The Collection Advisor

What Business Owners CAN Do—Right Now

Posted by Brian Summerfelt on Mar 13, 2020 4:05:25 PM

I started writing this blog post a couple weeks ago. At the time, tourists were enjoying gelato at the Trevi Fountain. Today Italy is in a self-imposed national lockdown - isolated from the rest of Europe to contain the spread of COVID-19; the novel coronavirus. Italy is more or less offline for the time being. What’s happening to debt, like mortgages in Italy? How do people keep their financial obligations if they can’t leave the house to work? Italy’s solution is to freeze mortgages. Mortgage traffic simply stops for the duration of the national quarantine. And nobody knows how that’s going to turn out. File that under “wait and see.”

Closer to home, sports fans are on a cold-turkey diet, with the NHL, NBA and MLB suspending their seasons within a day of each other. Ontario school kids are getting a two-week extension of spring break. Family schedules, daycare and transportation costs are going to pinch at a time when work itself might be in jeopardy. Still, we must remind ourselves that those are just inconveniences compared to a pandemic worst-case-scenario.

The original version of this blog post started with the question, “What would it take for the Bank of Canada to make a half-percent cut in one day?” COVID-19 and an oil production war between Russia and Saudi Arabia are pieces of the answer—leading to two rate cuts since the start of the month.

Just a weeks ago the European Central bank said it was focused on the COVID-19 risk to economies and markets. Central banks are interested in a different kind of virus: debt. The European Chamber of Commerce surveyed its members. 90% say they’re feeling a medium to high impact from the coronavirus outbreak. Half expect business to drop by 10%, and a quarter expect business to drop by 20%. The recovery time-frame is YEARS.

Six months ago the worst business news on offer was Boeing’s problems fixing the 737-800 MAX. It affected air travel because the entire industry was suddenly over capacity for seats. Now rather than worries about not enough airline capacity, the situation has flipped to so much excess capacity that airlines are flying empty planes to retain access to lucrative routes. Airlines are huge customers to maintenance, food and beverage, and fuel suppliers. That’s just one industry. Everyone will be affected by COVID-19.

One-third of the world’s manufacturing capacity remains in China. While production and shipping is slowly returning to normal, vendors and customers are scrambling to redraw global supply lines. Distributors have worries because supply contracts are in flux — the effects and ripples will hit in weeks or months. It’s an acute problem with lasting effects.

The pipeline protests and rail blockades of a few weeks ago barely make the paper anymore, let alone the front page. Even so, “Canada runs on rails,” is as true today as it was when they drove the last spike in Craigallache, BC. Slowing rail traffic does the same to the Canadian economy. It’s an issue, but from a business perspective it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Investment fears will linger for years.

The debt bubble I’ve been warning about is rearing its head. Half of Canadian consumers are $200 away from missing bills every month while taxes and government fees are on the rise due to austerity. An increase in property taxes will be enough to push some households into negative cash flow. The consumer debt crisis is persistent, and deepening. This isn’t a years-long issue. This one is deeply engrained. And it affects every business in Canada.

If any one of these events happened five years ago, we should have been shocked; things have been stable and good for such a long time.

Today, the world outside my window shows a lot of negative potential: coronavirus, the resulting global economic slowdown, low interest rates, and a debt bubble. None of it is going away soon, and none of it is in anyone’s control.

But you ARE in control of something: your business.

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Topics: Collection agencies, Commercial Collection Agency, Debt Collection

6 Things Businesses Need to Know for the Looming Debt Apocalypse

Posted by Brian Summerfelt on Jan 27, 2020 10:14:18 AM

The news story that broke last week is unequivocal: Canada is on the brink of a debt crisis, and no one seems quite sure what to do about it.

As a people person, statistics don’t often raise my pulse. This one was impossible to ignore because of the breadth of scope. According to a national survey by MNP, Canada's largest insolvency firm, fully half of all Canadian households are now within $200 a month from insolvency. Nearly as many respondents (49%) say they aren't confident in their ability to cover expenses without going deeper into debt.
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Topics: Debt Collection, Business Strategy, Consumer Debt Collection

10 Warning Signs that Predict a Bad Debt, and How to Protect Yourself

Posted by Brian Summerfelt on Jan 13, 2020 3:21:22 PM

“Why didn’t I see this coming?”

Sadly, those are common words in the debt collection agency world. All too often, when a debt goes bad, the credit grantor has overlooked one or more clear warning signs. 

