Running a small business can be hard work. Unlike perhaps in a large multi-international with lots of finance, everything is very dependent on cash-flow. If the proverbial cheque does not hit the door mat then all sorts of problems begin.

One of the worst experiences is, after carefully producing your work, sending the invoice and waiting (30 days-60 days- forever) and nothing comes back. What to do? Too much to ignore but too little to spend shed-loads in legal fees.

So – the small claims court/system awaits. I have had experience of the online version. After logging in to your “Government Gateway” a very clunky an un-user-friendly portal awaits. You work through the system, plead your case and await the outcome. I confess that I am still unsure if I did it right – it certainly felt very unfinished.

The “other side” eventually paid – very grudgingly – but I cannot in all honesty say that I enjoyed the process.

There is another way. The answer, as with most disputes, could be mediation. This can be quick and cost-effective (ASM PLUS can do this from £300.00 plus VAT) and allows all parties to at least air their thoughts. Whilst some non-payments can be vindictive or accidental (e.g. the customer going out of business despite all efforts) in a lot of cases there is something that needs working out and the chance to “get things off your chest” by way of a mediation is compelling.

If you find yourself in that position don’t despair – try the ASM PLUS solution. Releasing cash “held” by medium or long- term debtors is a great experience and allows your business to “simply get on with it”!