Archive for the ‘Collect Cash’ Category

 

iPhone Invoicing Can Yield Cashflow Magic

Spending your night and weekends invoicing? Invoicing whenever you can find your desk? Waiting to get paid for a job that you finished weeks ago? Technology just handed self employed awesome, easy profit capture tools. You can now quote, invoice, provide evidence, and get paid with your iPhone. Even if you are not a technology wiz, these are easy.

Email quotes and proposals before you get home. No more time waiting to get back to the office, or using you weekend time to write up quotes or proposals. These applications let you enter common products and units in a couple keystrokes. So if you are a plumber, electrician, or contractor think about those standard materials you use frequently. The quote and invoicing apps also with Google Contacts so that your customer names, addresses and emails are easily used without fat finger typos causing misspellings and frustration. Several examples to choose from include Omni Invoice, Invoice2go, or GetPaid.

Quickly turn quotes into invoices before you leave the customer. The biggest loss of profit dollars I see in my self employed clients is not billing for extra work done while they’re being to darn helpful. Many contractors don’t have an easy, professional, instant way to modify customer invoices to capture that last minute extra work. iPhone invoicing lets you add materials and hours to the original quote. You can then show it to and email the customer before leaving their home, lawn, office, or worksite. The apps I just mentioned above let you do that.

What if you have backup receipts or other documents? If you have purchased items for your projects and have receipts that you need to justify your invoice, either to forward to the customer or just for you’re your own memory, try Genius Scan. This app automatically sizes the picture size to the paper size, re-squares the image (can you get your camera to line up with the paper in less than 3 seconds, I can’t), and makes that picture bright and clear so it’s easier to see.

Now, just take a credit card payment. No more chasing the client or waiting for your money when you can take credit card payments from your iPhone. Using an application such as Square, you can swipe a card, process the payment instantly and send the receipt to the customer.

Don’t have an iPhone yet? Verizon is expected to get the iPhone by January. Also, many of these apps are available for the iPad if you were looking for a business excuse to have one in your life.

Too busy to research for yourself? What if you want this ease of quoting, invoicing, and taking payment but fear it will mess up your already hectic schedule? I’ll hook you up to the local technology guys that can set up and support you. Call, email, or see me and I’ll get you started.

Hey, my sole priority in life is to help make you profitable and happy so you can work to reach your financial goals. These tools can reduce the stress of collecting from customers so you have more time to build your business. These apps can help to improve your cash flow so much, it’ll feel like magic!

Now stop reading about iPhone Invoicing and start doing! Let’s create your personal profit strategies for growing profit. Call small business profitability coach Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP®. She can be reached at, 888-920-2030 or by email at merralee@captureprofits.com.

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IPhone Apps as Profitability Tools

Upgrading my iPhone 3 to an iPhone 4 may seem like an unnecessary up grade, but hear me out. Many look to their iPhones for cool games and music, a few cool grocery, gas, and gadgets they can share with their friends. Not me; I am a total productivity gal. In my opinion, the evolving tools worth seeking on iPhone transcend beyond mere productivity, they are starting to make a difference in profitability.

We hear time and again that “the fortune is in the follow up”. Those of us who build our businesses based on relationships can attest, it takes lots and lots of follow up. Consider some of these simple, yet essential tools available on iPhone.

MailMe Voice – is a handy little app that lets you send an instant voice message directly into your email inbox. With simply two taps of the screen you can talk capturing something you want to follow up. Say, something you remembered while you were driving or you just promised to someone while you were on the cell phone. That way whatever you promise someone gets recorded even if you can’t take the time to write it down right now. Besides, this is much safer.

MailMe Text – Also very handy, will email yourself a very quick text note. For example, a reminder when you are in a meeting and want to send yourself a follow up for later. For example, I do a lot of my research at nights and mornings when I am at my computer and therefore working on the tasks assigned.

iPhone 4 Camera – I meet a lot of people and receive a lot of business cards. The camera in the iPhone 4 is crisp enough to take a picture of the card so I can email it to my assistant for data entry into MS Outlook, my primary contact manager. This is the only item on this list that really needed an iPhone 4; all the others work just as well on version 3.

