Trade secrets – you can impose whatever payment terms you like

What they don’t tell you about starting a business…

Other than terms and conditions for supply of goods and services dictated by law, you can publish whatever terms and conditions you like.

And make sure these are clear and easy to find and read; ‘the small print’ is often used as a euphemism for something which, while legal, is not within the spirit of the law

There’s a temptation to look at others operating in the same business sector and replicate their terms and conditions, particularly in a competitive industry sector. This can be dangerous when the cost-base for different businesses in the same market differs widely. The current trend in online trading in fashion – to offer free delivery and returns, no questions asked – is causing havoc to the viability of smaller operators, unable to compete with the industry giants.

Sometimes it’s possible to challenge traditional practices with success. In the low-budget hotel and Bed and Breakfast sector, you may be expected to pay on arrival (to reduce the risk of guests disappearing leaving unpaid bills). This is unusual in more upmarket guest houses, but a successful luxury B & B in Sussex does things differently.

Not only do the owners expect customers to pay for their accommodation on arrival, but they also ask for payment in cash. In three years of trading there had never been any push-back from visitors who come from all over Europe. The terms are clearly spelt out in all publicity and Tripadvisor commendations and repeat visits are testimony to customer satisfaction.

For other Trade Secrets in this series, go to https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/category/trade-secrets

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