The Bathtub

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The Bathtub

The bath
You arrive home. Water on the carpet. Bath upstairs overflowing. Someone’s left the taps on. You rush upstairs.

Question: What’s the very first thing you do when you get to the bathroom?
1: Turn the taps off?
2: Pull out the plug?
3: Call for help?
4: Panic?

Answer: You’d turn the taps off. Right? To stop more water getting in. Then pull out the plug, to let the ‘old’ water out.

The Debtors Ledger
You open the ledger. Too many debtors in 90 days.

Question: What’s the very first thing most people do?
1: Turn the taps off? (follow up the accounts just due?)
2: Pull out the plug? (action the large old debts?)
3: Call for help? (engage debt collectors?)
4: Panic? (do something/anything else they can to put it off?)
Answer: Most people select 2. But the initial focus should be #1. (as in the bathtub.)


The way to get money in quickly in all businesses is to
focus (initially) on the ‘fast money’.

New debt. Accounts where the only amounts due are fairly current invoices. These account customers aren’t ‘bad’, just slower paying their accounts than your trading terms dictate. Accounts that don’t have any older balances due. No problem ones. Just the ones that are ‘just due’.Only just due for payment.This is applying Principle 1.

So, if you want fewer debtors (water) in your Debtor’s Ledger (bathtub)


turn the taps off!

 (Action the “fast money” first, the debt’s that are just due.)


By | 2017-07-17T09:06:18+00:00 April 2nd, 2012|techniques|4 Comments

About the Author:

Have you ever wondered why a client does business with you and then ignores your invoice like they had no intention of paying it in the first place or they treat you like their own personal line of credit, leaving YOU dangling, waiting months for their payment? Unfortunately this situation is all too common and can even be puzzling for the most experienced business owner. If you’ve ever had to handle outstanding accounts or you are just so over non-payers, then we can help. Real-world skills, solutions, tips & strategies to get more accounts paid on time, and, most importantly, how to maintain customer goodwill while keeping YOUR cash flow in the positive. You will find the blog posts helpful but to get real results, contact us by using any of the forms on this site, by email or by phone. I’ve been involved in the management of accounts for over 30 years, heard every excuse in the book, can spot a non-payer at 20 paces. Finance Companies in the 70s (systematic, tough), professional firms in the 80s (no systems, too gentle) and, since then, just about every other sort of business you can think of. I’ve written books on the topic, spoken all over the place about it and the blog in this website is my way of “giving back”. I hope you find it helpful.


  1. Very simply but effectively put, Good Job

  2. michael todd April 3, 2012 at 6:00 am - Reply

    Thank you. As someone else just said “Good analogy. Common sense often leaves us when we’re trying to collect overdues and yet the easy collect from new accounts or those just due should be the obvious.”

  3. BRIDGETT April 4, 2012 at 4:04 am - Reply

    So true, I collect for a credit union and the more delinquent people become the more difficult collecting becomes. Getting the fast money by collecting on current debts will work very well. Well played

  4. Serge January 7, 2013 at 7:02 am - Reply

    People who have lots on loans ought to first turn the taps off and follow up the accounts to prevent themselves from other kinds of financial charges.

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