Digits Calculator – Most calculators seem such a low-tech item barely worth mentioning. Digits, however, has a history tape like the old adding machine, that shows your past entries. That way if you are entering a string of numbers, and you mistype one, you can edit it. Great for when you are estimating for a ballpark price proposal and the client wants to change some assumptions along the way.

Omni Invoice – If you are selling parts that have services or services that occasionally include parts, this is a great tool. It lets you build custom proposals consisting of parts and service hour estimates and then email them right away. You can quickly turn the proposal into an invoice and send it without going back to your office.

So how do these apps help with profitability? Doing what you told someone you would do, is the hallmark of integrity. Following up is what makes others want to do business with you. Following up quickly, helps you close sales and get paid faster. And that is what leads to profitability.

Have a little gadget that you’d love to share with other self employed, email me below.

Now stop reading about the IPhone and start doing! Let’s create your personal profit strategies for growing profit. Call small business profitability coach Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP®. She can be reached at, 888-920-2030 or by email at merralee@captureprofits.com.

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Are You Shortening Yourself at Work on Your Invoice

If You Sell Your Services, You’re Getting Paid Too Little

If you sell services, you may be working for free. When I’m working with self employed business owners who sell services, I nearly always find that they are not billing for some part of their work.  That is, their invoices are missing what they could get paid.  These lost billings can be the difference between making a living and having money for business and family security, expansion, and retirement.

Here are the major ways self employed professionals and contractors are losing money in their invoices:

Not writing down your worked hours daily. Lax time tracking leads to missing dollars on your invoices.  If you are charging time and materials, your customer has already agreed to pay for this time.

Not billing quickly for work completed. When you wait a couple weeks to invoice, the ‘newness’ has already worn off of the wonderful job you did.  This leads to customers questioning the invoice more often, leading to slower pay and sometimes challenging the invoice.  Either way you’ve lost money.

Missed additional services. When you hear your customer say, “hey, could you fix this thing over here…”, that’s the sound of appreciation and opportunity.  If you discuss the additional cost as soon as the customer makes the request, their most likely response will be “That’s fine.”   If you wait till you later invoice, or worse yet miss it, you may be losing money on your invoices. Extras clients most likely knew they would pay for but now assume they won’t because you didn’t mention it at the time.

Multiplying these issues with employees. If you miss invoicing opportunities on our own work, I guarantee your employees are too.  They follow your example, pay less attention to the money than you do, and generally get paid by the hour (sometimes even if the customer did not get billed for that hour.)

When my clients find, systematically reduce, and capture these lost billings they find the money to build operating reserves, pay themselves more, build expansion funds, and increase their retirement savings.  This often happens without working extra hours. In many cases it also saves time.

So how do you do it?   That’s the part that takes a little time, thought, and process.  Here’s one new solution that I’ve seen work well.  There’s an iphone application that allows contractors to quickly build quotes either while on the customer site or shortly thereafter, such as during a coffee break.  This application quickly turns the quote in to an invoice after adjusting for the actual hours worked and materials used.  Thus both the quote and invoice can be done quickly, usually the same day as the job.  Since it is easy to add hours on the go, it can be quickly adjusted to reflect actual time spent.  Finally, since it is simple to use as well as economical, employees can use it as well.

If you’d like to discuss profits through better invoicing or to find other ways to build your own profits without working harder so you can build a healthier financial future, give me a call.

Now stop reading about Your Invoices and start doing! Let’s create YOUR personal profit strategies for growing profit. Call small business profitability coach Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP®. She can be reached at, 888-920-2030 or by email at merralee@captureprofits.com.

The “Five R’s” of Recovery Marketing

While many self employed are still focused on survival; now is the time to plan for growth.  The recovery is underway; those with the stamina, drive, and forethought to enhance marketing efforts now will see the benefits in increased sales.

Your clients and customers have had a tough couple years.  Between reduced incomes and general fears of the economy, they’ve been forced them to rethink what and how they buy.  Customers have been cutting their spending by 1) trading down to less expensive alternatives, 2) delaying buying where they can, and 3) eliminating what was merely nice-to-have.

