Let’s Talk About Money

Crickets. Shifting in chairs. Throats clearing. Those signs of discomfort are what you usually notice when bringing up the topic of money or finances.

Despite the fact that society and technology are moving forward, the thoughts and feelings and uncomfortableness about money remain the same. There are even apps to avoid exchanging money. Think about Uber and other on demand marketplaces – the transaction is seamless and blind. No fumbling for cash or figuring out a tip. Press “order” and its done. You can even split a dinner check among friends with apps like Venmo. Shopping apps like Spring are making the discovery and purchase process more visually appealing. Even the word “monetization” is a softer way of saying “driving revenue.”

Let’s take digital publishers as an example. Digital publishers are businesses. They need to have revenue streams in order to continue to produce the content and drive the quality traffic that is required by advertisers. As these digital publishers grow, the need for new high quality content typically outpaces the revenue initially.

Once you’ve gotten an advertiser on board, you set up payment terms, invoice your customers, and wait for them to pay you. A recent survey by C2FO found that 20% of businesses say their customers regularly pay later than expected. So, you have to ask for the money. It is hugely nerve-wracking to call up your customers and ask for outstanding invoices to be paid. Your biggest fear is that you’ll upset the customer and lose the business. You’re afraid that making the call means you won’t ever actually get paid. So, we’re content to sit around and wait for our customers to pay us on their own terms.

I’m the first one to champion for the customer, and there are situations where you’re able to extend their payment terms. But, we need to start remembering why they paid you in the first place. A customer isn’t paying you out of charity, this is a simple business transaction. You provided a good or service that they needed at a price and terms they agreed to.

In order for businesses to grow, we need to become comfortable talking about money, developing payment terms that work, and expecting on-time payments from our customers.


Keith Smith
Keith Smith is the Co-founder and CEO of Payability, a FinTech company that provides financing and payment solutions to eCommerce sellers. Its patented technology utilizes machine learning algorithms to underwrite customers based on sales quality and historical eCommerce performance - rather than simply looking at personal credit scores. Previously, Keith founded and ran multiple startups, including; CyberMortgage, Zango, and BigDoor. Keith lends his time to early-stage startups via Techstars and serves as an adviser, investor, and board member for multiple tech startups.

Share This

Copy Link to Clipboard