A Better Way To Get Paid
Getting paid is key to every small business. But many small business owners are scared to talk about money! Failing to talk about money – clearly, candidly, and confidently – hurts your business.
The truth is, we tend to overcomplicate the process, which leaves our clients confused and maybe even suspicious.
Why Small Business Owners Shy Away From The Conversation
Why are so many folks uncomfortable talking about money? It stems from a lack of confidence. Too many small business owners lack confidence in their skill set, professionalism, and worth.
That self-doubt can even be seen in how we refer to ourselves!
Most small business owners proudly claim their passion. Photographers call themselves “photographers.” Coaches say, “I’m a coach.” Bookkeepers simply state “a bookkeeper” when asked what they do.
But a small percentage add “professional” in front of their job description. I’m a “professional photographer,” a “professional coach”, or a “professional bookkeeper.” I mean, who would you rather go to – a “coach” or a “professional coach”?
To take it down another notch, even fewer people say, “I’m a small business owner” when asked what they do. Claiming the title of “professional” or “small business owner” can be scary. The common excuses of “I’m not there yet” or “I need more time” hold many back.
The reality is this: If you have a logo, a website, or sell your services, you know more than most! So let’s start by owning the title of “small business owner.” Once we’ve taken that step, conversations about money become much easier.
Start With The Ask (in a confident voice, please)
It’s pretty simple. If you don’t ask for money, people won’t pay you.
Imagine this scene: You find something in a store, like a shirt, but it doesn’t have a price tag. If it’s the perfect fit and you absolutely love it, you take it to the counter and ask the price. Then you give it a quick thought (hmm, yes or no?), and proceed.
What a bad experience that is! Too many mental road bumps. For starters, lots of folks would give up after searching for the price tag. Others would fall away waiting in line to talk to a cashier. And, of course, the price itself kicks out a few would-be buyers.
If you don’t make it clear how much your services cost – and when and how to pay – you create too many mental roadblocks. You have to be confident enough as a professional small business owner to say, “If you are ready to book, we can complete your payment of X dollars via credit card payment now.” Now you have reduced the mental speed bumps to just one – the decision.
Complicating Things Risk Losing Buyers
Too many small business owners like to sell too much, because they are afraid of losing the sale. Imagine a site with 50+ different products, with all types of upgrades and downgrades, and then, if you spend $50 more, you get $10 off. Wow. That was confusing to read – and even type!
Think of how your clients feel. With too many options, you create confusion and frustration. Would-be clients get nervous about making the wrong decision, and they retreat by making no decision. They go off and find something else that’s easier to understand.
“Cash or Check, Please.” Let’s Rethink That.
When many small business owners start out, an invoice created in Excel does the trick.
But let’s break that down. You have to type out client names, products, and prices. Then, clients have to send a check, or show up on the day of service with a check or cash. A paper receipt needs to be created and shared. Next, it’s off to the bank to deposit the check. Can you calculate the amount of wasted time there?
Worse still, the client experience you’re creating isn’t desirable or efficient.
In that Excel invoice scenario, “Cash or check please” closes the door on credit card payments. But insisting on cash or check limits how much a client spends to what they have in their bank account. Many clients do value your service, and are willing to pay more – but not all at once. Sure, you can do payment plans, but if you don’t have an automated system, then that becomes its own hassle, with countless reminder and past due emails. The time spent eats up all your profit.
The solution is allowing leads to pay via credit card. This can be a scary step for some. But, by taking the plunge, your clients will actually pay you more for your services. Scared of those credit card fees? (Roughly 3 percent, on average.) Understandable, but work that cost into your pricing. You can write off credit card fees as a cost of doing business, so price your services with the anticipation that every client will pay with a credit card.
When you let clients pay online, you can take payment at the time of booking. Using a service like Square, you can take a client’s credit card information over the phone and complete the transaction right then. Now your client has skin in the game and they are less likely to cancel or no show. So not only are you getting paid faster, you’re also making sure that your time is used wisely.
This is a step to becoming a more professional business. People trust businesses who show professionalism. Many small business owners wonder why they’re not booking leads. Often, it’s because the trust is not there.
Automation Is King. And Queen.
As you become more comfortable with doing business, it’s natural to search for a better, more efficient way to do things. You soon grow weary of running to the bank, trying to understand QuickBooks, and sending payment reminder emails. The reality is, sending an invoice should take seconds and receiving a payment should take just as long.
With 17hats, you can swap your time-consuming paper filing system for an automated, cloud-based, mobile-friendly platform. You can send invoices and receive payments seamlessly. And by connecting Stripe or Square, you don’t pay any additional fees – it’s just like you were completing invoices manually, only without the wasted hours.
You can also create a payment plan which automatically sends your clients invoice reminders. 17hats even provides your customers with a secure Client Portal, so they have access to their documents at all times. No more “Hey, I lost the invoice – can you resend it” emails at 11 p.m.!
Running A Business Doesn’t Have To Be Hard
According to the Small Business Administration, half of small businesses fail within the first five years. But, remember: Those people don’t go out of business because they’re bad at their passion. Instead, it’s because they didn’t understand how to run a business, and they soon became overworked and overwhelmed.
But, that’s not going to happen to you. Why? Because you are here. Learning how to run your business in a better, more efficient way. Cheers to that.
Still, reading doesn’t move mountains. You have to put some pep in your step and get the work done. So what’s first?
- Wake up tomorrow, look in the mirror, and say, “I’m a small business owner, and I rock.”
- The next time you meet someone, make sure you use the word “professional” when speaking about your career.
- Sign up for Square to start accepting payments online.
- Add a few dollars to your prices to take care of the credit card fees.
Don’t let your potential fall victim to the chaos of running a business. Seize this opportunity to improve how you view yourself and your professional business. Start your free trial with 17hats today.