Whatever business survival tactics you’ve have been forced to use during the recession, recovery is the time to focus on rebuilding your client loyalty and sales momentum.  Your future market share growth depends on the strength of your existing customer loyalty and newly gained momentum.  If you are successful at convincing people of your appeal and difference from the competition, you’ll grow sales and market share.

Your recipe will be unique to you, but when creating your claw-back strategy, consider these five ‘R’s for Recovery:

Remind people

Frequently and in new ways, remind people that your product/service still offers the best solution to specific problems. Increase your advertising. In particular, add some of the new technologies that share voice and video in new ways to reach new audiences. New media increases the perception that your solution has the performance, recognition, and differentiation to solve customer problems in new ways.  If you can’t spend more, make sure your efforts are well spent. Pre-test your ads, videos, and voice before committing full-out to make sure they invoke the desired response.

Restore confidence

If you have a premium brand, offer affordable new formats such as cheaper packaging. Reinforce that you are not only still in business, you’re focused. Focus your attention on how well your product solves the problem and with uncommon value. Celebrate with positive and upbeat messages that confirm your product’s core benefits. A positive tone helps restore consumer confidence.

Re-establish differentiation

While the price of many things went down during the recession, premium products mostly maintained their relative price. That is, their value still commands a better price, however reduced. During this recovery, reframe your value. Seek to restate your value in new ways so you’ll both restore and retain perceptions of differentiation. This will help you sustain a premium price.

Seldom do consumers buy based on price alone. Focus on your benefits and how the customer gains an advantage using you. Convenience and effectiveness always sell, particularly when people can afford to be doing something more enjoyable. If your brand lacks a compelling functional benefit, focus on emotional

differentiation. If people have an emotional connection to your brand, they will want to return to it even if they must choose cheaper alternatives until the slowdown is over.

Relaunch

A compelling innovation can help regain customers who have traded down. Create well publicized easier to use packaging, new colors, flavors, or combinations.  This gives customers an excuse to come back if they had traded down during the recession. But don’t change just for the sake of it. Focus on the benefit of the change in the customer’s mind.

Rally the troops

Mission critical to the recovery is your ability to focus on delivering a positive customer experience. Motivated, energized, and focused people on your team will bring your client experience up to new levels.   Involve them in the decision making, the design, and the delivery.

The road to recovery is likely to be a bumpy one. Especially this recovery, which right now looks more like a meander than a highway. Don’t wait for the news to tell you that the recovery is underway. Some products and services recover earlier while others lag. Remember, economists tell you 6 months later that the recovery started 6 months ago.  We need only look at the lines in our favorite restaurants, to see that people have begun spending.

If you are ready for the recovery, you’ll be first in line to win back customers and re-engage clients. Being fast and first in your recovery strategy will not only help you capitalize on improved consumer sentiment, but also counter your competitors.

Now stop reading about (The “Five R’s” of Recovery) and start doing! Let’s create your personal profit strategies for growing profit. Call small business profitability coach Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP®. She can be reached at, 888-920-2030 or by email at merralee@captureprofits.com.

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Get Ready for Recovery Without Committing Cash Today

Many of the self employed business owners I talk to are skeptical about when, how fast, or how prolonged any coming economic recovery will be.  That leaves them reluctant to spend money right now when they are unsure of how soon they’ll be getting a return on that marketing or expansion investment.

I talk to dozens of self employed and small business owners every week in my client meetings, networking groups, and chamber functions.  Since my passion in life is to make my self employed clients more successful, I pay attention to the trends of the moment so they’ll benefit quickly

Here are 5 real-time ways my savviest self employed clients, friends, and connections are getting ready to reap results from the coming economic recovery but not yet spending a dime.

1) Get out there and network.  Traditional old face-to-face networking is on the rise.  Our chamber has increased its number of events and attendance has also increased.  People are having conversations, handing out their cards and meeting new prospects.

2) Get quotes. Some self employed business owners are requesting proposals for new mailers, new promotional items, new brochures, or new Internet methods.  Although they are taking longer to pull the trigger on starting the projects, they are gathering information so they can make an informed decision to spend when the time is right.

3) Get Ideas.  In my networking meetings, several times weekly, I am hearing discussions about what’s working and how to get started.  Again, the dollars are not yet committed, but new ideas are being discussed, weighed, and considered. People are talking to new potential vendors as well as old favorites.  Also, they’re talking to other self employed small business owners who have the same target market to get different perspectives.  For example remodelers are talking to real estate agents.

