|Small Business Information|
Do Home Businesses Complicate Small Business Debt Collection Laws?
The home-based business market, sometimes called the SOHO (small-office/home-office) market, is booming. As more and more B2B businesses expand into these markets, they may find themselves walking a fine line between B2B and B2C.
Why is this important from a legal standpoint? Federal debt collections laws tend to treat business and consumer debt collections--even small business debt collections--quite differently. Why should you even care about the issues of small business debt collection law if you aren't a collection agency? Simple: the line between billing and collections is just as thin as the line between home-based self-employed entrepreneurs and private consumers.
Home-Based Business Debt Collection Laws
Essentially, there are much stricter protocols for handling consumer collections than there are under business debt collection law. Federal consumer collection law is best encapsulated in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The essence of the law is to prevent harassment. But in practice, compliance is not quite so simple. The law has a long list of things you cannot do, including disclosing the debt to a third party or threatening legal action without intending to. How can the FDCPA get you into trouble with home-based business owners?
Possibilities for Ambiguity in Home Business Debt Collection
Fran's company sells paper stock to use in making business cards and business mailings. Her company only markets to businesses. Dave, a home-based business owner who bought some paper stock, has failed to pay for his most recent order. Fran calls the number Dave has on file, which is home file. Dave's daughter answers the phone, and Fran leaves a reminder for Dave to pay the outstanding invoice. Did Fran just break the law?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act says that a consumer debt may not be disclosed to a third-party under any circumstance, unless the third party is an attorney or credit bureau. Dave's daughter is neither. So, Fran has broken the law if Dave is a consumer. But she has not broken the law if Dave is a business. After all, how is Fran supposed to know that Dave's daughter wasn't a staff person?
The scariest thing about this hypothetical is that whether Dave is a business or a consumer is entirely out of Fran's control. If Dave used the cardstock for business cards and promotional post cards, it would seem that Dave's a small business; collection laws do not apply. If Dave used the cardstock for his daughter's art project, he is a consumer, not a small business; collection law does apply.
Can You Exempt Your Business from Debt Collections Laws?
Of course, if Dave had explicitly presented himself as a business when ordering, how he used the cardstock might not matter. Perhaps Fran's company could have protected itself by requiring customers to state whether they are businesses or consumers at the time of purchase.
Of course, the above discussion should not be taken as legal advice. It's not even a very careful consideration of the legal issues of small business debt collection law. But the fact that Fran's simple task of reminding a customer of an invoice requires careful legal consideration at all is a wake-up call.
In short, B2B businesses that take on home-based business customers have added a new level of complication: consumer vs. small business debt collections law. They've also found a new reason to outsource their accounts-receivable to a dedicated accounts processor and collection agency.
Grab Your Consumers Attention in a Cluttered World of Marketing Communications
A cluttered world of marketing communications diminishes the ordinary. The consumer can no longer be bother with the dull, trite and a boring hodgepodge of marketing communications that are pandered in front of them every day. They simply haven't the time, nor are they willing to figure out what irrelevant messages warmed over with pseudo-showmanship the marketer is selling them.
Tracking Revenue For MORE Profits
The revenue history is a vital piece of your power page and you need to record that information. Keeping track of client revenues should not be done in a paper format, it should be recorded electronically. It is too easy to make mistakes when calculating by hand, the results of the data entry can then be recorded into your power page. You need to date these numbers as they can change quite rapidly and you will want to know if there is a growth pattern. You will also be aware of diminishing returns and flat areas. Familiarize yourself with how they report earnings because each company has their own unique way of presenting the information to the public or its employees. You are probably asking yourself why you would bother tracking financial earnings of a company you are doing business with, or even one that is not yet a client. Believe it or not, financial information gives hints as to the success of the sales force, the marketing efforts, and the leadership of the executives. The financials can paint a picture that says more than what you are being told. If you still do not believe me, read through the next example.
Employee Relations Manual Sample Outline
Most smart entrepreneurs and all large corporations have Employee Relations Manuals. Nearly all businesses with over five or more employees have some sort of employee manuals but not all have Employee Relations Manuals for their managers. It is important in today's litigious lawyer trap to have a good policy in place to protect you from a bad decision or improper handling of an employee situation by a manager. All too often a minor incident can lead to a problematic situation and end up in court, union arbitration or a hefty fine from a government regulatory agency which often tend to side with the employee, regardless of fact.
Doing Business With Friends: Five Tips for Preserving the Friendship... and Your Sanity!
