How to cope with a triple-dip recession
The pound in meltdown
Image by Alan Cleaver

Most of us have fond memories of a Double Dip, when stockbrokers predicted stocks crash, as being two flavours of sherbet with a Swizzelstick attached, but in more recent times the shadow of a double-dip recession has loomed large over the British economy.

Indeed, theUKeconomy was in recession until June 2009, and again in early 2012, with several single-quarter contractions in GDP in the meantime (two consecutive quarters of negative growth are required for a recession to have officially taken place).

Now, following the news that GDP contracted by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2012,Britainis just one growth report away from entering a triple-dip, which has thrown many economists into something of a frenzy.

A newly published Ipsos MORI poll shows that many members of the public expect a recession at some point in 2013, with 61% predicting that the third sustained downward trend in the current turbulent economic cycle will come before the end of the year.

What does this mean for businesses struggling to cope with changing economic conditions?

Firstly, it means this is a time to be self-interested – there simply is not the reliable external growth coming into most businesses to compensate for generosity and altruism in invoicing processes.

Play it by the books and you have every right to pursue for payment; and if your clients are having cash flow difficulties of their own, you might be doing them a favour by demanding timely settlement of their accounts.

While you may be able to absorb the cost of their non-payment for several months, if you’re ever going to receive your funds, it’s likely to end with your troubled client paying you a lump sum equivalent to several months’ invoices within the space of a few days or weeks.

By forcing them, where possible, to pay more promptly, you could actually be helping to keep their cash flow – and yours as well – steadier and more consistent, with positive knock-on effects for the wider economy and GDP as a result.

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