4) Stage your implementation.  Some of my network of business owners and others are starting small.  Several have discussed how to start remodeling projects and do it in phases because they are tired of waiting and still want the work done.

5) Get educated on Social Media, Internet marketing and unfamiliar techniques.  I hear conversations on who is using LinkedIn and how, who is using Facebook and why, as well as what’s not working.  My Internet-related business owners are hosting educational seminars and fielding a lot of questions, both in and out of the classroom. Several business owners I deal with have started new email newsletters so their names will be top-of-mind when projects come up.  Such techniques are extremely inexpensive and perfect for business owners with time available but few marketing dollars.

So that’s it.  Even if you are not getting big orders, large sales, or copious numbers of new customers, there is lots of pre-buying activity going on right now.  Don’t let it pass you by; get out there and get ready.

Now stop reading about Recovery Without Committing Cash Today and start doing! Let’s create your personal profit strategies for growing profit. Call small business profitability coach Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP®. She can be reached at, 888-920-2030 or by email at merralee@captureprofits.com.

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Low Cost & No Cost Marketing Ideas – 10 for 2010

As you finish up your 2010 business game plan, what did you add for marketing?  It’s not too late to add a few low cost marketing ideas that can bring you new customers without ballooning your budget.

Here are 10 no cost and low cost marketing ideas for 2010 that won’t break the bank.

1)    Resolve to ask for referrals. Referred clients are easier to get, more loyal, and generally more profitable. Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 on asking for and getting referrals. Then ask others who appear better at it than you.  Believe that you can improve your referrals and it will happen.

2)    Join a new referral group so new people can get to know, like, and trust you.   You knew I would remind you about the new Reading Chamber’s LEADS group. The cost is a real bargain and a great way to get new referrals.

3)    Analyze your last year’s marketing results. Drop the program with the lowest ROI (return on investment).  Did you get at least as much back in new business as you spent?  Actually, I look for three times back my investment or I keep looking for something better.

4)    Use the dollars freed from the above discarded program to invest in something new. Don’t’ forget to make a success measurement goal so that next year you’ll be able to determine if the new tactic is a ‘keeper’.

5)    Develop a core set of raving fans.  If you provide a great reliable product that delivers significance, connectedness, and a modicum of novelty you’ll find people who will rave about you.

6)    Improve your email marketing strategy. Email is pretty much free.  What could you send your clients and prospects that they would value as well as have them like and remember you?

7)    Tweak your website.  When was the last time it was updated?  Remember it is your billboard, your brochure and your new millennium Yellow Pages.  Don’t let it stagnate.

8)    So something just for fun. Get out to fun events and talk to people.  Do it just because you like it.

9)    Give back to the community. Chances are there’s something you are passionate about that has a non-profit associated with it.  Just getting involved will introduce you to new people who may become prospects.  But in the meantime, you’ll be helping a cause you care about.

10)   Get educated.  If you think that some new tactic will help build your business, for example LinkedIn, publishing articles, or creating a radio show; find someone who can get you to the next level of education about it. They’ll help you consider the cost, opportunities, leads, and potential returns.  Find someone farther along than you and pick their brain!

That’s it – 10 low cost marketing ideas for 2010. Don’t like my ideas? Come up with some new ones of your own. Most importantly, be in action, don’t spend a lot, and measure the results! Send me an email with your ideas.

Now stop reading about Low Cost No Cost Marketing Ideas and start doing! Let’s create your personal profit strategies for growing profit. Call small business profitability coach Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP®. She can be reached at, 888-920-2030 or by email at merralee@captureprofits.com.

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Who’s Recovering the Quickest – Is it You?

We hear that the recession is on the wane and that there may be growth this year, albeit with high unemployment plaguing us for a while.  Notwithstanding that you as the self-employed entrepreneur may not yet be feeling a recovery, it is happening.  Let me first be up front in saying that my views are my own.

My prediction of who among our local community small companies will emerge earliest and strongest out of this recession are those that are out there being visible and accessible.  Yes, that means advertising and marketing, which of course means dollars.  But more importantly and with much smaller investment of actual dollars spent are those companies and entrepreneurs out networking and making new friends.

