Invoicing when Starting a Small Business – 5 Time-Saving Tips

Starting a new business comes with a set of must-do tasks that can wear you out even before you complete your first project. Invoicing belongs to that group of small-business duties. Spending too much time on populating and issuing invoices will devour your precious time.

Consequently, preoccupying your mind with these features might prevent you from committing more energy to your core business tasks. This is why it’s essential to deal with invoices in a swift and smooth way, as described in the next five time-saving tips.

1. Specifying the details in advance

Every time you acquire a new client, you need to discuss all the terms or your future collaboration in advance. While negotiating these conditions, make sure that you sort out all the invoice dates pertaining to that project. This is even more important if you agree to divide the project(s) into milestones.

In line with that, state your rates at the beginning of your collaboration. Further, include all the tasks you agree to perform in a thorough project estimate. More importantly, explicitly stress out the number of edits or interventions your client is entitled to do during the project and after its completion.

When you’ve set all these payment-related nuances, you can incorporate these features into your invoices. What’s more, you can already fill out the invoices for the entire project and commit yourself to work.

2. Depaperize the invoicing process

When you’re getting ready to start your own business, you might be so absorbed into the launching process that you seize the simplest solutions. This is why some novice entrepreneurs might. While those tools are completely legitimate in terms of invoicing, they require too many steps to issue a single invoice.

Apart from that, you might need to print out some of these invoices, which could turn your office into a mess. Many new entrepreneurs work from home offices and their space is limited by such work conditions. The last thing they need is storing paper invoices in their offices.

Also, abandoning paper invoices will leave a few extra cents in your pocket as well. To cut a long story short, invoicing-wise, if you don’t want to pauperize, make sure to depaperize the invoicing process.

3. Insisting on prompt invoicing – pros and cons

Depending on the terms you negotiated and agreed to, you can perform invoicing at different intervals.

In some cases, it would be wise to ask for a down payment, especially if you’re starting your first project with a new client. If so, send out your first invoice at once and tell your client that you’re expecting that payment before you start working.

Similarly, it might be smart to establish a “first-time rule” i.e., to insist on a prompt payment every time you work with a new client. On the one hand, you’ll ensure to get paid for your work without any postponement, which will improve your budget and cash flow. On the other, every new client will realize that you’re an assertive entrepreneur. This might be of great importance for your future projects.

However, some clients might get annoyed or even insulted by such a suspicious attitude, which is also an understandable way of thinking. A rule of thumb that could spare you some inconvenient situations is to ask for advance payments only if the client in question doesn’t have any previous reviews.

As for experienced and renowned clients, you can make an exception and skip the down payment.

4. Ensure tools for fast payments

Modern entrepreneurs work on the go, completing many business tasks via their phones and tablets. Now imagine a situation in which you’ve negotiated everything with a new client and they’ve agreed to make a down payment. You send them an invoice via email and they can immediately transfer the money to your account from any place in the world.

In order to open room for such swift payments, you need to include several cutting-edge payment options in your business agenda. Relying on them will accelerate the payment process, ensure faster cash flow and provide you with more assets to gradually grow your business.

5. Prevent late payments

The aforementioned payment solutions are a great way to keep your business safe from late payments.

Nevertheless, if some clients still break the payment deadline, it’s important to leave nothing to chance. Therefore, adjust your invoicing tool to send automatic reminders to the clients to forget or intentionally fail to make the payment of the invoice date.

Apart from that, if that action doesn’t yield the desired outcome, you may consider resending them the invoice, but this time reduce the payment period.

In case this is your long-time client who has never let you down, show them some understanding and don’t jump to any negative conclusions, but give them some time to recover and return their debt.

6. Maintain polite communication

Polite communication is extremely important when it comes to payments and invoices. Businesspeople are usually extremely sensitive when it comes to their assets, which is why you should always stick to strictly professional business etiquette.

For instance, when you’ve received a payment after sending an invoice, reply to the client with a short thank-you message. Showing appreciation for their business and their professional manners will add to your mutual business understanding.

Even if you’re dissatisfied due to late payments or any other issue, you aren’t allowed to communicate in an insulting or aggressive tone. Regardless of the situation, keep a positive attitude and your clients will follow suit.

Conclusion

Making the invoicing process fast and smooth is an important thing to do at the beginning of your business quest. The key prerequisites that will help you reach that goal are comprehensive project negotiations and setting the rules of collaboration in advance. Apart from that, you should rely on a modern invoicing tool and online payment options. All these details will ensure seamless invoicing and timely payments.

Mark Thomasson
Mark is a biz-dev hero at Invoicebus - a simple invoicing service that gets your invoices paid faster. He passionately blogs on topics that help small biz owners succeed in their business. He is also a lifelong learner who practices mindfulness and enjoys long walks in nature more than anything else.
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