Let’s Get Paid!

Nobody likes to pay bills. It’s timefeminine money consuming and not nearly as fun as making money. It’s one of my clients’ favorite jobs to foist upon me; I pay a lot of bills.

I’ve noticed there are two kinds of invoices: those I can pay right away, and those that confuse me. The confusing ones get put into a pile that I need to ask my client about. They will likely not get paid for weeks. How can you keep YOUR invoices out of the confusing pile? I’m glad you asked. Please make sure your invoice contains the following:

  • your company name and address (this should go without saying, but, sadly, it does not)
  • your phone number (in case I have a question)
  • your email address (in case I have a question but I am shy)
  • the word “invoice” (the words “transaction” and “sale” do not stimulate the pay gland in us bean counters)
  • an invoice number (I want to know whether I have paid this thing before, and a unique number is the best way to ease my worried mind)
  • a clear description (what am I paying for?)

Once you have made sure your invoice contains all of this information, then you have to be sure it is received. Emailing an invoice is fast and cheap; give it a shot. But there are people out there who will not take the time to print it and make sure it gets paid. Pay attention to which customers pay late and see if they do better with a real life paper invoice delivered by their friendly mailman.

Cash flow is a huge issue for most small businesses. You need your cash to flow in with the minimum amount of effort on your part. Take a few minutes right now and make sure your invoice is doing the job it needs to be doing.

photo credit: dlxlxry via photopin cc

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Honesty is the Best Policy

Million Dollar MondayAs The Office Manager For Rent, I have been a part of a lot of small businesses during the past 18 years, and I’ve noticed some patterns. Million Dollar Monday is my attempt to analyze what my most successful clients (over a million dollars in sales per year) have had in common.

The Man of Honor

Sorry about the sexist title: it turns out there is no noun in the English language that describes a person who is honest in his/her business dealings, so I had to go with an outdated phrase. (There are plenty of nouns to describe a dishonest business person: charlatan, cheat, con artist, crook, hustler, swindler, but none to describe an honest one. Hmmmm.)

Anyway, along with taking care of themselves and spending most of their time promoting their companies, my most successful clients have always gone out of their way to be honest. They keep their word to their vendors and employees, by paying them on time, and they honor the agreements they make with their customers. If some hazy situation arises, they always err on the side of honesty.

A good example is when a check comes in and I can’t find a corresponding invoice in Quickbooks. Some of my clients over the years have told me to just deposit the check and if their customer overpaid, they’ll figure it out and we’ll refund them. I guess when you are taking in thousands of dollars a day, it’s hard to keep track of who owes what.

My most successful clients, however, always tell me to investigate. They have me take the time to contact the company and determine if the check is actually a valid payment. If it’s not owed to us, they have me return it. It takes some time and effort, but it’s the right thing to do.

It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but the company that gets my phone call knows right then and there that they are dealing with an honest company. The entrepreneur who is in charge has passed his good ethics down to his whole company. Wouldn’t you love to know that about a company you deal with? And wouldn’t you continue to deal with them? Not only is honesty good for your soul, it’s good for your business.

Below are some related posts:

You Schmooze You Win

Work it Out

Work it Out

Million Dollar MondayAs the Office Manager for Rent, I usually spend a couple of days a month in each of my clients’ offices. This gives me a good feel for their business and their lifestyle, but I’m not entrenched in the day-to-day grind. I see enough to evaluate their practices, and yet I still have the clarity of an outsider. Million Dollar Monday is my attempt to analyze what my most successful clients (over a million dollars in sales per year) have had in common.

The Athlete

Along with being the main face of their business, see my post on that here hyperlink to similar material every one of my million dollar clients is/was very fit. As busy as they are, they take time to care for themselves. They exercise; they eat well (lots of fruit and almonds and slimy green drinks). Does this have anything to do with their success as entrepreneurs? I believe that it does.