There is a lot of pent up buying power built over the last year as people have avoided buying anything that could be delayed.  But after a year of holding off spending, many of my clients are now thinking about things they really need to purchase.  As they begin the pre-buying activities of asking questions, forming feature lists, and finding vendors, they are doing it out in the community.

That is, they are talking to people in their churches, their Rotary clubs, their networking groups, and their friends.  If your company is active in the community, you may have already noticed the increased number of conversations and requests for proposals.  Being active and visible gives the message that you are not only still in business (unlike many of your peers) but also surviving and attracting new prospects and clients.

If you are among that other pessimist group who is waiting for things to get better and then you will get out and market, you are missing the boat.  Your competitors are gaining visibility, credibility, and activity that can lead to new clients over the next few months.

Let me be bold in saying that if you are not out having at least eight conversations a week with new people and potential prospects, you may not be among those who recover quickly this year.  So if you are not in that first actively networking group, and you are asking the question of who will recover quickest, guess what, it isn’t you.

Want to argue my point? Give me a call or email me.

Now stop reading about who’s recovering the quickest and start doing! Let’s create your personal profit strategies for growing profit. Call small business profitability coach Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP®. She can be reached at, 888-920-2030 or by email at merralee@captureprofits.com.

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Easing out of Recession not so Easy for Small Service Companies

Very recently, several of my clients have begun sharing that their sales have turned up over the last couple months. Yeah, finally! Since I talk to business owners every day, and no one has expressed that sales are getting worse, this constitutes a trend, albeit an unscientific one. But, hey, any good news brings a sigh of relief at this point.

With sales up and seeing your business operate in the black, at least on paper, you might think your troubles would be over soon. Not to burst your bubble, but don’t forget about a brand new kind of cash flow squeeze. How could such a squeeze be new when you’ve already been dealing with cash deficit issues for well over a year?

During the recession, clients who pay an invoice began paying slower. Now with your sales going up, your expenses are probably going up too. So while your sales and billings might increase, the number of days to get paid has gotten longer. This is causing the new kind of cash squeeze. One where expenses go up because but the cash to pay for those sales doesn’t come in until 30 to 45 days later. Before the recession took hold your invoices might have been paid in 15 to 30 days. Now, you are carrying additional cost with slower pay and may already have drawn upon your credit line too much for comfort. This leaves you squeezed in a new and more uncomfortable ways even as your sales look more promising.

So, how do you compensate?

1) Your cost cutting days may not be over, even with light on the horizon and sales increasing.

2) Yes, delaying your own payments may still be necessary.

3) Invoice more often, for partial payments at start of contract and at delivery points.

4) Drawing on your credit line may be required even if you were lucky enough to have avoided it so far.

5) Get creative, or call me and we’ll get creative together.

And lastly, don’t forget to count your blessings. Slashing of prices just to stay competitive may soon be over. Wondering when it will end is a thing of the past. You survived the Great Recession of 2008-2009. And while you may never return to the glory days of 2004-2005-2006, you are now better prepared. Remember, good habits get formed in bad times, but we get to keep those good habits forever.

Now stop reading about recovering from the recession and start doing! Let’s create your personal profit strategies for growing profit. Call small business profitability coach Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP®. She can be reached at, 888-920-2030 or by email at merralee@captureprofits.com.

When Clients Lie – Don’t be Led Astray

We’ve all heard, “the check’s in the mail.” The majority of the time it is. But sometimes it’s a well intentioned fabrication. Well, really, it’s a lie. A sad but painful experience when you are a small business owner. Anger and frustration won’t help. Most of the time, the customer really wants and intends to do the right thing. Generally they will pay, if you help them. Thankfully, most customer lies can be readily detected, giving you a chance to avoid over confidence, recover, and not get blind-sighted.  Let’s face it.  Customers lie. Clients lie.  They are people. So here’s how you can stop complaining and start taking action.

Popular client lies and how to handle them.

When you hear these words, warning bells should ring. Kick your brain into overdrive and ask the questions needed to find what’s really true. More importantly, don’t count on what the customer says and make decisions (and hopes) based on it.

