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Benedict
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My stance is certainly not that credit shouldn’t exist in trade, simply that credit in trade should be on similar footing as other credit transactions with value (interest) of some kind returning to the credit provider. That value needs to be more than a vague promise of lifting the threat of taking business elsewhere. There needs to be a clear win-win investment agreement.

The ‘discount’ I suggested is not really to lower your prices but to levy those who use your cash to bolster their business. Your steel sitting waiting on their floor is not a genuine excuse for non-payment as they have steel that you could otherwise have sold elsewhere. That steel sitting unpaid is not business. It is speculation (gambling) until it is paid for.

You may find though that if you look at delinquencies that there is an average loss that you could offer 50% of as early payment discount and over time be better off. Of course you have to look at the possibility that those who don’t pay when on terms are not those who will take up early payment offers so you may gain little overall benefit. A good Business Accountant should be able to help here.

Can you differentiate your steel product or delivery in some way to make yourself unique and better in ways that others will find hard to match (new technologies etc)? That would allow you to set higher prices. Look at Apple who sell products at above market prices and are growing.

:-)