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Just in case you haven’t been watching the BBC News….
A record amount of online shopping was done in December 2013, says the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
Close to one in five non-food items was bought online last month, according to the BRC survey.
There was also a 19.2% growth in internet purchases from a year earlier, the fastest increase in four years……..
The online retail boom was very much in evidence in late 2013, with many High Street chains expanding their internet offerings, and some shops reporting record figures for the amount customers purchased online around Christmas.
In a recent AccountingWEB survey on average survey respondents said more than 80% of their customers use a smartphones or a tablet and almost all expect this number to increase over the next 12 months.
Without an online presence your business is likely to be become invisible to your customers.
Its not just about having a website either, there needs to be something that will keep your customers visiting your website and you probably need an app….
Late payment kills businesses, it’s a fact.
Latest research shows that British SMEs are having to wait an average of 41 days longer than their original agreed payment terms before invoices are paid. (source: BACS)
So what can you do to get paid faster?
- Get payment upfront – It might sound obvious but do you ask for payment with order? or deposits? or to be paid on delivery?
- Get Stage Payments – on projects agree stages and collect payment before you do the next stage
- Raise the Invoice quickly – as soon as you can bill the client send out the invoice
- Agree Terms of Business and Payment Terms before you start any work
- Make sure you know who to bill and who to chase for payment
- Make your invoice stand out, use bright colours and send a copy by Post and E Mail
- Offer multiple payment methods – Credit Card, BACS, Cheques, PayPal – make it easy for your client to pay you
- Offer a discount for prompt payment
- Charge interest for late payment
- Deal with any disputes quickly
Before you can sell you need to master the sales process, the following is a link to a 9 step process to help improve your sales process – WikiHow
Or you might prefer the 1941 Chevrolet approach
Once you are selling, how can you maximise your sales revenue…….
- Understand your clients needs and wants, sell products that they want, or make them want what you have to sell
- Keep your promises and earn your clients trust
- Look for opportunities to sell additional services and products
- Offer good value and service
- Get testimonials, recommendations and referrals
- Use your contacts and social media and tell them your success stories
- Credit Check your clients, a clients isn’t a client if they don’t pay and you aren’t running a charity
- Bad Debt Insurance could help reduce your risk but its not appropriate for all businesses
- Set up a customer rewards program and offer incentives
- Follow up leads within 24 hours
Keeping track of income and expenses can hard when you are busy so why not try using a phone app? HMRC suggest the following:
|Forbes Computer Systems Ltd (Opens new window)||Forbes Receipt Keeper||Android|
|FreeAgent Central Ltd (Opens new window)||Earnest||iPhone, iPod touch, iPad|
|Immagini Ltd (Opens new window)||ZipZipBooks||Android|
|Intuit (Opens new window)||MyBizTracker||iOS (iPhone, iPod touch)|
|Mr Tax Software Ltd (Opens new window)||Text 2 Save Tax||Android.|
|Quick File Ltd (Opens new window)||Quick File||All – free web-based application|
|Sage (Opens new window)||Sage Record Keeper||iPhone, iPad iOS|
|123 Tax (Opens new window)||123 Tax application||Windows Phone|
I have been trying out the Sage Record Keeper Mobile on my iPhone, its pretty good for free, here is an overview:
- Record cash in and cash out
- See your balances at a glance and track CIS deductions – Standard or Higher Rate
- You can even take photos of your receipts – no longer worry about losing them- multiple photos if needed
- Estimate the current year’s tax and refer back to previous ones (up to 6 years)
- Quick links to record income and expenses in seconds
- Enter details, specify type of payment used and add notes
- Add and customise tags for transactions to group them into categories
- Add several tags to each transaction
- Search and filter by category, supplier / customer, amounts or other details
- Backup your information using iCloud
For use outside of the app you can export all or just a selection of transactions and photos as CSV and image files. They’re automatically attached to an email for sharing with anyone.
So no excuses, use your phone and stay organised.