Your customer may be lying when he says:

The check is in the mail” – Nearly all customers intend to pay, but when you hear this, it’s time to get details. Say, “Maybe our mail is slow here, what day did you mail it?”, “If I don’t see it by Thursday, I’ll follow up, okay?”

Don’t worry about the money” – Every time I have heard this, the price and payment delay comes back later as a big issue. Don’t take these words at face value. Say, “Thanks, but even my clients with lots of money appreciate the choices we give them in our range of products and pricing. So let’s discuss those choices now so you have control.”

I trust you” – The customer may be thinking, “you know what I want and you can give it to me.” If your product saves money or makes money, the customer is thinking, “you seem honorable, you’ll make me money no matter how bad the market is,” or “you saved Joe $10,000 so you can save me “$12,000 and I won’t have to put in any effort because I trust you.” With this kind of client, you must be totally clear up front. Even going as far as a Client Responsibilities Agreement the two of you can sign. These are the kind of people that don’t show up for meetings, don’t deliver their parts and paperwork on time, and don’t do what you tell them to do to reap the savings. Yet they want the results with no effort. When you hear those words, stop them in their tracks. Say, “This is a partnership and you won’t get the results if you don’t do a), b), and c) in a timely and committed manner.”

I’ll think about it” – So you hear a real positive here. But the customer is most likely thinking of the 15 things that they need to get done today and really want to get you off the phone or out the door. Ask them, “Are you just trying to politely get me out the door or is there some specific aspect that needs to be analyzed before we go ahead?” Sound too direct? It can be softened with a smile or a brief story, such as “Most of my clients are busy like you and we don’t have time to waste. Tell me what questions you need to think about so you don’t waste time later.”

Let me talk to my wife/partner/father/brother-in-law” – Have you ever bought something you wish you hadn’t? What did you learn? A common protection that people give themselves is time to have second thoughts. They enlist someone else to help talk through, and sometimes, out of buying. Even though the prospect sounds like they are ready to sign on the dotted line and write a check, it’s probably not going to happen. The other person has not heard the details of either the value or the problem solution your product offers. Your only recourse is to try to get that other decision maker into the value conversation. Say, “There will probably be questions your wife will ask that you may not be able to answer. How about the three of us get together on Tuesday at 3:00 so you won’t be put in a position of not knowing the answer?” In some cases, it may be better to say up front, “Usually these kinds of decisions are made with spouses, it’s better not to meet until you both can be there.” At least if the person responds that they have total decision authority and the spouse is not needed, they will try to follow through lest they appear to have lied.

I’ll let you know” – If they say this, without a date or a time or a commitment to write the check, chances are it’s a stall tactic. You need to come back with a date and time to follow up with them. Another question to ask is, “you’re a busy person and chances are there are other decisions you also need to make this week. What factors can we clear up right now so you can get this decision off your plate?”

So, human nature is that people want to hold onto their money, now more than ever. Don’t get mad, get skills!

Some more articles on this subject if you feel you’ve been unusually hit by customer lies recently:

How to Tell if Your Customer is Lying

Your Customer is Lying, Did You Catch it?

The Top 10 Lies Customers Tell Sales Reps

Give me some feedback. What customer lies do you hear that give you warning bells?

Now stop reading about customer lies and start doing! Let’s create your personal profit strategies for growing profit. Call small business profitability coach Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP®. She can be reached at, 888-920-2030 or by email at merralee@captureprofits.com

“Seek new clients, seize better income, capture more profit”

15 Invoicing Tips for Rapid Cash Flow

Let’s be clear. In these recessionary times, large companies are paying even slower. Small companies may be struggling and paying slower than usual. Here are invoicing tricks you do have control over to achieve faster cash flow. These apply to invoicing for projects and materials used.

