If you’re a small business with multiple clients/prospects in-line, you’d already know how well-structured invoices, are a crucial part of your business process. A well-designed invoice helps create an aura of professionalism that in turn builds your brand asset value. If you’re looking to get paid in full and on time, creating a comprehensive invoice would help improve the process and earn you quicker payments, so here are five tips that can help you create a professional-looking invoice:
Explore the invoicing scene
Like me if you are a small business that would like to invest its efforts into building its core, you need to explore what tech (invoicing) options exist online. Look for an all-inclusive service provider, that can provide you with key features like multiple invoice templates, payment tracking and automation local or multi-territory taxation etc.
Organizations looking to scale need to work smart and hustle hard. As a new startup, invoicing is what keeps the lifeblood flowing through your company and keeps you afloat. So, you need to invest your efforts into a solution that makes your finance process hassle-free.
Brand your invoices
According to research, 84% of B2B marketers listed brand awareness as a key content marketing goal for their business. Branding your invoices would allow your clients and customers to view you as a legitimate business. Adding your company logo and incorporating your brand colours would differentiate your invoice from other basic and bland invoices customers usually receive. Most invoicing programs now allow you to drag and drop your logo into a pre-made template; but a brand is a statement (it is a statement to help meet and/or exceed your customers’ expectations), so if you can afford to get it done professionally, do so.
Maintain a structured invoice
Once you’re done setting the invoicing parameters and policies with your clients, a good choice would be to spell them out on the invoice as well. This structure might include your registered legal name, address, payment breakup (amount, interest etc), a late payment fee or your invoice time and expectations. Specify the due date for the payment, use bolder fonts to make it pop on the page. The structure of your policies must be consistent and clear in your invoice, it would avoid any sorts of confusions from the client’s end. Avoid using phrases such as “due in 30 days” – these vague statements often go unclear, instead, specify dates and all essential details.
Incentivize your payments process
A good approach to the entire cash management process here is to offer customers incentives for being on time/early with respect to their payments. This could be as simple as x% off on early payments. While some organizations believe in penalizing the client when they skimp on their payments (and this should also be a necessary part of your payments process) to really build a ‘Steller’ invoicing process you need to show your customers some love.
If you have a smooth payments process that does not catch your customer off guard and is also emphatic to their needs (payment plans, rewards etc.) that is a recipe for success.
Maintain, Manage and Evolve those Records
Any organization be it small or large produces data and that data is, in essence, your knowledge base. Maintaining records is essential to setting your books straight, a good software can take you a long way in terms of your invoicing needs but as you reconciliation and settlement needs grow you may want to seek some external help as well (you can always look hire remote or freelance employees, if you feel your financials haven’t caught up to your recruitment, needs yet).
Another reason data is important is because it helps you create a good customer relationship management funnel. You have a client’s order history, historical sales figures etc. this is a goldmine in terms of planning and sizing up a business with respect to their future prospects with you.
Your invoice is your last mile with respect to closing a business deal. While others see this as mere paperwork, a good invoicing/follow-process is the key to maintaining and managing a healthy working relationship with your business partners.
As a new business it is essential for you to follow the steps provided but also focus on outsourcing as much of that process as possible (early on) so that you can make things simple and easy to manage and focus on what’s key your business.