It's a sad reality for many small business owners. The lines between the workweek and weekend exist only in their calendars.
The days often blur together, often tipping that sought-after work/life balance into disarray. Exhaustion sets in, tempers flare and relationships sour. Being a small business owner is hard work—that's a given—but it doesn't have to completely monopolize your time.
Spend Less Time Invoicing
What if small business and microbusiness owners reclaimed some of those precious hours during the week to leave their weekends free and clear? Greg Waldorf, CEO of Invoice2go, a mobile cash flow management company, says that pairing a smartphone with his company's eponymous mobile invoicing app (also available as a Web application) and service has helped entrepreneurs slash the time it takes to issue invoices and get paid faster to boot.
Invoice2go lets business owners "get the invoicing done when the work is complete," instead of setting aside time later to bill clients. Not only does it save them time in the long run, it prevents expenses and other costs from slipping through the cracks of fading memories.
In addition to invoicing, the app provides expense tracking, ensuring that small businesses bill their customers appropriately. Reporting tools offer an at-a-glance understanding of the business' financial health in terms of cash flow.
Invoice2go also helps banish bulging binders and clipboards that are one more receipt from exploding into a cloud of paper. "A lot of [Invoice2go's] competition is paper and pen," Waldorf told Small Business Computing during a recent interview.
The app sends invoices in the Portable Document Format (PDF), the de facto standard for electronic documents. Going paperless offers other rewards beyond saving on ink and avoiding paper cuts. It lends one's enterprise a professional air; instead of leafing through a stack of papers, you can issue an invoice onsite in mere moments with an iPhone or tablet, Waldorf said.
Turn Back Time and Mend Relationships
"Small business owners save, on average, three hours a week and get paid seven days faster," using Invoice2go, Waldorf said. While those three hours may not seem like a lot, they can make a huge difference in the lives of entrepreneurs.
Many small businesses are a family affair, Waldorf observed. Often, a spouse, parent or child will carve a few hours out of the week, typically on the weekends, to handle invoices. Apart from sacrificing downtime on the decidedly dull task, calculating rates and tracking down missing expenses after the fact can cause friction between family members
Invoice2go customers generate eight out of 10 invoices between Mondays and Fridays, indicating that these businesses bill clients as they complete the work during the work week. A whopping 93 percent of the company's customers also said that the app had saved them time on accounting and other administrative tasks.
"It takes a lot of pressure out of their relationship," Waldorf said of family-run small businesses that use his company's technology. In at least one case, it even helped save a marriage, he added.
The Invoice2Go mobile app for both Apple iOS and Android devices features a straightforward and eye-pleasing interface. Touch-friendly controls and navigational elements help you track expenses as they occur and compile invoices on the go. An overview displays the number and monetary value of all invoices that remain outstanding.
The service is available in 11 languages, and more than 200,000 customers worldwide use Invoice2go. This week, the company announced that it reached a major new milestone for the platform: 1 million invoices created per month.
A single-user trial plan includes three free invoices. Prices start at $49 per year for the Starter plan, which includes up to 100 invoices and 50 client listings. An Enterprise plan includes unlimited invoices and client listings, along with support for up to five users for $149 per year.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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