Invoicing tips for getting paid faster and achieving faster cash flow:

  1. Invoice immediately. Don’t wait till the end of the month or even the end of the week to invoice. Invoice the day the project is done or the item(s) are shipped. If you wait a week or two, that’s more time you’ll need to wait for the check.
  2. Invoice in progress payments. If you are providing a service that has definable portions, get agreement at the beginning of the project as to what project portions can be billed and the interim progress criteria.
  3. Determine if email invoicing would be better. Emailing an invoice is faster, harder to ignore, and easier to do after hours. But don’t automatically assume that email invoicing is the best choice for your client. Since most invoices arrive in the mail, the client already has a routine method of scheduling and managing their payment flow. If the client is a busy person with an assistant who writes the checks, sending an email is an extra step that may not be convenient for the client. Similarly, that type of client should never be handed an invoice in person either. It is too easy to misplace before it gets back to the bill payment desk.
  4. Have a due date, not just “due on receipt”. Use a due date on the invoice that is about 10-12 days from the mailing date. That way it will be due about 7-10 days from when it arrives in the mail. The client can then put the invoice in the file of items to be paid soon. In most cases, that would be at the next weekly payment cycle. Sadly, companies that pay in 30 days, or 45 days, will not adhere to your due date anyway.
  5. Detail your invoice. Write a detailed description of the items, service details and dates the invoice covers. Sometimes clients will dispute an invoice simply because they want to delay paying. Having a detailed account reminds the client of all the work you did and the items you delivered.
  6. Put the client’s phone number on the invoice. This actually increases the probability that you will get paid. Also, it saves you time if you have to call later to ask about payment. For larger companies include the Purchase Order number and the project manager’s name (your contact).
  7. Set payment terms at the start. Before you start the project or deliver the items, specify the payment terms. Most companies routinely have their own payment policy. Discussing it up front establishes you as a professional and helps ensure you get paid. It also sets the expectations. Some companies pay on the same day each week, on the same day each month, or simply 30, 45, or even 60 days after receipt. While you may not be able to alter the payment schedule, knowing it will help you plan better.
  8. Find out the prerequisites. Some companies require your EIN be on record; some require your insurance information. Others require there be a Purchase Order even if the person who purchased from you may not have clearly stated that. So when working for a larger company, find out who (specifically) handles payment. Double check the payment terms at the very start of the project so you can collect any needed documentation along the way. This speeds invoicing and eliminates reasons for slowing your payment.
  9. Try to get a deposit up front. If you have to buy materials specifically for a client which cannot be returned without cost, ask for partial payment to begin the project. This also verifies that the client is committed. If you haven’t already been doing this, it may seem harder than it is. It gets easier after you’ve been burned a couple times.  Being committed helps.
  10. Offer credit card payment. Even in larger companies, it may be a convenience to pay by credit card. Credit payments show up in your account often within 24 hours of payment.
  11. Pay attention to changes. Clients frequently change their product orders and project needs after the initial order has been started. Give them ongoing detailed reports of work progress on projects and items ordered or shipped. Having a clearly defined and documented change process up front will help you get paid when there are project or material changes.
  12. Build a document trail. Keep track of requested changes in writing. Be able to document anything the client asked for. Sounds cumbersome? Remember that the person writing the check may not be the same person who works with you on the project, but may have responsibility for payment accuracy. Help them out and help yourself get paid by creating and keeping the documents they’ll need.
  13. Send copies with past due dates. Make it a routine to send copies of invoices 25-30 days after the original invoice. It is possible for invoices to be genuinely misplaced. If clearly marked as “past due”, it may instill a bit of urgency if your client is a sole proprietor or small company. Statement copies can also look like your accounting system automatically sent it so your relationship is better preserved.
  14. Arrange for someone else to make collection calls. Have your assistant, accountant, spouse, business coach, or some other person call the client. People are embarrassed about not paying and having someone else call achieves several purposes. It preserves your relationship. It looks like you have a system, which you do. And it gets you paid when they simply need a friendly reminder.
  15. Use your Accounts Receivable reports. This report shows how many days payment has been due from each client. Use it as a trigger system by deciding how many days before you make the first friendly call, send a statement, or transfer to collections.

Adding these tips and tricks to your invoicing process may seem like a lot of work, but slow cash flow has much larger consequences!

Now stop reading about implementing invoicing tricks and start doing! Let’s create your personal profit strategies for growing profit. Call small business profitability coach Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP®. She can be reached at, 888-920-2030 or by email at merralee@captureprofits.com. 

“Seek new clients, seize better income, capture more profit”

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