As a business owner, you must be prepared for the up periods and the down periods. Though downtimes or issues that crop up in your business can be personally tough, you will need to handle them properly in order to become successful. If you are maintaining your business well then hit a snag, it can seem to come out of nowhere. One of the worst snags that you can hit is having to go into litigation with a long term client over non-payment. This could mean that your income goes down and that your legal expenses increase exponentially. Despite these issues, you will need to keep it together to make sure that your business remains intact. Here are a few ways to maintain your cool and your company when suing a long-term client over non-payment.
Offer to settle out of court
If communication with a long-term client has broken down, the first thing that you should do is consult an attorney. Even though you should get an attorney, this does not mean that you have to file a lawsuit in court immediately. A lawyer is a good go-between to help work out a payment plan in order to avoid going to court. The attorney performing all of the communication offers encouragement for your client to go through with paying off the debt. In the event that the attorney isn't able to get a settlement, the attorney can choose when to take the next steps.
Allow your attorney to act on your behalf
It is not uncommon to get emotional about your personal business. If it will be too emotional for you to deal with your client in court, you should have your attorney act on your behalf in all of the proceedings. After the day of proceedings, the attorney can brief you on what happened in court and talk about any decisions that must be made. Staying out of the courtroom will also allow you to keep your mind in the office, instead of on the court case.
Reconfigure how you run your business
If you have found yourself in civil litigation due to a long-term client not paying you, you should reconsider your payment method. If you run a Net 30 business, that is paid 30 days after the service or product is received, consider getting a deposit, then waiting for the rest after delivery. You can also use a cash on delivery that gives you a check each time you deliver your products and services. Having a plan on how to not miss out on any more money will help keep your business running after the loss of a client.