Ah, the glorious early days of starting your own business. The excitement of getting customers who not only want your product, but are actually willing to pay for it! There is truly nothing quite like it.
With this success though, comes the burden of administration. Getting paid for something you are selling is great—realizing you need to create an invoice each time is much less exciting. For many of us, the first invoice tool was really just a Google doc made to look like a semi-professional invoice, but that was filled out manually. Soon the excitement of the sale was followed immediately after with the dread of paperwork.
If you have a business and make more than, say, one sale per month, it is absolutely worth getting an invoicing app. It’s not just convenient, it is game changing—and here are three reasons why.
Efficiency will make or break any business. But first, what does not having an invoicing app look like? Putting together invoices manually, then having to manually send them out, manually compile sales numbers, manually enter them into the accounting/finance system…
Every one of these steps is harmful to your business. Why? Because it takes you away from value-added activities; things like finding customers, actually making products/services, and looking ahead to what customers will want six months from now. These are the reasons you went into business; manually processing invoices is not. Ideally, you want an app that either does it all (invoicing in seconds, one-click payments, accounting/reporting, etc.), or can seamlessly integrate into your other accounting/financial systems.
As a business owner, efficiency is king, and handling a task once is the way to do that. When you find yourself entering information on an invoice, then re-entering into your sales or tax ledger, you’re on the wrong path. Get an invoicing app and spend time on the important (and fun) tasks.
History books will probably never get tired of comparing the “before” and “after” 2020 created. And as business owners have learned, even the smallest and simplest businesses were forced to decentralize during the year Covid entered our lives. Businesses of just two or three people who live minutes from each other found themselves fully mobile.
And more than a few have stayed that way, saving money by foregoing a physical location once they realized that it wasn’t truly necessary. While “necessity is the mother of innovation”, businesses discovered that physical invoices are obsolete, both for the customer and the business. Customers value contactless transactions more than ever, and businesses need employees in multiple locations to be able to access invoices.
Having a file cabinet, or even a single PC, with all your files in it is preventing the mobility your post-2020 business requires. And using the right app means that your information is stored in the cloud, protected from natural disasters, crashed hard drives, and theft.
Let’s face it: Customers expect a seamless payment experience and an instant invoice for their records. It has become such a basic expectation that the rare occasion this doesn’t happen can actually shake customer confidence in a business.
Another face of customer expectations are the methods of payment, including the growing population of crypto users. There are some invoicing apps available, such as Request Finance, that are focused on making it easier for both fiat and crypto users to pay—including the ability to issue invoices in fiat and pay in crypto (or vice versa). Having an app with this much flexibility opens up new markets without having to become a crypto expert.
Even though the invoicing and payment parts of a transaction may seem small, they are critical for providing that “feel good” element of a sale, even at the subconscious level. This feeling sticks with us, and assuming your product/service is good, the added touches of professionalism can make the difference between a one-time and repeat customer.
Putting it Together
When it comes down to it, your needing an invoicing app is a win-win decision for your business and your customers. If you wanted to, you could track the time you spend on invoicing and related efforts, then calculate your hourly rate and see how much an invoicing app is worth. My guess is it will pay for itself by a huge factor, and that doesn’t include the “soft” benefits: more time for you to focus on the value added tasks, a more professional business, and—most of all—happier customers.