TEC, an international organization of CEOs that's headquartered in San Diego, reports that 60% of the 195 small and midsize companies it surveyed last fall had taken steps to improve their company's speed of collection. Here are the methods they relied on.

Hiring a collection agency or a lawyer 10%

Making software or computer- system enhancements 13%

Denying credit to companies with bad credit histories 14%

Making changes in financial staff or management responsibilities 20%

Involving sales personnel in collection efforts 28%

Following up on outstanding invoices faster or more frequently 52%

Note: More than one answer was permitted.

Source: Survey by TEC, in San Diego, and Inc. magazine, November 1995.