Today’s post was inspired by a conversation I had recently with a fairly new member of my Metro Detroit Mompreneurs group. She had just joined, was still very much in start up phase of her business, and had a lot of great questions about recommendations for bookkeeping, invoicing, and financial organization as a business owner.
I decided that would be a great topic to cover with you! I want to help you set some systems in place for your business financials so you can feel streamlined, supported, and organized for the rest of the year. Established systems will benefit you both now and in the long run with growth or scaling in your business. There is absolutely every reason to invest your time, money, and effort into the organization of your financial wellness as an entrepreneur. This venture could save you incredible messes and headaches in the future.
One of the first and biggest things I always talk to my clients about with their finances seems so basic, and yet is commonly never really planned. You need to know how to properly charge your clients and customers. You need to define how to set value to your services or products and how to best invoice and collect money. For any business, it pays off in spades to nail your pricing early on. This can be hard for service-based businesses or businesses that provide custom, specific products, but is absolutely one of the first steps to streamlining your processes. You should develop a rate card. It’s exactly like what it sounds like it is, just a simple card with your prices for your standard items or services that you have to offer printed on it. This will save you the difficulty and mental energy of having to figure out what to charge every single time. Take the time to really organize your thoughts around what it is that you sell and what you feel is a fair value for that. Do you sell your time, advice, or expertise? Consider arranging packages for a set recurring payment once per month for a retainer for certain number of hours.
Once you have developed your rate card, it is important to decide what types or avenues of payment you would like to accept. I, personally, work entirely from digital transactions. Allowing my clients and customers to use credit cards has saved me time, energy, and quite a bit of stress without having to worry about cash, checks or bank runs.
One of my line items is monthly retainers for coaching and I have a rate card printed that I can show any prospective clients. They can simply look it over, pick level of service and see very clearly the price. My workshop rate card is organized with a rate for each type of workshop (1 hour, 3 hour, all day). I even have a rate card established for my in person speaking engagements depending on whether they are all day requiring travel, a local non profit, or simply a keynote. Save yourself some headache and at least write down some standard pricing or price ranges.
Next, you need to get paid right? I thought so! You’ve got to make payments as easy as possible for yourself and your customers alike. As I said, I personally don’t accept any form of cash or checks, only cards. Even when or if I am somewhere in person and selling my books at that event, I use a card swiper such as Square or Paypal! Low fees for myself and it’s just an easy one click, one swipe, and done process!
Even for live events, I suggest considering a service such as Eventbrite. I used this before when I did Mom Biz Coach Retreats and it was so easy and saved me so much stress. The registration system collects their pertinent contact information for you, allows you to provide information to them about the event, travel recommendations, etc. and then you can simply connect your Paypal and they can pay through a beautiful, integrated gateway.
Invoicing and bookkeeping is the last step and is the main reason I don’t use a pen and paper for anything anymore. That awful, piling, necessary paper trail in business was just too much for me. It was hard for me to keep up with receipts, avoid losing things or making accidental mistakes. So for me and my business, the beauty of accepting all payments online is there is a full online account of each transaction, date, amount, etc. This helps me so very much during tax time!
These are some of my favorite tips and tricks for keeping everything as simple, streamlined, and easy as possible. Did I miss something? What are you using that makes running the finance side of your business easy for you?