Be good to the cash flow of others

Be good to the cash flow of others

Small steps can be a saving grace for people. If you’re in a position to positively impact the cash flow of others, do it. It’s rare and it’s a good thing to do.


Eons ago in my mining and construction industry days, I had corporate credit cards. I’m pretty sure I had two, though I can’t remember why. They had obscenely high limits too, I think one was $50,000? The travel specific credit cards may have been unlimited. You still had to reconcile the credit cards each month and get them approved by your supervisor, of course. 


During busy times I had up to 30 staff (direct and subcontractors) in the field. It was a large mix of different people and we had to put them up in little country motels for their weeks in the field. 


These little country motels were doing their best to deal with and make the most of the mining and construction boom going through their area. They knew staff were out 12+ hours a day so they made lunches to take away, did washing while people were on shift, and generally tried to make the stays as nice as possible. Yes, they were basic motels but seeing as people were basically there to sleep only, they were more than satisfactory. 


These motels were sometimes at the whim of other companies and their payment would sit in queues for 60+ days before they would get paid. That is rough on the cash flow of a small business. I’m sure the company I worked for did that too. 


But I had those credit cards, remember? So when they would email me an invoice (eg 5 staff for 7 nights), I’d pick up the phone and pay them the same week. (Not many had online payment portals at the time, so that was less of an option in this eons ago time.) 


I did it because it was perfectly within the rules of credit card use and it just felt like the right thing to do. 


After all, we were going back to these motels regularly, and when staff are in the field for 3 weeks at a time you want their work home to be nice. 


I felt almost embarrassed with how grateful the motels were – I didn’t even realised I was doing it at first, I just figured it was easier for me to pay it than to field two months of emails from a motel asking when accounts payable were going to get to it. 


Then when I realised it was making an actual big difference in their lives, I made sure to do it when possible (when it fitted the rules of the credit cards, which was most of the time with mining budgets). And I encouraged others to do it as well. 


Sometimes it’s hard to feel like more than an insignificant cog in a corporate machine. If you can find these glimmers of action that make a difference, don’t underestimate that you are in fact making a difference.


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Be good to the cash flow of others


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