"When you send out a past-due statement, it makes for a nasty follow-up call," says Thom Holden, cofounder of Thom & Dave Marketing Design Inc., a five-employee firm with annual billings of $450,000, in Media, Pa. But a little humor can certainly help to melt the ice.

Holden and his partner, Dave Bell, created a "spread the wealth" rubber stamp for late notices. The bright green logo depicts two men playing tug-of-war with a dollar bill. "It warms up the conversation when I call," Holden says.

He and Bell came up with the idea when they started the company, 15 months ago, and were thinking of ways to help cash flow and speed up accounts receivable. With the exception of one client, bad debt hasn't been a problem for Thom & Dave.