I need to start paying one of my coaches but it’s awkward to send a check to your wife.
I was sending invoices yesterday using Freshbooks, which is a phenomenal service for sending invoices, sending payments, and a slew of other things related to client and customer service. It’s definitely worth a look if you send invoices or take checks or cash payments and need an easy way to keep up with it all.
I reached the limit of clients for our account type and told Angela that we’d need to upgrade or find another solution. Since she’s the finance manager, we have a process that makes sure I tell her such things so there’s no surprises. It also serves as a good check for overspending.
Here’s about how that conversation went down:
Her: How often are we going to be sending invoices and receiving and recording payments?
Me: It’s becoming more common with our intensive clients and the local small businesses we’re working with.
Her: Okay. But how many times will we be doing it each month? Is it really worth paying month to month, or would we be better to develop an invoice/payment template if it’s less frequent?
Me: Hmm. Let me think about that. I’m not saying we need that particular service, but we need the functionality.
Her: Okay, but we don’t need to pay for something we’re not using enough. (Context: we’ve been cracking down on that this year to limit expenses and systems sprawl.)
We’re getting much better at asking the right questions sooner. Angela has been a rockstar on that this year, especially.
It would’ve been easy to just to jump on the upgrade based on the short-term pain, but Angela’s question got us thinking about long-term requirements. Each new thing you add to an operation adds hard costs, soft costs, and complexity, and those three things eat businesses alive.
Doing a quick assessment can save you lots of time and money. You know this already, so consider this a reminder.
Now, over to you:
- For a potential purchase or addition, how frequently will you use it or how does it fit into your current activities?
- If you’re wanting to review what you’re paying for, ask yourself the question of how frequently you use it and how it adds value. Take note that many businesses under-use much of what they buy or maintain.
Disclaimer: That link to Freshbooks is an affiliate link, which means that I get a commission if you pay to use the service; it’ll cost the same to you either way. I’ve been recommending it for years and it’s really a godsend for solos, freelancers, and small creative teams.