7 Great Tips for Better Invoicing for Start-ups

Invoicing is among the most important aspects of operating a small business.  However, it can be such a big hassle at times- particularly if you are a start up company and new to the process.

So what is the best way to avoid having to spend so much time on the minor details of generating and sending out invoices and needing to chase late payees down, so that you have more time to focus on the important aspects of your business?

Looking Professional – Stay Consistent With Your Brand

Whenever you are generating invoices, it is very important to ensure that they look as sharp as possible.  If you send a customer something that has an amateurish and cheap appearance, they might not feel so inclined to pay you as fast as if they receive a more professional-looking bill.

Make sure that your invoices have your logo on it and also ensure that the amount you are owed is clearly spelled out.  Your brand should be reflected in the wording and colours of the document.  For example, if you happen to be a copywriter and using plain English is something you take great pride in, don’t add a lot of legalese to your invoice.  Save that for your terms and conditions, or have a good lawyer translate the legal terms into plain English.

Keep Things Legal

You want to ensure that your invoice is correct and in compliance with VAT requirements and with company law rules as well since it is a legal document.  If your business is a limited company or LLP, your business’s registered number and address should appear on the invoice.  It should also show any directors or members as well.  Fortunately, if you are using an online accounting system, it will all be done automatically for you.

Consider The Numbers

According to HMRC rules invoices are required to have “unique sequential reference numbers.”  However, the same sequence does not need to be used across your entire business.  For example, a different sequence can be used for every project or customer.

Select Your Pricing Structure

There isn’t anything illegal that prevents you from requesting a deposit from your customers, or for full payment upfront prior to you doing the work.  It confirms that your customer is committed to the project as well as being easier on your cash flow.  It also helps to spread financial risk between your customer and you.  If your customer isn’t required to pay until the work is complete, and then refuses to pay or disappears, you won’t have leverage any longer to stop the work- since it is done already.

If you are concerned that you may lose customers by asking for an upfront payment, then think about offering your customers a money-back guarantee if they aren’t satisfied with the service that you provide.

Make Sure Your Payment Terms Are Clear

Before doing any work, you should have informed your customer about what your payment terms are.  However, it still is important for this information to be included on your invoice.

If you have a 30-day payment period set and are expecting your invoice to be paid by the deadline, be sure this information is included on your document to make things as clear as possible to ensure that your client sees it.  Also, if you plan to make any late payment penalties or charges, be sure to make them as clear and prominent as you can directly on the invoice.  That way your client will have a reminder that the bill needs to be paid promptly.  Here are some good tips.

Follow Up On Invoices Right Away

Get into the habit of doing your bookkeeping at least once a week.  You should invoice at least that frequently.  Your invoices should ideally be sent out as soon as you have completed the work (unless your customer already paid you in advance).  That way, it will be one less thing that you need to worry about.  However, hopefully your customers will be pay you sooner than that.

Also make it as easy as you can for your customers to pay.  Include payment details, such as an online payment link or your bank account information, either on your covering email or on the invoice itself.  If you use a specific invoicing system for generating and sending out your invoice, check to see whether you can set automatic emails up to follow up on late payers.  That will help you save additional time.

Get A Technological Boost

Remember that it isn’t necessary for you do your invoicing from scratch on your own.  If you can possibly afford it, you should invest in specialist accounting or purchase management software to make this process much easier and convenient.

It can be especially useful if you will be send out invoices on a regular basis to the same client (for example, a monthly retainer fee) and would like to set up recurring invoices that are automatically sent.  Or if you want to include multiple expenses and would like to easily and quickly attach digital copies to your invoice of your expense receipts.  If you would like your client to pay faster, you might want to include a link to Stripe or PayPal, or some other online payment option so that they can pay you with one click of a button.

Be sure to do your homework first and check out all of the different options that are available to you to figure out which system will work the bet for your business’s requirements and you.  Over the long run, it can help to save you many hours of hassle and administrative work.

Invoicing is a crucial aspect of any business’s administration, since without invoices there isn’t a way for your customers to know how much to pay you, and if you don’t have money coming in, your business won’t be able to survive for very long!

The post 7 Great Tips for Better Invoicing for Start-ups appeared first on Small Business Can.

This post was originally published here - http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/7-great-tips-better-invoicing-start-ups/ on

Top Employers in the World 2015

Nowadays, it is very important to find a company that has values and workplace culture which correspond to employee’s values and needs. What do employees think about companies that they work for?  What makes their companies different from others? Who are top employers in the world?

