5 Ways to Get Clients to Pay Your Invoice on Time

You can’t force clients to pay you on time, but here are some steps you can take to give yourself a better chance of receiving a paid invoice on time, courtesy of our friends at GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping.

This guest post is brought to you by GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping (formerly Outright) the simplest way to manage your small business finances online. Sign up today and get started invoicing online!

Staring at your empty bank account balance when you know you’re owed money is one of the most frustrating things in the world. If only your clients would pay on time – but it’s not like you can force them, right?

Well, no you can’t, but you can take steps to give you a better chance of getting what you’re owed on time. The following five tips should show clients you mean business about your business relationship and getting paid on time.

1. Ask for a Contract Every Time

Have you ever been faced with the scenario of your brother-in-law asking for you to do some work, or maybe a client you’ve always wanted approaches you and they ask to “forego the contract?” Likely you either feel obligated or afraid you’ll lose out on the opportunity, so you agree to forget the paperwork and just do the work.

But what happens when you need to get your money? Suddenly they also “forego” paying you, and if there’s no contract, you have little recourse for getting your money. No matter who it is, get a contract each and every time you being a project. Not only does a contract prevent problems, it can also give you piece of mind so you can concentrate on the work.

2. Be Detailed

Don’t just throw your contract together at the last minute. Be as detailed as possible about the work you will perform and your expectations for the client. Be specific about dates and deliverables. For example, if the project has multiple parts, include when you’ll turn each part in as well as when the client should pay up. Don’t forget all important payment terms (NET 15, “pay on receipt,” etc.) and a late fee to dissuade slow payers!

3. Accept Multiple Payment Types

One of the last things you want to do is restrict a customer who is trying his or her best to give you money. If you tell them you only accept credit cards and PayPal, suddenly they only have a check. Don’t give them the chance to provide any excuses; accept as many payment types as you feasibly and safely can. Otherwise, it will just be another excuse for them to delay payment.

4. Let Them Pay Up Front

This is a phenomenon that’s practically impossible to understand: some business owners don’t want to take payments from clients even when they offer! However, it does happen. A customer wants to go ahead and pay for the job even though the work isn’t done, but the business owner pushes it away telling them to wait. (This phenomenon seems to occur most often at the end of the year, as the client is getting their tax write-offs in order!)

Look, it’s very noble, but if the client wants to stay ahead of the game on their end, let them! Just let it be further incentive to do a good job on the project and you won’t have any problems.

5. Make Them Remember You

It may seem like another excuse (and it might be), but “I was just so busy” is definitely a reality many business owners face when it comes to their obligations. You know as well as any other entrepreneur that sometimes things just slip your mind when you have 10,000 other tasks you have to accomplish. If a client is late paying, follow-up frequently and persistently. After all, it’s your money.

GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping recently introduced a new Invoicing feature. Now it’s simpler than ever to manage all of your small business finances in one place. Login to GDOB and customize your invoices under the new “Invoices” tab today!

Meet the Shoeboxed Ambassadors!

We’re thrilled to announce our first group of Shoeboxed Ambassadors! This diverse and talented group will spread the word about Shoeboxed far and wide. Read on to learn more about the ambassadors and how they use Shoeboxed in their daily lives.

After a long and thorough search, we’re thrilled to announce the inaugural group of Shoeboxed ambassadors!

These eleven Shoeboxers comprise a diverse and talented group that will share the word about Shoeboxed with the world, and we’re certain that they’ll do a fantastic job launching our Ambassador Program.

Without further ado, get to know more about our first group of ambassadors!

Amanda Larrinaga

amanda larrinaga ambassadorAmanda is the Chief Business Builder at Modern Entrepreneur, a company she now owns and operates after years of building businesses and working at startups. As a scrappy small business owner, Amanda is no stranger to the challenges facing entrepreneurs today– especially when it comes to handling the administrative side of things! Amanda helps her customers to filter through the noise and focus on what’s important, and here at Shoeboxed, we aim to do exactly that. You might say we’re kindred spirits. Amanda uses Shoeboxed to organize all of her receipts — paper, email, what-have-you — in a single place so that she can focus on growing her business. She has extensive experience in blogging and social media and will utilize these skills in her duties as an ambassador. You can learn more about Amanda on her website or on Twitter at @AmandaLarrinaga.

Brian Baer

brian baer ambassadorBrian is the owner of Baer Marketing Network, a company that provides website design, video production and internet marketing for manufacturing companies, construction trade companies & professional businesses. He has over ten years of experience helping businesses succeed in their online marketing efforts. Brian says that using Shoeboxed has helped him to remain sane and self-employed and never fall behind on expense tracking. He uses Shoeboxed with Outright for an easy, automated accounting workflow. He plans to share his Shoeboxed story at conferences and events. You can find out more about Brian on his website or on Twitter at @BaerMarketing.

