by Ayodotun Osunkojo
Two years after the inadvertent commencement of my clothing business, there is some kind of lull. Maybe this business was never meant to be. My money is scattered around in painful fragments, there’s no overseas trip in sight and my regular paying job has monopolized my financial, customer service and business management skills. Maybe I should forget all this ‘multiple streams of income’ talk – it’s distracting me from the one job that faithfully pays my bills.
The fundamental problem? We are yet to be trusted on the issue of credit transactions in this part of the world. Customers follow you up for days , making very specific orders and once they get their paws or claws on those spanking new items and accessories, they disappear and you call them endlessly. When you finally reach them, they begin to give you very non-specific dates to expect your payment.
The classic situation is where they tie your money to an upcoming, even non-existent event in their plans : “my mum is sick”, “I am expecting my debtors to pay”, “my husband is sending me money”, “my salary has not come in yet”, “wait till the end of the month”, “I left my cheque book at a friend’s” etc . The real work is not selling your merchandise, it’s the dough collection, baby!
People are quick to grab and then disappear into thin air. Recently, a producer friend complained that money had been owed him for years. Frankly, it’s disgusting. Trust and integrity, which are as good as currency in other economies is missing in this one.
I eventually devised the ultimate trick to curb all the nonsense, which I am yet to fully implement. It’s actually not a new thing and could hardly qualify as a trick but it seems the last resort to protect my financial and business sanity: the credit facility.
As with all credit facilities, interest is charged on every credit sale and a discounted rate is given for cash transactions. I need to set the ball rolling on that one.
Life is in cycles at any rate, so I guess this is just a phase and things will pick up soon. As with all other things in life, ‘can’t let a little set back distract me’! And as for all my debtors, pay me back or else, or else….I’ll write you off as bad debt!