I’ve met enough small business owners to know that there are still plenty of you out there who have yet to move into the 21st century. For whatever reason, you’re still doing plenty of stuff that could be automated in your business.
Or you are doing things yourself — things you should be outsourcing to an expert or a helper. Things that could be accomplished more efficiently by outsourcing to someone else, instead of spending your hours.
Now is the time to take action. You simply cannot continue to do things the same way and expect different results, especially in this down economy. You will not survive.
Your primary focus, if your business is living on the edge between a red or black bottom line, should be cash flow. And to increase cash flow you have to sell. Anything that takes you away from selling is a threat to your cash flow.
That’s why when I read the Intuit “Get Paid” survey results, I just shook my head. The survey included responses from 751 small business owners with fewer than 10 employees.
According to the results, 66 percent of small businesses still hand-write invoices, use word processing programs and spreadsheets, or simply don’t have a standardized method.
Are you one of those businesses? It’s time for a change.
You can sign up for online invoicing tools that will cost you about 10 bucks a month. These tools will even send follow-up reminders to the customer, if they don’t pay within a reasonable period. Your time is worth more than 10 bucks a month.
Besides, if you’re spending your time manually invoicing, you’re not selling. So you suffer a double whammy — you’re costing your business money and you’re not available to make a sale.
And here’s the case for outsourcing to an expert. Nearly 20 percent of small business owners admit to forgetting to invoice or follow up on an overdue invoice. Over 50 percent of these respondents admit that they are simply “not organized” and “lack an automated system for creating and tracking invoices.”
Ack! Find someone to take care of this for you now. Would you want to tell a bankruptcy judge that the reason for not getting paid was “not organized”? Would you want to admit your business failed for that reason? How embarrassing would that be?
You can find a reasonably priced virtual assistant who can handle this for you. That way you don’t have to worry about being disorganized. Instead, you can spend all of your time focusing on pumping up your bottom line by selling your heart out.
You can do your business a whole lot of good — and increase those sales too — simply by accepting credit cards. According to the survey, only 30 percent of small businesses accept credit cards and only 22 percent accept electronic checks.
About 85 percent of small businesses accept standard checks (the most common form of payment). Cash is the next most common form of payment, at 59 percent. But I’ve got news for you. People don’t carry much cash these days. And plenty of them couldn’t find a check if they tried.
Finally, 20 percent of small businesses admit to having lost a customer because they could not accept credit cards. Don’t let that be your business.
If you’re serious about making the most of your cash flow, take a hard look at the things you are doing in your business. I bet you find at least one thing you can change by automating or outsourcing. Why not do that now? Then let me know what you found by leaving a comment. Or if you have a tip to offer, tell me about that too.