My colleague, Jane, recently lamented to me an all too familiar story about mixing business and friendship. Jane subcontracted copywriting work out her friend, Joan. Jane's copywriting business was blossoming (partly in response to her most recent brilliant article marketing campaign) and giving the work to Joan seemed like a win-win for both of them.
Why Does a Business Fail and What Can You Do to Stop It?
I believe the number one reason why a business will fail is lack of planning. This can be due to various reasons, perhaps because the market research wasn't sufficiently carried out in the first place, or because the financial burden was higher than was planned for etc.
Small Business Debt Collection Laws
In your small business debt collection laws will eventually become important, as your debt grows and some clients do not pay. To collect small business debts legally, you must send a written notice that collections have begun, within five days of first contacting the debtor for collections. The letter must include dispute instructions.
Do You Want Your Own Fully Programmable ERP? - Part 2
In the first article we mentioned the main characteristics that should have a software to be used as a Front-End with some functions of an Enterprise Resources Planning ERP:
What Happened to the Money and Freedom?
Ask anyone trapped in a cubical about their entrepreneurial dream and they will tell you, "I want to own my own business. I'll make more and have more time."
What Your Small Business Can Learn From The Doctor
Most doctors never distinguish the difference between customers and patients. That's why they have waiting rooms instead of reception areas.
Uncover Free Veins Of Gold By Prospecting Online Guru Newsletters (Part 1 of 2)
Incredible as it sounds, you have a goldmine of free business advice and resources available to you for starting an online business. Many entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the unbelievable opportunity of financial independence by starting an Internet business.
Small Business Credit Card Advantages
Obtaining a business credit card enables the small business owner to separate personal expenses from business expenses. Offering business credit cards to their employees eliminates the need for employees to use their personal credit cards or cash to make company purchases. Employees using a business credit card will not need to fill out expense statements, wait for approval and reimbursement from their company. Transactions are itemized and reported on quarterly statements that make it easy for management to make changes if needed. Business credit cards can be provided to the employees with preset spending limit and helps in controlling employee spending.
Buy a Flower Shop: Serious Considerations
You've always liked flowers and you think the idea of turning emotions into floral expressions sounds like tremendous fun. You are between careers and have been investigating business opportunities in your community. Yesterday, while perusing the real estate magazine in your county, you notice that the family owned, downtown flower shop is for sale. The ad says it's a turnkey operation. This is your lucky day. Or is it?
Successfully Adding a Service To Your Business
There will come a time in your business where you feel ready to add another service offering. To make this successful, there are ten tips to consider before moving ahead.
Fleet Washing Expansion Considerations
Many times small businesses want to expand their businesses and are not sure when the best time to do that might be. The key of course is cash flow. Will your current and brand new accounts afford you the cash flow to expand? Let us run thru a scenario with you and just so you know this is good advice, I own the Truck Wash Guys and have been doing this a while. Each time a franchisee wished to expand and ask for advice, I would look at their situation and determine if it was a wise idea. Sometimes it was, but often it was not. So let us look a hypothetical scenario for a moment:
Get In Touch With Your Competition!
We all know that competition is an ugly word but competitors are a fact of life in business. If your business can't compete with other businesses, don't start it. You have to have some type of an edge.
Drivng Home the Point - An Outsourcing Story in China
A few years ago, I visited Beijing for the first time. At Beijing airport, I got into a taxi and paid 450 yuan (about US$54) to get to the city. I was horrified to find out later that the normal taxi fare for the same distance was 60 yuan!
Why Small Businesses Need Both A Logo And An Identity System
Experts urge small business owners to "brand" their business ? to use a logo and a set of consistent marketing materials. But, they rarely go into the reasons behind this advice. Here's a list of some of the benefits to having a professionally designed logo and marketing package:
How Most Business Owners Sabotage Their Success
Owning a business is a challenging endeavor. If you're like many novice small business owners, you've taken numerous risks with your time and your money, only to see all of your efforts producing little or no result. This can leave you frustrated and ready to give up. That's no surprise. The more we focus on the negative parts of owning a small business the more negative results we will attract. Learning how to deal with obstacles is the key to avoiding failure. Those small business owners who never learn to deal with obstacles will often become overwhelmed and end their business. Negative thinking is the center of the small business failure scenario.
A Small Business Consultant Can Help in Many Ways... But One Thing He Can?t Provide
A consultant must remember that the business belongs to the client. There is always a danger that the consultant will take a dominant position to the detriment of both of them.
Who Makes the BEST Alliance
What types of companies do you want to align yourself with?
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