less space than a single box of covers to accommodate any document from 2 pages to 375 pages.

One of the most common complaints that people have with UniBind and thermal binding is that the spines are slightly larger than the number of pages you are binding. When you look at the side of the document you can see a gap. With Fastback, the machine tightly wraps the strip no matter what size the document is.

All three options have several finishes to choose from, making them some of the most versatile binding systems available. All three can bind soft covers and hard covers. UniBind has hard covers, covers with incorporated front and back clear or frost covers and a unique product called a SteelBack spine that enables you to use your own covers. Thermal Binding has a glue strip to enable you to create your own perfect bound books along with paper covers and hard covers. Fastback has a huge number of options including hard covers, SuperStrips that have a linen finish, CompStrips that have a leatherette finish, true perfect binding, and Halfback covers that enable you to print on a cover prior to binding.

Many users want to use their own cover sets to give them the exact look they desire and to lower the overall cost of binding. Thermal binding requires that you use a solid, wrap around cover and is very inflexible. UniBind offers the SteelBack spine to enable you to use your own covers. Powis Parker is by far the best in this perspective giving you the ultimate flexibility to use your own covers or Fastback covers that exactly match the strip. Fastback even offers a foil printer to customize hard covers and leatherette covers as well as a spine printer to print on the spine of the document.

UniBind, thermal binding and Fastback are excellent options for Photobooks as well. Each has their own styles and sizes to choose from. Fastback offers a Photobook work cell that incorporates a stitcher in the binding process to insure that the glossy photo paper will not come out of the book afterbinding.

There are many factors involved in choosing the proper thermal binding system. Machine price, supply price, binding options, binding speed, and appearance of finished product are perhaps the most important factors to take into consideration.

Jeff McRitchie is the director of Marketing for

.He has written more than five hundred articles on topics related to binding machines, binding supplies,shredders and more.If you have any questions about

Fastback Binding Equipment

or Fastback Binding Supplies check out

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Comparing FastBack, UniBind and Thermal Binding


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