Weeks ago I made the promise (via my blog) that I would start sharing more tips and tools on how I run my business.
These are tools that I recommend as a consultant to my clients and what I use for my business.
Let’s Start with One Question
I wanted to start by asking you a simple question.
How do you handle invoicing?
Yes, I know you probably use a tool (s) like Excel, Quickbooks, Word, or my favorite Freshbooks (Affiliate Link).
What do you have in place?
I am also asking about what process you have in place. How do you make those tools work for you?
How many hours are you really spending on invoicing alone?
When I started my business, I realized I was doing one thing horribly wrong. I had a big obstacle of getting my invoices out on time.
For someone who worked at a Big 4 Accounting Firm and was the go to guy to make a process lean, this was a bit embarrassing.
The time it took preparing the invoices was more than I would like to admit. It was time taken away from my other dozen key tasks that were in place to keep my business running.
So how do we decide which task is more important?
Sometimes we feel all tasks are important but we just need to create a plan to assign the right amount of resources to each task.
After looking at several options, I realized I needed a tool to help me with my invoicing. The different types of invoices were better managed in the right software.
We have certain invoices that go out at different time periods. Some go out bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly.
We Lose Money when We don’t invoice on Time
Time goes by so fast that you may look back and you probably did not invoice someone for three months in a row. As a small business owner that is something we can’t afford.
If the amount of each invoice is $200, that means you missed out on $600.
If you do that with 10 clients, you have $6,000 that you should have collected and is still not invoiced.
Not having the right process can be painful for your clients too.
You might throw off a client’s finances. A responsible client feels obligated to make 3 payments in a lump sum. Had you invoiced them on time, they could have paid you in increments of $200. So why create an inconvenience for some clients?
By using a software like Freshbooks, I am able to collect money on time. I also keep my customers happy by invoicing them and making it easier for them to pay me.
When it comes to the amount of time we spend invoicing, a tool like Freshbooks also helps out. So instead of me sitting down and spending 6 hours a month to send invoices, I invest 20 minutes in reviewing if Invoices went out. I also get a chance to review their accuracy.
Better interaction with Clients when Invoicing
I also have a better idea of which invoices are out and how the client interacted with them. Just a few days ago, I realized a client had not paid me because they had not read the invoice. So Instead of asking where my payment was, I made sure I asked if they saw my invoice ( I knew they had not opened it.) The client paid me a few days after and asked me to follow up via another channel each time we sent an invoice.
I rather spend more time making sure I have been paid than the manual work of creating an invoice. My awesome clients also like to pay via Paypal and Stripe making the process seamless.
When they pay via Paypal or Stripe, it saves me the data entry of having to update the invoice with the payment receipt. It all happens through Paypal/Stripe and Freshbooks.
Even More Benefits
A tool like Freshbooks can save you time and bring other benefits.
Freshbooks keeps your information organized. It also makes it easier for your accountant once Tax season comes around.
Here are some helpful extras from Freshbooks’ mobile app:
* Tracks time
* Sends estimates
* Tracks business expenses
* Organizes and manages receipts with client and business expenses.
We carry our phones everywhere. So I can easily update things as events occur. I can monitor if I have I received a check or if I have to enter my hours on a consulting opportunity.
Freshbooks started helping me get better at invoicing. Now it solves many of my business administrative problems.
What problems are you facing when running or managing a business?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments or contact me directly with any questions.