Brian Dusablon

brian dusablon ambassadorBrian runs a consulting company, where he helps businesses simplify, improve, and perform. His areas of expertise include web and mobile technologies and organizational strategy. He also runs a podcast network called Emergent Radio and co-hosts a podcast called The ToolBar. Brian considers Shoeboxed his virtual assistant that keeps him organized and ensures he doesn’t lose track of receipts while he’s traveling to one of his speaking gigs or to visit a client. Brian is an active blogger and social media user, and he plans to spread the word about Shoeboxed across the social web. You can learn more about Brian on his website or on Twitter at @BrianDusablon.

Daniel Hoang

daniel hoang ambassadorDaniel is a management consultant at Point B. As a professional services consultant, he works with Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, and engages with local small businesses in Seattle. Daniel is also a member of the City of Seattle Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board. He enjoys traveling and spending time with his two tuxedo cats named Mochi and Pippi. Daniel uses Shoeboxed together with Evernote to achieve an almost completely paperless lifestyle. He is also a regular blogger and active Twitter user, and you can learn more about Daniel on his website or on Twitter at @DanielHoang.

Douglass Davidoff

douglass davidoffDouglass is the principal consultant at Straight Talk Public Relations in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is also an avid writer, blogger and social media personality, and he likes working out of coworking locations. When he’s not working, Doug enjoys local history, traveling in Vermont, coastal sailing in New England and political activism. Doug has been using Shoeboxed for four years to support his consulting work across the Northeast, and he says that Shoeboxed allows him to eliminate paper and feel confident in the case of an audit. His favorite features of Shoeboxed include the Shoeboxed Receipt and Mileage Tracker for iOS and our famous Magic Envelopes. Doug plans to share his Shoeboxed story at coworking sites, meetups, on social media and with his professional network. You can learn more about Douglass on the Straight Talk website or on Twitter at @DougSTPR.

Liz Barnett

liz barnett ambassadorLiz Barnett is a self-employed powerhouse who runs WomanlyWoman.com. Liz is an active blogger and affiliate marketer, and she is also an internet marketing consultant for small businesses. Liz is a member of the BlogHer Social Media Influencer Program and attends #BloggyCon, a professional conference for female bloggers, every year. She has been a Shoeboxed user and fan since she signed up in 2009, and Liz says that using Shoeboxed allows her to easily provide her accountant with her important documents so that he can get her the best deal on her taxes. Liz plans to spread the word about Shoeboxed on her popular blog, Womanly Woman, and throughout her professional networks. You can find out more about Liz on her website or on Twitter at @WomanlyWoman.

Marcey Rader

marcey raderMarcey Rader of MarceyRader.com,  is a lifestyle trainer specializing in helping mobile professionals and business travelers be healthy and productive on the road. She is an entrepreneur, personal trainer, ultra-endurance athlete, certified productivity specialist and blogger. In the twelve months that Marcey has been using Shoeboxed, she’s become a power user and active advocate of our service. She’s a big fan of our mobile app since she’s always on the go. Marcey plans to share Shoeboxed with her clients and across her professional network. You can learn more about Marcey on her website, in this video on the Shoeboxed blog, Facebook Marcey Rader Coaching or on Twitter at@MarceyRader.

Mike Schmidt

mikeschmidt ambassadorMike is the CEO of MFive Labs, Inc., the makers of Listn.co. Mike is a member of several exclusive tech networks, including The C100, FounderFuel, The Next 36, Launchpad LA and the Canadian Technology Association. As frequent business travelers, he and his team use the Shoeboxed Receipt and Mileage Tracker to keep track of expenses on-the-go. Mike plans to spread the word about Shoeboxed throughout his professional networks and on Twitter at @MikeSchmidt.

Jody Seibert

jody seibert ambassadorJody is a small business accountant and the owner of The Dog Ate My Books. In this role, Jody helps small businesses decide which accounting solution is right for them, as well as providing ongoing accounting services. She uses Shoeboxed and Evernote together to run a completely paperless business, and helps her clients do the same. She is quite the bookworm (she especially enjoys a good whodunnit!) and hiker, often taking her Kindle along on a long hike. Jody is also an active blogger and social media user — not to mention a long-time promoter of Shoeboxed! — so we’re thrilled to have her on board. You can learn more about Jody on her website, in her Customer Profile on the Shoeboxed blog, on Twitter at @DogAteMyBooks.

