The exhilaration of signing a new client is like no other feeling in the world! Here are the fruits of your hard work paying off right before your very eyes indeed you are on cloud nine and feeling unstoppable. Now the real work begins. So you dig in and work like there's no tomorrow, meeting deadlines, knocking presentations out of the park. You're surprising even your own-self with high productivity and stellar results. Nothing can go wrong...right? Well, actually this statement does not exist in the repertoire of a small business owner, so let's try this again. You have not anticipated that anything will go wrong at this point. Until the time comes for the first invoice.
The first time you invoice a client is always like walking on water, though you tell them what to expect the client still expresses shock and awe at the bottom line cost. Your follow up conversation with them is awkward at best and you are tempted to relent but you stand your ground and 10 days later receive your payment. It is then that you truly realize that small business ownership is not for lightweights. You will need to adopt a system that suits your business structure and implement this technique for every client that is interested in doing business with you. Having multiple systems to suit each individual client will not ensure streamline receipt of timely payment each month.
I will admit, I learned this the hard way as most do who can not afford full-time accountants, but since then have implemented a system that works. I had to realize that benevolence is always noble but unfortunately a pat on the back accompanied by a big thanks does not pay the bills. Understanding what you're worth before having that budget conversation with a potential client is key. Set a minimum contract rate and do not go below that amount. This new year will bring about a resurgence in our economy which will translate into lucrative opportunities for small business. Deciding how your finances will flow in and out of your company before you increase your client load will help you navigate what's to come. Happy New Year from Kennedy Consulting and as always I wish you much business success in 2010 and beyond.
Small Business Resource of the Week: Maryland-Governor's Office Minority Affairs