In order to help people to find out answers on these questions, Fortune magazine, in association with Great Place to Work, regularly creates lists of the best companies to work for. They have conducted the most extensive employee survey which took place in 43 countries around the world and included millions of employees. This survey consisted of questions about employee perceptions of the workplace related to job satisfaction, management’s credibility, camaraderie, pay and benefit programs, hiring practices, training, recognition programs and methods of external communication.

The first place belongs to Google.

1. Google


Google celebrates its sixth year at No. 1. It’s amazing!

What is Google? And why is Google taking No.1?

Google is a global tech company specializing in developing technology and internet-related services and products. Its workplace culture is at the highest level, it is inspiring, challenging, developing, work-oriented, but fun, at the same time. All in one! Google organizes themed events, happy hours, birthday parties, baby showers and engagement celebrations and different competitions for its employees. It provides them with a relaxing environment where they can take a quick power nap, fitness classes, massage therapy, free snacks and beverages during the day, free breakfast and lunch, hair salon, discount ticket sales, car wash and vehicle maintenance, banking, personal concierge service and subsidized public transportation. Google covers health insurance and different comprehension programs. This company supports employee’s development and rewards them. Employees are free to speak to managers and exchange ideas and information within the organization. The leadership team is honest, good at running the business and approachable. Google supports community through paid time to volunteer and give philanthropic donations. Employees feel good, because they create technology to make life easier and better for everyone. They are proud of working there. What a great place to work for!

2. The Boston Consulting Group

Boston Consulting Group

The Boston Consulting Group is a global consulting company specializing in business strategy and general management. This company offers great challenges, great atmosphere, great rewards, immense pride, exceptional communication and amiable bosses. This company gives its employees the ability to take a Social Impact Leave of Absence for 3 to 12 months, paid or unpaid sabbaticals, flexible schedule and a telecommuting option. Two awards are interesting: Polaris Award and Fun Awards. The first award is for consulting project teams that delivered quantifiable value to their clients and the second one is for humorous employees. Hard work, long hours and dedicated employees mark the workplace in this company.


Acuity is an insurance company that provides personal and commercial products. This company can boast: no limit on tuition reimbursement, sick days paid for full-time employees, a healthy 401(k) plan, and an 8 percent contribution to that plan, profit sharing, happy holidays, celebrations and stress relievers. Employees describe this company as a very generous company.

4. SAS Institute

SAS entrance

SAS is an American software company, which helps companies to manage, access, analyze and report on data to aid decision making. Employees of SAS plant more than 3,800 flowers every year, which is a very interesting action. They can enjoy generous benefits, natatorium, health and fitness centre, courses, on-site library and informational services, a pharmacy, take-home meals on a regular daily basis, a lot of on-site health benefits and banking. SAS has a program for new hires which includes other employees taking them to lunch and showing them around the campus. These words come up a lot when you think of its employees: friendly, welcoming and unique.

5. Robert W. Baird


Robert W. Baird is an international company that provides financial services which include investment banking, capital markets, private equity, wealth management and asset management. Professional atmosphere and collaboration are important here. This company offers employee stock purchase plan for its employees.

6. Edward Jones

One of the largest financial services company, Edward Jones, through a network of more than 12,000 financial advisors located in more than 11,000 offices around the country, helps individuals reach their serious, long-term financial goals and investment strategies. This company invests in its employees through different trainings, guidance and work/life balance they need to thrive.

7. Wegmans Food Markets

wegmans marketplace

This company is the best grocery store in America with 85 stores across America.  It is a family-owned super market chain with welcoming, hard-working and supportive employees. This company offers tuition reimbursement, health care premiums, flexible hours and positive environment with exercise programs and charitable projects.

All these companies have great challenges, great atmosphere, motivating rewards, numerous perks, interactive communication and charming bosses and employees that are very proud of working there and loyal to their companies. Reading about these companies, I make a wish to be a part of one of them or a part of a company where the workplace environment is similar to these conditions. What about you?

The post Top Employers in the World 2015 appeared first on Small Business Can.

Promote Your Business Online: 5 Methods

Your presence on social platforms is absolutely necessary if you want your business to be successful. Besides, I don’t see a reason why not to use them – they are a lot cheaper and a lot more efficient than old marketing methods, which you still shouldn’t neglect, just focus your attention and funds onto modern methods, which have proven to be quite effective. Being new to the world of social platforms may be confusing, especially if you haven’t used them for developing your business until now. Each of them is valuable in its own way, and there’s a right way to use them properly. In order to save your time and money, I came up with this list, which will enable you to concentrate on the right things only. Whithout further ado, here are 5 methods on 5 different social platforms to promote your business online.


