With the limitation of available paper and closing of multiple small debt buyers and collectors, we are seeing a need for remaining small companies to band together in various ways for survival. Large collection corporations and banks are colluding more and more with the government, and it is having the effect of pushing small businesses out of the debt marketplace. While the trend may not be permanent as a natural part of a business cycle, it still hurts profitability and small businesses need to work together on strategies for survival. Below are several suggestions.
- Get on boards and committees. During our grassroots campaign for the DBA board last year I have found that there was a LOT of opportunity for input into the DBA and ACA through participation at the committee level, which can easily be joined. Adding votes and voices at committees will strengthen the input of smaller debt buyers and collectors.
- Limit violations, and call out rogue companies. As a buyer, I refuse to work with habitual, deliberate violators and criminal companies. If the industry is going to survive, our mutual standards MUST be high. Originators are not going to provide paper in the future to our level if we are not generally compliant and trustworthy. We need to prove profitability AND compliance.
- State-level involvement. All small agencies should know the political ground in their state and be in contact with local and state representatives, both individually and through state organizational chapters. Change in the political arena must be engaged at all levels.
- Support high-importance court cases. If a critical court case which will affect a statewide or nationwide collection laws is ongoing, supporting our side of the matter is critical. Though sometimes the DBA or ACA assists in critical cases, a call should go out if one is pending in case assistance is needed. Too often we settle out of court when legal precedence may be a better long-term strategy.
- Share strategies. If something for your company is working at a local level, and will benefit others in other states without major competition, it may be worthwhile to share profitable information for the general good of the industry.
While our industry tends to attract independent and competitive businesspeople, long-term profitability and survival will also rely on cooperative relationships and be ensuring that we are moving in the same general direction to ensure survival. It does not mean giving out trade secrets or tactics or contacts – but it does mean taking the time to work together and promote causes for small businesses to prove ourselves as a force to be reckoned with.