Like almost everything around us and all that surrounds us, the business consultancy business is also ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. Well if not all about the money, a major chunk of it revolves around money for money is the oxygen of every individual and organization’s life. You need money (cash flow), not just to survive, but to take care of the operational costs that come up during the day to day running of the business, save something for a rainy day (contingencies ) and also to expand your business in the near or distant future. Here a small scale or a medium scale business doesn’t need an expert finance consultant managing their finances but also an effective ‘NO REFUND’ policy to check undesirable cash outflows.
Though a sound and effective ‘NO REFUND’ policy for all aspects of the business is advised, it comes with an ethical rider, that the organization has practiced due diligence and prudent professionalism in performing quality work giving paramount importance to the demands and expectations of the client. It’s all about good will that goes a long way in establishing a business’ reputation in the long run and is equally important than a company’s cash flow statement. Negative word of mouth and a bad reputation can lead to a PR disaster and terribly hurt a business’ interests in the long run.
Having said that, there are actually some very sound and practicable ways that can be used to protect the revenue you generate as consulting fees from serving your customers with demands of a ‘REFUND’ which might be unforeseen and unethical.
Businesses are advised to offer projects to their clients which cannot be cancelled or have extremely high chances of not getting cancelled. This involves giving the clients a set of assurances, that even if the project is delayed or postponed, the project will eventually and ultimately be completed. There is no definite time limit to these projects and these assurances serve as a security to the clients that their payment won’t be wasted. The super imposing idea is to let the buyer be aware that the payment is due and this can save you a lot of ‘refunds’ when clients are compelled to cancel projects due to unforeseen circumstance out of reasons inconsistent with integrity and honesty expected in professional dealings.
If you have been contracted to speak or deliver a speech somewhere, you should ask for a full payment upfront. Since most refunds arising out of cancellations here are capricious in nature, you need to be a little careful and keep your interests protected at all times. If the event is rescheduled or postponed make time for it, but if it is cancelled it is not your concern and you shouldn’t be the one taking a financial hit because of an erratic decision on someone’s end. Your availability for the event and a schedule on your calendar for the client deserves its pay and you shouldn’t think twice before shooting down requests of a ‘REFUND’ and cashing that check.
There should be a strict, absolute no refund policy on product sales, though damaged good and the ones lost in transit should be ethically replaced. Let it be known to your buyers that all sales are FINAL with a strict NO REFUND policy unless of course the goods are damaged. Random capricious requests of a refund decrying ‘poor quality’ of products when there have been thousands of satisfied customers of the same products should not be immediately honored, but rather inquired into with obvious suspicion and later shot down with doubt if they don’t hold much water.
Counselling and Mentoring Services
Since contracts entered here are more of a personal nature, because the consultant enters into a contract and renders services to an individual rather than an organization, chances of arbitrary cancellations loom large here. Here the professional is advised to tread with caution because the engagement is extremely personal under the umbrella of it being a professional set up. Let the client be known that the contract cannot be canceled.