If the right way to represent your business is by using photography, Tumblr is the right way to go. They have managed to form an excellent database using hashtags, so anyone who’s interested into what you have to offer will be able to approach it naturally, without any forcing or brainwashing. This social platform is shaped in the form of a blog and it’s enhanced with the endless scroll, which makes it so easy to use, in order to look up everything you need. Besides, it requires minimal effort when it comes to maintenance, so you don’t really have to be online 27/7.


If what you want to spread around internet are links, the most efficient social platform would be Pinterest. It’s not boring or monotone like you’d imagine, because links are represented by some form of visual content like gifs, photos or infographics. Creating a board on Pinterest enables you to pin anything you want and create a type of database of carefully chosen links. Thanks to it, you can cozily place the content you’d like to share, pinned along with a suitable group of other links, and once again, allow your target group to approach you naturally.


Both of the previous two platforms enable you to allow your target group to find you, but Facebook has a completely opposite approach. Thanks to that personal info every Facebook user enters while making their profile, Facebook became the perfect advertising platform – you can easily find specific target groups and offer them your services. However, in order to create the ultimate ad that’s suitable to your needs, I’d advise to do some additional research about your options, so you don’t waste any time or money on something that won’t work for you.


Most people forget about YouTube when thinking about modern ways of advertising, which is a mistake. It’s not necessary to work with music, because there are all kinds of tutorials and informative channels you can make so your business can develop. The fact is that your potential customers don’t really find every website reliable, and by having your own channel, you’re able to show them you’re a real live person, which will make you trustworthy. Before you start, you should definitely look up what makes a channel good, and how to create one that will be popular.


The most efficient way to share precise information or short news is definitely by using Twitter. All tweets are limited to one hundred and forty characters, which limits spamming options, but it doesn’t completely exclude them. However, you’re able to regulate your followers quickly, so that won’t be a problem. An important thing to know about Twitter is the fact that you need to interact – you can’t expect people to retweet or favor your tweets if you don’t do the same. Unlike previous social platforms, Twitter requires from you to be constantly active, but if any exaggeration is noticed, you’ll be banned or your account will get deactivated. But, if you do decide to use Twitter properly – slowly and with care – you’ll find it very useful in time.

One last piece of advice – when you’re making these accounts, pay attention to fill in every single info box, so your potential customers can access any type info about you without having to Google you. I hope you do try out at least some of these platforms, and I’d really like you to let me know how it goes!

The post Promote Your Business Online: 5 Methods appeared first on Small Business Can.

Digital Marketing for Small Business – the Basic Practices

Small businesses are faced with more than a few trials, especially in the first couple of years of their inception. According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 businesses fail in the first 18 months of their existence. There are numerous reasons why people lose their business investment, and why small businesses crash and burn so fast, but we are not here to discuss that. We are here to discuss how you can actually keep your business alive. In recent years, more and more businesses focus on digital marketing, and the Web itself keeps evolving to meet their requirements. There are numerous benefits to digital marketing that fit the purpose of SMBs like a glove. Still, many resources would have you believe that there is nothing to it and that anyone can do it, which isn’t entirely true.

Digital Marketing and Your Web Presence

It is only proper that we start from the basics. Your website is the digital equivalent of your office or shop, depending on what kind of a business you are running. It needs to serve the purpose and look good. This is something that you need to keep in mind during the creation process. Make sure that you consider the profiles of people that are most commonly going to visit your website, and their IT proficiency as well. Furthermore, you need to identify the right platform to build your website on, and this will depend on the functionalities that you require. WordPress is a universal choice for general use, Magento is a popular choice for eShop purposes. If you are really planning on putting up something big, then a customer solution might be in order. All in all, make sure that you hire some experienced developers to help you out. You also need to make sure that your website works without a hitch. It is supposed to be a valid presentation of your company, and if the users run into a buggy website, they will start doubting your abilities. It is probably better not to have website at all than to have a bad website.


It is a standard procedure to include a blog within your website, but a lot of people are not aware of this. The reasons why you need to include a blog are numerous. First of all, it will help you with building a name for yourself as a niche expert and creating a voice for your company. Secondly, this is a great way to create sharable and engaging content in order to pull in new traffic and keep people on your website. There are also numerous SEO benefits that having a blog pulls in.


