According to a news item from Intuit that we posted in our Small Business News section, with the current state of the economy, many small businesses are struggling to get paid for the products and services they provide. In fact, on average small business owners lose close to $1,500 in overdue or no payments a month, as found by the recent Intuit Billing Manager “Get Paid” Survey.
In response to the survey, Mike McDerment, CEO of the online invoicing service FreshBooks , identified 10 tips to help small businesses address their receivables problem and allow small businesses to enjoy the holidays.
- Bill Clients Early: This will make sure you are paid in time for the holidays, and also that your clients will be satisfied with the great services they are receiving.
- Make Billing So Simple That an Elf Could Do it: If you make bill paying difficult, you are guaranteed to lose money. Try to provide debtors with easy, convenient options to submit payment.
- Add a Holiday Greeting Message: Get your customers into the holiday spirit with a joyful greeting message during the holiday season – it will put a smile on their face and make them appreciate your service more.
- Take Advantage of the Moment: During the planning stages of a project, most people are excited and tend to be more flexible. Use this opportunity to request a partial payment.
- Use Online Recurring Invoices: Spending hours on tedious paperwork takes time away from enjoying the holidays with friends and family. Don’t turn into the Grinch; use online recurring invoicing services and invest your time elsewhere.
- Automatic Late Payment Reminders: Alleviate holiday stress by establishing a system that will inform you and your clients of late accounts. Remember: the sooner that you are aware of a delinquency; the sooner you will receive payment.
- Keep Employee Morale Up: Everyone enjoys being happy around the holidays. Keeping employees happy will also keep them efficient, and efficient employees will bring in greater revenue for a business. By keeping your employees worry-free, they will become a valuable asset. Schedule activities, company outings, anything that keeps the “job family” performing.
- Your Customers are Your Best Friends: What is the holiday season without close friends to share the joy. Treat customers as you would treat your best friends. For example, small gestures such as sending holiday packages during the year let your customers know that you care for them, and are truly grateful for their business. More importantly, the kind gestures prove that you can be trusted upon independent of economic trends.
- Make a Good Impression: Embrace the holiday joy and make sure you demonstrate a positive and lasting first impression. Whether you provide a product or a service, caring for your customers with proper support is crucial. Providing good customer service demonstrates that you are a professional and you will take care of business and customers respectfully.
- Review Company Year-End Spending: Keep funds in order. Keep only what you need but guarantee that bills like the office lease, employee salary, & other overhead costs are met first. This should be done every 6 months to maximize growth. Furthermore, keeping up with current marketing trends will help your business better evaluate what needs to be spent on and what would be a waste of funds.