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Revolve Nation Meetup March 28, 2012 Recap: Event Planning and Chasing Overdue Payments From Clients

The Revolve Nation Boston Entrepreneurs Meetup is the largest community of entrepreneurs and small business owners in the city of Boston, offering networking, discussion groups, seminars, business plan hot-seats, and more. We meet every two weeks on Wednesday nights to network, socialize, learn, and promote a thriving community of entrepreneurs.

1. What Are Good Strategies for Successful Event Hosting?

A member will soon begin organizing events to increase awareness of her business, but wanted to hear from others about their organizing experiences.

One popular suggestion was to test out the event idea ASAP. To do this, there are several services that you can use to gauge interest without doing any work. Both Meetup and Skillshare allow users to create event groups without holding or even announcing an event. Others will still join the group in order to receive notifications as soon as events re scheduled, so you can see how popular your event is likely to be.

Another important observation was that event planners must be careful when planning events that target potential leads as attendees. If the marketing or content is too “sales-y,” people may be turned off. Yet, members pointed out that event attendees are usually fully aware of what they’re getting into. They’re often fine with the fact that the host or speaker views them as a potential customer as long as they perceive value in the event.

Proper targeting can help, and one member offered the example of hosting something like “website Do’s and Don’t’s For Lawyers.” While this excludes all non-lawyers, it will bring in many more than would have come if the event were not targeted.

2. What Can I Do When Customers or Clients Refuse to Pay On Time Or At All?

Most of the members had some prior experience with delinquent clients or customers. All had great insights into how to prevent this problem and resolve it when it arises. Prevention beats cure, and there are plenty of ways to stop non-payment problems before they start.

Learn to be a good judge of character. You know that the 80/20 Rule will govern your business relationships: so ask yourself whether new and existing customers fit into the good 80 (making up most of your revenue in little of your time) or the bad 80 (taking up most of your time but producing almost none of your revenue).

Set expectations early. Be very clear verbally and in your contracts with customers what will happen if bills aren’t paid. Maybe work stops, or a penalty fee is assessed. Whatever it is, ensure they take it seriously, and be prepared to stand behind your policy.

Send reminders. A reminder 1-2 weeks before payments are due can help customers develop good payment habits. Just make sure you’re reliable and don’t forget to send out these reminders once you start!

Know your leverage. If payment is due, don’t give away 100% of the value of your work! What this means exactly will vary from industry to industry. It could mean that you don’t turn over a required submission, that you flaunt a project deadline of theirs, refuse to push updates to a website, etc.

Get paid first. Obviously this is the best. Some circumstances won’t allow it, so progress payments with the expectation that work will stop if the next progress payment doesn’t arrive on time may be acceptable instead.

If you want to hear more or throw in your two cents, join us at Meetup!

You can contact the author here, and follow @revolvethis and @gerritbetz on Twitter.