Clear The Slide
If you’re growing a business, make it easier by identifying and fixing any area where there is drag or friction. You know, processes or tech issues or delays that gum up the process of moving forward. That’s drag. That’s friction.
This means taking a hard look at the HOW of your interactions with Clients — what’s it like to reach you, to book with you, to receive information from you, to collaborate with you, & yes, to PAY you — and doing the work necessary to make all of that easier. Especially when it comes to getting paid, as small business owners we should make it our focus to ease this for clients as much as possible.
Seems logical, right, but this can be hard for some small businesses, especially really small ones, since blowing those friction-sources out of the way generally costs money. And if you’re cash-strapped (or ever have been in your life), often you’ll resist those expenditures.
But know this: As long as there’s friction, as long as you hold onto not making these improvements in favor of keeping those dollars in your bank account today, then today & tomorrow the bigger money, the money you really want and need to grow — not to mention your overall impact — are getting hung up there, too.
What we want is to build clear, uncluttered, slick slides for money from clients to get to you.
And yes, I’m saying money, but really this is ALL ABOUT what the money represents: an exchange of value. If you make it hard for people to pay you, leave obstacles in their path, then they are potentially denied the GREAT BENEFIT of working with you, growing as a consequence of your offer or service, living better/happier/stronger thanks to what you do. Don’t make them work so hard to part with their dough.
So it’s a good idea periodically to check the slide.
Some example of clutter on the slide, rocks, tacks, or velcro as one client put it recently:
- Only accepting checks. Yes, I know: 3.5% merchant fees get deducted from credit card payments. My response: OH WELL. Also: Cost of doing business. Also: Your goal should be to make it AS EASY AS POSSIBLE for people to pay you fast, without thinking about it or work at it. EASY. The trade for credit card fees: ease for the client, faster payment for you. Yes, there are times for checks and for ACH/bank-to-bank transfers, but please: open the gates.
- Sending invoices late, because your process to prepare your invoices is labor-intensive/time consuming AND/OR you’re nervous about your client’s reaction when she sees the total. So much to say about this, but here’s a story instead. A contractor for one of my clients presented his invoice in January for work that had started back in March of the previous year, despite numerous requests to submit invoices throughout. Oh, the bad feelings that resulted from a giant bill for 10 months of services coming in the following year. That’s a bridge that just got burned. Put the matches down.
- Sending invoices as an attachment, without click-to-pay option. Which sets off cascade of tiny rocks on your slide → requiring client to download/print the invoice, write you a check, find a stamp, get to a post office box. There are so many tools, not least of which (my favorite) Quickbooks Online, to send better invoices electronically. Stop throwing rocks.
- Sticking with scheduling/payment software that’s glitchy because it’s cheap. Sure, maybe you think you don’t mind spending the time trouble-shooting what happened on a regular basis, but that time you’re spending on it? That frustration and lack of clarity for the client? That is costing you more than the cost of the upgrade. Spend the $15 more a month for Acuity if that’s what’s best. Clear the velcro stat.
You get the picture, right? You make your clients more likely to buy from you if the process is easy FOR THEM. That may cost you, but exchanging value — i.e., dollars from your clients, for product/service from you — is the point of business. Making it easy, i.e., putting the best tools in place, is a cost of doing business.
Eliminate friction when it comes to paying you. Keep that slide clear and smooth!
PS To remove clutter from the slide, there are tons of apps, software, tools, plug-ins at all price-points. If I can help, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat.