Launching your own small business is hard work, but it gives you many wonderful freedoms too. One of the things which new entrepreneurs often find quite difficult to do is also one of the most fundamental – getting paid on time.
As a small company with lean finances or being self-employed cash flow can be a critical issue as there generally isn’t lots of spare margin. In fact, in a lot of cases cash flow issues have brought a promising business to its knees, all on account of the owner being worried about making a good impression to their own detriment. So, it’s vital that you get paid promptly for your goods or services. Studies have found that small businesses, on average, are paid 21 days late, and this can have a severe impact on your financial situation and even your mental health. So make a plan to get on top of payments, and your business and yourself will be much better off.
Invoice in Advance Where You Can
As a woman in business, being assertive can be a challenge – especially when you’re dealing with important clients or customers that you want to keep on side. But remember that the terms of payment are up to you – you can request things to better suit your needs. Asking for advance payment is one such method. You could either ask for half the money upfront, or the whole amount. You may need to bring your negotiation skills to the table for this one, but you’ll find that a lot of clients will accept this arrangement, especially if you need to purchase materials or other things to make a job happen. You could offer a small discount in return for upfront payment if you need a sweetener as well.
Make Paying Easy
Most customers or clients aren’t deliberately trying to avoid paying you – but people are busy, and if a process is overly complicated, they will avoid it and put it off until later. Make settling their account easy for them. Use mobile invoicing software which can automatically generate a request for payment and simply provides a link to the customer. Make sure you offer a variety of payment methods and source merchant services from this website to process card payments. Try offering options like PayPal as well. Your aim should be to make the payment process as seamless as possible.
Make The Details Clear
If your invoice lacks clarity, especially if you’re dealing with a large company processing them all the time, then make sure there’s no question over the details which could lead to a delay in payment. Include clear descriptive details of the work you’ve done and time period. Make sure you add prominent contact details to make it easy for people to contact you if they have any queries. Add in VAT details, IBAN or payment transfer numbers and your payment terms – in bold font. Have someone else check over your invoice to make sure everything is clear – you don’t want to leave any confusion or room for error when it comes to getting your payment. You could also add a note stating that unpaid invoices will attract interest.