Kate Brown

kate brown ambassadorKate is an author, speaker, and personal productivity enthusiast. She operates two businesses, Impact Organizing and Impact Productivity, and she is also in her second term as a National Board Member for the National Organization of Professional Organizers. Kate has been with Shoeboxed from almost the very beginning; she’s been using our service and apps for going on four years now, and we’re thrilled to have her on board as an ambassador. Kate uses a variety of methods to consolidate her receipts inside her Shoeboxed account, and she says she gets peace of mind knowing that all of her documents are secure and easily accessible whenever she may need them. Kate plans to share Shoeboxed through her involvement with NAPO and on her new website (coming soon!). In the meantime, you can keep with her on Twitter at @KateSBrown or learn more at Impact Organizing.

Sydni Craig-Hart

sydni craig hartSydni is an entrepreneur and the co-owner of Smart Simple Marketing, a consulting, coaching and marketing company she shares with her husband. She has helped clients in over 50 different industries to attract more customers, create a stronger online presence, develop multiple streams of revenue and boost their bottom line.  Sydni is a fourth-generation entrepreneur and has been using Shoeboxed since 2007 when we first started. She uses Shoeboxed on an ongoing basis to keep up with receipts and also to digitize all the paper she receives to manage and grow her business. Sydni plans to share her Shoeboxed story using her marketing expertise and personal networks. You can learn more about Sydni on her website, in her recent Success Story on the Shoeboxed blog or on Twitter at @SydniCraigHart.

Welcome to the program, guys and gals! We’re so grateful to have so many awesome users, and we’re excited to to see what our first group of ambassadors can do.

We’d like to sincerely thank everyone who applied to be a part of the Shoeboxed Ambassador Program. If you were not selected this time, stay tuned — we’ll be recruiting and talking to potential ambassadors on a rolling basis. If you have any questions about the Ambassador Program or would like to learn more, contact Emily at emily@team.shoeboxed.com.

How to Give Your Small Business a Green Beginning

It can be hard for a small business to go green once it’s already established. Here’s how to make your business environmentally conscious from the start, courtesy of Deborah Sweeney of MyCorporation.

This post is brought to you by Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com.

Green offices are a relatively new phenomena, fueled by an understandable concern about our habits and the impact they have on the planet. Unfortunately, that means that many office recycling programs were sort of haphazardly thrown together. Sure, an office may have plopped a recycling bin on the main floor, but that does not immediately turn an office green. The best, possible scenario is to work on making businesses green from the minute they are founded, and while spearheading a recycling program may not be at the top of a startup’s to-do list, a little bit of effort can really go a long way.

Start small

Getting your business up and running is going to be your main concern, and that is fine. Just start designing your workflow with green practices in mind. The biggest source of waste for offices is paper, so that is a good place to begin. In 2010, Americans collectively threw out $2.8 billion worth of paper, recovering only 63.5% of paper produced. That represents a huge drain, and businesses are responsible for a good portion of it – the average office worker will use 10,000 sheets of paper in one year. A new business shouldn’t be using anywhere near that amount, but adopting recycling early on in the business’s life will ensure that, when the business does begin to take off and grow, the recycling program won’t fall to the wayside. And don’t stop at paper. When you have that down, start working on kitchen waste, inkjet cartridges, computer equipment – the more you plan now, the easier it will be to stick to that plan and keep your business green.

Don’t be the office fanatic

When you first start out, your employee roster will probably be you, you, and you, so it’ll be easy to adhere to whatever green policies you set out. But when you begin to hire, remember that you want to involve them with, and not force them to adhere to, the programs already in place. Keep them aware of what you are trying to do, make it easy for them to follow your example by placing recycle bins anywhere garbage is created, and then let them work. You don’t want to be the type of boss that leaves little, passive-aggressive notes on every Coke can someone accidentally puts into the trash. Your green-ification program will be much more sustainable if everyone feels like they are willingly a part of it, instead of being forced to sort twenty different types of recyclable garbage.

Head to the cloud

According to The Paperless Project, a four-drawer filing cabinet that takes up 9 square feet of space can cost a business $1,500 every year! Newer companies won’t be as big as the ones that are actually paying that much to have an antiquated filing system, but if your business grows with that type of system in place, you could find yourself losing a lot of money, along with wasting a lot of paper. Adopting a cloud-based storage system early on in your business’s life, then, is a great investment in both your green initiatives and in the future of your business. You’ll be able to use as little paper as possible and your business will evolve around that cloud-based storage system.

A green beginning means a green future – technology may evolve and recycling may become more efficient, but if you build your business with a green initiatives in mind, your business will continue to make a difference. And all you have to do is start small. Buy a recycling bin, put it next to the trashcan in your office, and make an effort to sort out your garbage when you throw it away. From that simple step you can branch your green initiative into employee outreach, paperless office development, and a more comprehensive recycling program. But that green tomorrow begins with a blue can in your office today.

deborah sweeneyDeborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter at @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.