Small businesses often get the short end of the stick compared to their big business counterparts. What they don’t have in bargaining power and influence they make up for in agility, but being better able to duck and dodge amidst shifting economies, new technologies and endless industry stop-and-go doesn’t pay the bills. And getting paid on invoices – quickly and reliably – is key to every small business’s survival.
Invoice Issues Including Speedy Payment is a Universal Small-Business Concern
The good news for small business owners is they certainly aren’t alone. The fact that larger businesses are doing what they can to keep working capital longer – including stretching out invoice payment terms as long as possible – is a known and continuing trend. The U.S. government has tried stepping in on behalf of small businesses with the Supplier Pay Initiative, while startups aimed at lending small businesses the capital they are owed until an invoice is paid are also entering the picture.
The bad news? Though these rescues are on their way, small businesses can’t and shouldn’t wait. It’s simply not in their very pull-themselves-up-by-their-bootstraps nature.
What's Wrong With the Way Small Business Does it Now?
Objectively speaking, a + b = c. Work is delivered. The invoice is paid. But all things being equal, paying on a small business invoice is more subjective than you think. It’s not fair, we know. But neither is the fact that studies show taller people get paid more. Invoice automation is to small business as standing on their tippy-toes is to those average stature go-getters stuck in middle management. Simply put, invoice automation helps small businesses get “tall.”
Automation Makes the Invoice Process More Approachable
Small businesses are busy. And getting invoices out probably doesn’t have the same priority that delivering on client promises and building new business does. By taking the “finance” hat off your head and streamlining the way sales makers, business deliverers and account billers communicate, invoicing becomes a more attractive, easily understood and intuitive part of the small business process.
E-Invoicing Makes Your Small Business Look Like a Winner
A hastily-produced invoice doesn’t compare to one that is professional, clean and consistent with every other invoice you’ve sent. E-invoices are surefire ways to build trust in your brand through aesthetics, intuitive layout and general appeal. Most invoicing software includes best practice layouts and additional ideas that are industry-proven. Though crisp lines and good graphics can’t replace solid client relationships, looking like a winner every time absolutely counts for something.
E-Invoicing Keeps You Top of Mind
Recency bias in human nature may be partly behind why people have a tendency to delay paying invoices that have been sent to them later than expected. Using automated invoicing to keeping invoices flowing at a consistent tempo helps set client expectations for how this small business relationship will roll. These e-invoicing platforms also include set-it-and-forget-it invoice payment reminders to keep phone call interruptions and one-off emails out of the vendor-client relationship. Not only does this help to ensure client communication is consistent and friendly, it reduces unwelcome interruptions and events when a misconstrued tone of voice or bad timing could further delay payment or damage critical client relationships.
E-Invoicing Makes You Their Hero
Chances are your clients are busy and trying to improve their own internal processes as well. Providing your client options for online payment via e-invoicing is a definite win. And, deploying forward-looking technology subtly communicates that they’ve chosen rightly and that you’ll always have their best interests in mind.
The beauty of small business is in its comparative simplicity and willingness to get things done no matter what it takes. Those who choose to automate their invoice processes aren’t doing it simply to fool clients into thinking they are “big.” They do it because they know that by getting paid faster they will be cash flow equipped to go toe-to-toe with their competitors, anytime.