Athletes know how to push themselves. If they go out for a 5 mile run, they know that at some point they will likely think about quitting. Maybe it’s too hot or their iPod stops working or they just start thinking about all the other stuff they should be doing. But they keep running. They made a commitment to do a hard job and they follow through. That’s what athletes do. That’s also what successful business people do. They don’t quit.

Also, when you care for yourself, it shows. You move easily; you have energy; you’re not bogged down by aches and pains and inertia. Fit people tend to have a confidence in themselves and their abilities. They make the hard choices every day. (Do I go to the gym or do I go to Pizza Hut?) And when you do the hard thing every day, you feel good about yourself. It sounds subtle as I am trying to describe it , but I think it’s significant.

People want to respect the people they work with. If you are a business owner who is fit and confident, that’s going to be an asset. If you look like you have your life and habits under control, people will be more likely to trust that your business is also under control. My most successful clients ARE in control: of their habits and their businesses and their lives.

 

 

You Schmooze, You Win

Million Dollar MondayOver the past 18 years, I have been the office manager for up to a dozen entrepreneurs at a time. I work with their employees; I see their spending habits and work habits and social habits. But I’m also objective. I’m not entrenched in the day-to-day chaos of their business, so I am able to view things clearly. I am the ultimate insider/outsider and I see it all. Million Dollar Monday is my attempt to analyze what my most successful clients (over a million dollars in sales per year) have had in common.

The Schmoozer

Every one of my million dollar clients is/was a salesperson. I don’t mean they are salesy in that annoying used-car salesman type of way. They are relationship builders, or what I affectionately call “Schmoozers.” They talk on the phone; they go to events; they take people out to lunch; they stop by for a visit: In their every waking moment (it seems to me), they are connecting with someone.

What they DON’T  EVER do, is they don’t produce the product or service that they are selling. That’s the only way they have the time for all of this schmoozing. (I need to work on this one BIG TIME.) They can be away from the office/job site because their team is doing the actual work.

So there’s our first hurdle: If you’re a business of one, like I am, you will likely not hit a million dollars in yearly sales without help. The problem is, it’s scary to get into payroll and employees and TAXES. That’s why my Office Manager For Rent  business makes sense to a lot of entrepreneurs. They have me work on an as-needed basis, and at the end of the year they give me a 1099 (actually, most times, I give myself the 1099.) No payroll service needed.

Lots of freelancers are available on a 1099 basis – especially now, when unemployment levels are high. You can hire graphic designers, house painters, blog writers; I bet that any kind of help you need is out there on a temporary/as needed basis. It might not be what you are ready to do right now, but it should be on your business bucket list. If you want to make a million dollars in sales next year, you need to get some help. A small business grows best if its owner is out there selling its services.

 

Under Promise, Over Deliver

Under PromiseSo here’s my take on the whole “under promise, over deliver” axiom: If I order something and they tell me to expect it in two weeks, but I get it in a week, I am thrilled. (They under promised and over delivered.) If they tell me to expect it in three days, but I get it in a week, I am angry. (They OVER promised and UNDER delivered.) Either way, I got it in a week. It’s just a matter of my expectations.

The baker who throws a 13th roll into your bag knows all about over delivering. So does the etsy artist who sends your new earrings wrapped in adorable packaging. They make you feel good by giving you a little something extra. And when it’s time for you to buy rolls or earrings again, you’ll likely reward them with another order.

When you are negotiating a deal with a client, be very sure you can keep your promises, no matter what calamities may arise. Often, the best way to do this is to give yourself a little wiggle room with the timing. And whether it’s about delivery, quantity, quality, presentation, or sparkling customer service; try to think of some ways to offer a little extra value to your customers. They will thank you with loyalty.

Big Help For Small Businesses

My name is Jodie Richeal and I have been helping small business owners get organized for over 20 years. Below are some of the services I offer:

Pretty much anything a full-time Office Manager would do, I can do. Just call me when you need me.

(856) 881-4107

jodie@omfr.net