As a small business owner, you aim to grow and keep your income stable. We all wish there was an easy answer or a handbook that would show you the exact steps to achieving that goal. Unfortunately, there is not a handbook and navigating the treacherous waters of owning a small business is both dangerous and hard.
It does help getting a few tips along the way. And one of the keys to growing a business that invoices its clients is implementing the right invoicing strategy. Here are four tips for optimizing the way you and your company invoice your clients.
- Automate the process as much as possible.
A new thing in invoicing is something that is called “Automated Invoicing”. This is a process where the system actually “thinks” for you and sends out reminders and invoices to your clients when you want to, it’s like it can read minds. Except that it can’t.
The world around us is evolving and A.I. technology is getting smarter and smarter.
Even Tesla and Space-X founder Elon Musk said that it won’t be long before you don’t even have to ask machines what to do. They just do it.
It won’t even need to ask you most of the time
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 21, 2017
Invoice systems still need to be told what to do though. But it is as simple as setting up your preferences in a simple form in your settings. You can find this function in more and more invoicing systems, including BeeBills.
– Screenshot from the automatic reminder function setup in BeeBills.
- Be consistent and brand your invoices.
As a small business, chances are good that most people have never heard about you or the great work that you do. It is important that you get your name out there on as many channels as possible, including your invoices.
- Have your logo on your invoice
- Make your invoice stand out with your company’s colour scheme.
- Make sure your contact info is on the invoice and easily understandable.
If you do not have a proper logo yet, you can find someone that can create either just a logo or an entire brand with colour scheme and promotional material included on sites like freelancer.com or upwork.com; or, if you are on a very tight budget you can find someone that will make you a decent logo for as low as $5 on fiverr.com.
It is important that people resonate with your brand visually. And whenever they see something with your colours, or they hear your name, they are instantly associating that with your company. The key to achieving this is repetition. Whether it is on your invoices, packaging, t-shirts, building, cars, brochures, posters ETC. The possibilities are endless.
– An example of a branded invoice sent in BeeBills.
- Develop a personal relationship to your customers.
You don’t see Coca Cola, Apple or Disney personally reaching out to their customers, so why should you, right? Simply put; because you are not at their level. Yet.
As a small business you have not build up that reputation and quality stamp that these companies have. Everyone is still skeptical to your product and your company. It is therefore very important that when you are engaging with your customers, you should obviously be polite and helpful but also give them that small extra attention.
This also translates to your invoices. Make sure your customer knows that this invoice is meant for them. If your invoicing system has a comment section for each invoice, you can use it to wish them well with their new product or thank them for the job.
Here are a couple of examples:
“Thank you for your business. We hope that the people at your Christmas party enjoyed their steaks and wine!”
“Hi John! We enjoyed painting your new boathouse and hope that the pink colour reflects well in the beautiful lake next to it.”
Who would want a pink boathouse though? Hope the contractor did not misunderstand the order specification.
- Know when to push for payment and when not to.
When should you add late payment fees? How often should you remind your customers that their payment is late? And when is it appropriate to send your invoice to a debt collection agency?
As a small business owner, you do not want to scare away your customers by pushing them to hard, but you have expenses to be paid so you need income to. There is a perfect balance to this, like it should be.
It is important that you have set up a routine for this and that you don’t stray away from this routine and treat people differently. The last thing you would want, is have people talking to each other and hearing that someone else got better treatment than you did under the same pretences.
Of course, if your customer is a long-time customer and makes purchases with you regularly it is understandable that special arrangements can be made.
But as a rule, you should treat your customers equally. Therefore, it is more important than ever in this case to have an invoicing system that automates this process for you so that you don’t have to make those decisions on every customer. Both when it comes to adding late payment fees, sending reminders and sending your invoice to an agency that can professionally pursue your claim with more resources at hand.
With BeeBills you can automate the process as far as sending the invoice to a debt collection agency if you’d like. Always have control over your payments so that you know if an invoice has been paid. If no payment has been made on an invoice, then you are confident in telling your invoicing system to send this invoice to the next step in the process.