At the age of 17, I picked up the threads of a standstill family business, which had stopped due to heavy losses. There was net debt payable, hence no working capital was available. In the bidding process for whole black gram to be purchased for milling and conversion into dal, I was blocked by the seller (commission agent) from buying, because they feared that I would not be able to pay their bills within the stipulated five-day credit period. I was fighting my way through this situation and was trying to convince sellers that I would pay within five days, and that if a few days' delay occurred, I would pay interest. This seemed to gain acceptance, but at a very slow rate.
One day one of my distant maternal uncles advised me the following:
1. If you cannot pay on or before the due date, you yourself should make a phone call or go personally to tell the creditor you will be late by a few days in making the payment, instead of the creditor coming to you to receive payment and finding out about the delay.
2. Whenever you realise money from the sale of your finished goods, you should first go to the market and deliver it at the creditor's shop to settle his dues.
3. If you owe Rs 1 lakh to creditors and you have only Rs 50,000 with you, then try to pay 100 per cent to the small creditors, and less to larger creditors, but do not allow them to come to your shop to recover their money.
This worked wonders. I gained credibility in no time, and my business was running at full steam.