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Topics: Debt Collection, Business Strategy

4 Smart Ways to Holiday-Proof Your B2B Receivables

Posted by Brian Summerfelt on Dec 8, 2019 8:27:42 PM

It might be the season to be jolly for retailers and restauranteurs, but Christmas and the Holidays are a major challenge for many other businesses, especially in the B2B world.

For the rest of us, it’s essential to be prepared — not only for the head-spinning holiday productivity drain, but also for its frigid and desolate aftermath.

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Topics: Commercial Collection Agency, Debt Collection, B2B Collection Agency

8 Nightmarish Truths About Business Debt

Posted by Brian Summerfelt on Oct 24, 2019 12:23:20 PM

Just when you thought it was safe to deliver without payment in full...

Many things that happen in business are scarier than fiction. Entrepreneurship is a risky, stressful undertaking, and numerous dangers lurk in the dark, murky places between fulfilling a sale and getting paid.

In the spirit of the Halloween season, here are 8 truly terrifying facts about business debt, and how to ensure you keep your head about you:

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Topics: Collection agencies, Debt Collection

Introducing MetCredit USA

Posted by Brian Summerfelt on Oct 8, 2019 8:35:31 AM

Partners and clients have been asking for years when MetCredit would be expanding to the United States. Well, the time is now.

Introducing MetCredit USA.

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Topics: Collection agencies, Debt Collection

When the Account is Dead: 5 Sure Signs

Posted by Brian Summerfelt on Jul 22, 2019 1:33:57 PM

As professional debt collectors, we’re pre-programmed with a deeply engrained “Never Say Die” philosophy. Tenacity and optimism are defining characteristics of successful agents.

But there comes a point when you’re trying to squeeze blood from a stone: when the debtor account is beyond recovery and no amount of skill, effort or good looks is going to bring it back. When the account has flatlined.

Here are 5 unmistakable signs that an account has crossed into no-man's land:

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Topics: Collection agencies, Debt Collection, Reputation Management

3 High-Impact Actions to Take Charge of Accounts Receivable in 2019

Posted by Brian Summerfelt on Dec 28, 2018 11:18:10 AM

A new year presents an opportunity for entrepreneurs to make a fresh start.

For many, the year that has passed was a challenging, difficult or even devastating one. We live in tumultuous times, and very few business owners have weathered the last 12 months unscathed by trade negotiations and tariffs, pipeline cancellations, service disruptions, global unrest and the overall economic slowdown. With 2019 being an election year in Canada, further uncertainty lies ahead.

Most of that, you I cannot control. But you can make decisions and take actions that will have a positive impact on your business and your overall success. I would argue that given all the events  and happenings outside your hands, it’s an excellent time to focus on the things you can indeed change.

Here are three high-impact actions to place high on your list of 2019 resolutions:

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Topics: Insider Debt Collection Tips, Debt Collection, Gestion de la réputation, B2B Collection Agency

4 Spooky Business Stories to Keep Entrepreneurs Awake At Night

Posted by Brian Summerfelt on Oct 23, 2018 10:31:48 AM

It’s the time of year again for artery-clogging pumpkin pie, toddlers in plasticky Costco costumes and debilitating coloured contact lenses. Yes, Halloween: that scariest of all seasons. 

For business owners, the likes of horror films, axe-wielding fiends and things that go thump in the night are child’s play. Know what is truly frightening?

Real-life business, that’s what! 

Dredged freshly from the MetCredit morgue, here are four of the scariest horror stories you’re likely to ever hear, made concise for sleep-deprived business readers:
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Topics: Collection agencies, Debt Collection

8 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Debt Collection Agency

Posted by Brian Summerfelt on Feb 20, 2018 9:16:12 PM

I’m a huge proponent of research: when I buy a vehicle, when I hire a new employee, implement a new business system or make any important personal or work-related decision, due diligence comes first. Good chance you have a similar philosophy (hey, you’re reading a blog post about vendor screening)!

But what about when you need to hire a debt collection agency? At some point your business will probably come across a client who won’t pay your bill despite continued, even exasperating efforts. Rather than write off the debt, you should be hiring a collection agency to bring it in. (In fact, you should have a collection agency ready to take on any overdue debt, but more on that later...)

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Topics: Commercial Collection Agency, Debt Collection, Reputation Management

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