Only 66 percent of flights to the Big Apple arrive on time. There’s nothing worse: You’ve got a big meeting with a potential new client, but your flight is running three hours late. You miss the meeting and blow the entire deal. This isn’t something that happens to the other guy. It could happen to you, especially if you’re traveling to New York City. That’s because only 66.3 percent of flights to the New York metropolitan area land on time, well below the national average of 78.9 percent, according to a recent report. Sure, those tourists from Omaha who scored front row tickets to The Lion King may love New York. But for stressed-out business travelers, the sentiment is closer to loathing. But the problem isn’t limited to the Big Apple. Five other metro areas — Philadelphia, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, and San Francisco — also had higher-than-average delays. If you have to travel for business, we suggest a trip to Salt Lake City. The air is clean, the people are kind, and, best of all, nearly 90 percent of all flights land on time.
Do the math. Why would anyone pay $450 a year for a Platinum Card from American Express when there are many other credit cards that charge, you know, nada? Well, according to blogger David Baum, even at that price, the Platinum Card is a steal. When Baum’s Apple laptop broke down this year, he used the card’s extended warranty protection to cover the repair, saving himself $300. And when his rambunctious puppy, Leila, chewed through a fancy new dog carrier, AmEx refunded the $120 purchase price. He’s also scored free access to airport club lounges, rental car upgrades, and hotel room discounts. And then there’s the time last summer when an airline lost his son’s bag that contained a digital camera and a $740 dental retainer. The airline wrote him a check for just $464. But AmEX came through with $1,000 for the remaining items. We’re not exactly mathletes, but we’re pretty sure that adds up to more than $450.
Pay day. Sometimes the hardest part of being a small business owner is not getting customers, it’s getting them to pay. In fact, it’s estimated that bad debt is responsible for killing one out of five small businesses. Here’s the bottom line: If you want to be around tomorrow, you have to get customers to pay today. This article offers some practical advice to business owners who want to get paid promptly. (We’re assuming that’s pretty much every business owner on the planet.) For starters, be very clear about the price you are charging and when payment is due. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to customers the moment they fall behind on a payment. This is critical because the longer an account falls behind, the harder it becomes to collect. Finally, have a little flexibility, especially in these challenging times. Offer to break payments into installments for customers who are struggling. You may not collect every dollar you’re owed. But something sure is better than a big fat nothing.