If you want people to be interested in what you have to offer, you have to deal with search engine optimization. There is simply no way around that. The amount of new traffic you will receive is directly related to your optimization, and there are a lot of SEO factors you need to satisfy in order to get results. Still, this is a process, and you shouldn’t rush things. Take it one step at the time.

Multimedia Content

We’ve mentioned blogs and textual content, but what about photos and videos? Well, video content is the most commonly shared type of content in the online environment, so it is crucial that you have at least some of it at hand. Your textual content needs to be backed up with videos and photos in order to increase its sharing potential.

Social Networks

The best places to reach new customers and engage with the old ones are social networks. Depending on the purpose for which you intend to use the social networks, you might want to target different ones. Facebook has great targeting ads, and is one of the most generally used networks. Twitter is generally used for business purposes but can be complicated to use, especially if you are new to it. LinkedIn is a must these days for any respectable company, and it is great for hunting new talents, connecting with competitors, keeping up with industry trends and so on.

Tie all of these together, and you are surely to reach a lot of people. Still, each of these things seems rather straightforward, but these are just the basic overviews of important aspects of digital marketing. There are tons of details you need to work on, and you need to put in a great effort to turn them into a perfectly functioning mechanism. Hope this helps!

The post Digital Marketing for Small Business – the Basic Practices appeared first on Small Business Can.

3 Important Things to Consider When Creating a Home Office

There are plenty of telecommuters and entrepreneurs working from home these days, and they are making a decent living out of it. Setting up an home office can save a new entrepreneur a lot of money, and allow him or her to put in more quality work hours. Of course, you need to be able to stay motivated and productive if you want to reap the benefits that a home office offers, and it certainly has some downsides. While being proactive and not wasting any time on achieving your goals is important when doing any kind of business, you should never mistake impulsiveness for initiative. Before you decide to start building a career from the comfort of your own home, you should consider a few important points first.

1. Invest in Your Home Office and Turn It into a Professional Workspace

The biggest mistake people working from home make is setting up a desk in the corner of the bedroom or living room, and having no way of effectively cutting themselves off from their private family life when they need to work. You should choose a room, or at least an area that is somewhat secluded, to be used specifically as your office, and you need to make it look the part. This will involve some small home renovations, like repainting a room, and getting some new furniture, cleaning up the attic, investing in a better internet connection, and installing an effective air conditioning unit.  I’ve had some experience with Aussie telecommuters, and I’ve found that the best thing to do is to avoid DIY solutions, and go straight to the pros. You want to make sure that you are hiring a capable professional to help with the necessary renovations and repairs. The simplest way to ensure that you are dealing with a reputable company is to perform an online license check and see if they are a legitimate business. A good computer with all the necessary peripherals, a decent desk and an office chair, a filing cabinet and some office supplies can turn out to be a substantial investment as well, but it is well worth getting the best equipment you can get based on your budget. I’d say that the chair will be the most important piece of equipment, as you will be sitting for hours on end, so don’t try to cut corners when choosing your office furniture.

2. Dress as You Would If You Were Going to Work

Staying concentrated and productive is all about your mindset. If you spend half the day in a bathrobe or your pajamas, what you are essentially doing is telling your brain that you are in “relax mode”, and have all the time in the world to get things done. You don’t want to be under constant stress, but it’s important to have some sense of urgency, and dressing like you were expecting company makes things seem more serious. There is no need for a three-piece suit, as comfort is also important, but you should definitely look presentable. The same goes for your hygiene – make an effort to shave, comb your hair and feel fresh.

3. Setting a Work Schedule Helps You Stay Focused

Telecommuters don’t really have a choice, since their boss will monitor their activity, but freelancers and entrepreneurs can find all that freedom difficult to deal with. It’s true that some people can do more work on a more flexible schedule, but for most, it’s best to stick to set working hours. This won’t only provide you with a focused state of mind, but it can also help you deal with the outside distractions, like people calling you up during the day, kids running into the office, and so on. Once you go into the office, you are at work, and everyone needs to respect your privacy, including yourself. Taking occasional breaks is fine, but try to stay in the zone, and don’t let yourself get distracted – it’s very easy to lose an hour or two on random chores – you can deal with personal stuff when you have clocked in enough work hours first.

All in all, if you are a focused and responsible individual, you will be able to set up a good home office and keep your productivity high, although the project will require an investment. You’ll need to consider these points, and make a good plan of attack if you want to make the most of it.

The post 3 Important Things to Consider When Creating a Home Office appeared first on Small Business Can.

This post was originally published here - http://www.smallbusinesscan.com/3-important-things-consider-creating-home-office/ on