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If you’re a startup, you probably haven’t got a lot of time before you have to start making repayments on your outstanding loans to creditors. As a result, it’s essential that you get your business up and running as quickly as possible. The last thing you want is to have to go into arrears and risk not being able to get lines of credit in the future.
Invoicing might not be the most glamorous part of doing business, but it’s certainly the most important if you want to get paid. One of the problems that a lot of companies encounter early on is not getting paid on time, usually because they are relying on traditional paper invoices. Start using an online accounting solution, like Wave, instead, and send your customers invoices by email. Better still, include a payment option on the invoice itself to speed up payment even more. Wave claim that including a payment option on the invoice can improve payment times by 2 to 3 working days.
There are two ways of building an email list and starting your marketing efforts. The first is to attract people to your site, paying a fortune to Google in the process, and having them sign up to your newsletter. Building a sizeable email list usually takes months, if not years, which is usually far too long for companies facing strict deadlines but have a look at my tips to build your list a little bit quicker (1000 subscribers in 30 days!).
The second option is to invest in consumer email marketing lists. These are lists that have been gathered by other businesses similar to your own and pooled at some central location. These lists can be targeted, just like a regular email list that you might build on your own, making it suitable for immediate marketing.
If you want to drum up business quickly, don’t expect people to either arrive at your site in the first place or spend lots of time figuring out exactly which of your products will benefit them. First, make sure you have an optimized landing page. Secondly, a better strategy is to use paid search to get people forwarded to a landing page which immediately meets their needs.
The way to do this is to segment your advertising. If you’re using Adwords, start off by targeting specific customers for specific products. Perhaps a client is interested in one type of cleaning service you offer. If that’s the case, offer that particular service in an advert and then forward them to a landing page where they can purchase the service or get in contact with you. This is a far more effective system than having visitors click through to your site and then find their way through menus to the product that they want.
Your priority is to make sure you get paid as fast as possible. But if your customers suspect that you’re working in your dressing gown in your bedroom, then you’re a lot less likely to get paid. There is, however, a simple solution: a virtual office. Here you can register your business address at a swanky location, all the while getting your mail forwarded to the address where you actually do your work.