Paying suppliers in a timely manner is a moral imperative

Uncategorized Dec 18, 2017

This is an old story. A while ago the BBC reported (in this article) the food supplier "2 Sisters" was asking its suppliers for 120 days to pay and a 3% discount if it payed within 90 days. Under some circumstances it wants 134 days to pay!

The questions being asked revolve around whether this is immoral or simply unreasonable. Actually I think it is both immoral and unreasonable but it also shows incompetence on the part of the 2 Sisters management.

There is only one reason to delay payment... you don't have the cash to pay. If a business of this size (4000+ employees, £800M turnover) can't pay its bills on time then you have to wonder whether it is in a difficult financial position. If your customer is not able to pay your bills within a reasonable time what confidence can you have that they'll be able to pay them at all?

Any business should pay its suppliers promptly. It shouldn't be using them as an unsecured overdraft. Suppliers aren't there to be beaten into submission....

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Sell something to someone

Uncategorized Dec 11, 2017

One of my past students called me yesterday. We had a wonderful conversation. I'll keep things anonymous for the moment but when she's ready I'll let you all know what she's up to. A few months ago we were discussing her plans for a business. She has a great idea in an under-served niche of a huge market. The biggest problem she had identified was the problem of raising enough capital to start buying the necessary equipment. We talked around the subject for a while as I tried to get a feel for how much she was looking for.

I suggested that, rather than trying to raise a few tens of thousands to purchase several machines and then go out and try and sell her product, she should go find a customer first... and try and get them to pay, if not up front then certainly on a lease.

She called me yesterday to say that her first customer was about to sign a contract and they wanted to pay monthly for the service. Now all she has to find is enough to buy the first machine (a few...

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Uncategorized Dec 04, 2017

I'm often asked what the biggest obstacle to starting a business is. The answer is... Inertia. We don't do it because we don't do it. We keep not doing it for a few big reasons and a hundred little reasons but primarily we don't do it because we keep not doing it.

Rather like this blog.

I've been thinking about starting a blog for years. What's stopped me? Nothing. The technology is trivial (at least it is for me) and everyone tells me I've got loads to say so why not start? Today. Because tomorrow seems like a better time and we all know tomorrow never comes.

So here I am, sitting on a bench in central London, about to start a meeting. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the students on the next bench are being too loud and now, this moment, this minute, I choose to overcome the inertia...

and start.

Seize your moment, this moment, and start.

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