In part two of our four-part small business health assessment series, we’ll be covering some simple steps you can take to have visibility into and control over your cash flow. While many small businesses report that cash flow strains are easing up a bit, we find that most don’t have proactive insight into their cash flow and even fewer express feeling “control” over their cash flow.
The first step is gaining insight. Using a software program is certainly easiest. Many receivables and accounting packages can help you get a leg up with their built-in reporting. But if you are still a spreadsheet lover, that’s ok too. You’ll want to put a report together for the last year that shows incoming and outgoing payments month by month. That might take a while to put together, but it’s worth it – and once you get it set up it’s easy to monitor each month going forward so you won’t be in the dark any more.
The fall 2011 “Small Business Monitor,” sponsored by American Express, found that 48 percent of small businesses planned to increase capital investment in their companies over the next six months – up from only 44 percent in the spring of 2011. The survey polled 814 small businesses of less than 100 employees each.
“Not all investments are created equal,” said Susan Sobbott, President of American Express OPEN. “The key is to identify which Investments are revenue generators and which are simply adding cost to the bottom line.”
What Are the Benefits of Recurring Billing Software?
If you have a subscription type service or product, automating recurring billing is an absolute must. There is no sense spending time each month re-billing customers the same amount. The amount of time you can save by automating billing is tremendous. In addition to time-savings, the insight into historical and projected revenues that comes with recurring billing software will help keep tabs on your business growth and revenue forecast at all times.
How to Choose the Best Recurring Billing Software for Your Business?
There are many recurring billing systems available that will automate your billing and more. But, given the wide variety of choices, it can be tough to figure out which system will work best for your business. Here are 10 tips to consider as you take the journey of automating recurring billing:
Before mobile payments, many small businesses either missed sales by not being able to accept credit cards anytime from anywhere, or they delayed their cash flow by waiting until they got back to the office to put together an invoice for the service or good they just provided. With the apps available today that enable most smart phones to process credit card transactions, small business can easily accept mobile payment in person and never again need to miss a sale or delay their cash flow.
Benefits of Accepting Mobile Payments
There are many benefits for a business to begin accepting mobile payments. A few that stand out include:
I struggle with some aspects of office work. I can’t make a printer function without the help of several online forums, phone systems are a mystery to me, and my email only works at its own convenience. When I say I need easy office solutions, what I really mean is “I need something that a trained monkey could easily work.”
So with that in mind, let’s look at some easy ways to create online billing for your customers.
Many small businesses start with a great idea and an entrepreneur with an unmatched work ethic but fail or underperform due to lack of capital. In the past, a great business concept would win a bank loan or a loan backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Today with tight credit markets and most banks afraid to take even the slightest risks, even the best business people with proven track records have trouble getting traditional loans. If you’re a first time entrepreneur with few personal assets, you’re probably out of luck.
Enter the Angel Investor. An “Angel” is a person or company that provides a small amount of seed money to a start-up business in return for a piece of the business. While Angels used to be individual investors or small investment groups, large venture capital companies are now getting into the game as are some large compaines such as Google.
The key is finding the right Angel for your business. Think about the type of partnership you want. Do you want a hands-off investor or one who will take an active role in helping your business grow? Are you looking for an investor with expertise in your market or just an interest? Would you be more comfortable with a private individual or do you want to work with a Venture Capital firm?
Back in 1995, the internet was a fun little place to hang out and watch hamsters dancing around. According to Clifford Stoll, astronomer, author and a pioneer in digital forensics investigations, in Newsweek, 1995:“I’m perplexed. It’s not that I haven’t had a gas of a good time on the Internet. I’ve met great people and even caught a hacker or two. But today, I’m uneasy about this most trendy and oversold community. Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic.”
Thankfully, the internet has lived up to most of the hype. Yes, we actually are dragging our tablets to the beach to read a good book and yes, e-commerce has grown to an estimated $172.9 billion dollars in online payments in the U.S.
Freelancers and contract entrepreneurs are perhaps the biggest beneficiaries of the digital age, and at a most opportune time. According to a recent Bureau of Labor report, there are currently 10.1 million independent contract workers in the US. Telecommunication allows a freelancer to pick up jobs in New York and LA, all from their home in Kansas. But you don’t have to be remote to benefit. Even local freelancers – from lawn and garden to web design – can benefit by utilizing the internet to get paid.
Here are a few pros of accepting online payments for contract work:
Customers are the lifeblood of small business. Well, most customers… I dare say that every small business owner has dealt with at least a few customers that actually cost their business money. Say you’ve done work or produced a product for a customer, and now the customer wants to keep their money (and most likely […]
Ecommerce spending enjoyed its seventh consecutive quarter of year over year growth in the second quarter of this year, according to a report by the digital analytics firm, comScore. Q2’s $37.5 billion dollars spent via ecommerce payments marked a 14% increase over Q2 2010. The number of online retail customers increased 16% over the same […]
PaySimple currently has a “best late payments excuse” contest in progress, and the excuses that our small business customers have been sharing with us are hilarious. While my dog doesn’t go for bills in his food dish, it always seems there are some breeds out there that thrive on them. But unfortunately, late payments are […]