Ask Timpo: should I trust my gut instinct?

A: Trust your instinct. If you think this person could be tricky, expect trouble. You may think the order is so attractive, it is a risk worth taking (if Bin Laden wanted his boots repaired, I would probably take his money). But be warned: if you are going to sup with the devil, use a long spoon.

You probably already know what is likely to go wrong – will he be picky about quality control? Is he likely to be a late payer? Or are you worried that his business might go into administration?

The easiest way to minimise your risk is to turn down the opportunity. But if you decide to throw caution to the wind and do the deal, don’t give too much credit or your good order could turn into a bad debt.

At least you are well aware of the risk. Just in case your fears are well founded and the big new contract goes pear shaped, make sure you have a good lawyer.

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