'I was too scared to ask for the money'

TAMLYN STEWART
Last updated 13:44 18/06/2013
Melanie Morris
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ

SOUND ADVICE: Melanie Morris, owner of Bookkeeping and Beyond, speaks to The Biz audience in Christchurch.

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Don't be afraid to ask for your money, Christchurch business owner Melanie Morris says.

Morris was speaking to owners of small and medium-sized businesses at The Biz, a free event for business owners hosted by Yellow in the city today.

Speakers included a number of local business owners and representatives from Yellow, Google and BNZ.

Morris, who started her own business Bookkeeping and Beyond in 2006, said she learned a crucial lesson in her second year in business. She did a lot of work for a big client, who initially paid promptly but then got behind in payments.

Morris was too scared to ask for the money. The client then went under, leaving Morris as an unsecured creditor.

''I lost a whole year's rent because I was too scared to ask for the money.

''If you're too scared to ask for the money, outsource it.''

Business owners also needed to make sure they were using the right accounting software and the right terms of engagement.

Cash was king and business owners needed to plan for ways to survive during a downturn.

They would need a good set of books to show investors or the bank.

Small businesses also needed to think about their terms of payment and consider making them shorter, or offering prompt payment discounts.

''Invoice as promptly as you can and keep on track with your debtors.''

''It's your money so go and get it.''

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- The Press

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