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A Quick Assessment Can Save You Lots of Time and Money
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.