Finding a free and good invoicing system can be tough, but today we present to you some of our best invoicing tools that we have tested and that we can comfortably recommend for your small business. But first, let us take time to understand why invoicing is important for your business.

Invoicing is one of those small tasks yet very important for every business regardless of size. Invoices help us to track and record daily transactions on goods and service delivery, enabling us to understand how much was sold in cash and the debts outstanding.

This makes invoicing one of the most valuable processes for every business. Invoices do not only help us to track payments, but also provide us with formality to collect payments. For example, if a customer doesn’t pay, you can legally present invoices as proof of service delivery.

Here are some invoicing software and systems that will help to enhance your remote working.

Bookipi

Bookipi is a free invoice maker platform that offers cloud invoicing and accounting solutions. All your transactions can be synced across all your devices (web, iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows).

Key Features

Invoicing via email: This is not an automatic invoicing system, but it makes your invoicing easy and efficient. Invoicing can be done manually on your phone App or your laptop, but the invoice is automatically sent to the client via email. The app also automatically sends you a copy of the invoice.

Email Opening Notification: The app also notifies you when the client opens the invoice sent via email. This can be a good feature to help you understand if your client received the invoice or not.

Overdue Flags: The App also helps to flag overdue invoices in your admin dashboard. This reminds you to follow up on such invoices with a phone call or a reminder email.

Automatic Receipts: When invoices are marked paid in the admin dashboard, the system asks if you would like to send a receipt to the client.

Ability to create custom documents: The platform also offers a great option for administrators to create other financial documents like Quotations or Proforma Invoices.

Getting paid via the App: The app has an option for clients to pay you with PayPal or card. Unfortunately, this feature is not available in most countries in Africa. However, other features work just fine and perfect.

Reports and data: You can export your data in an excel format. This is a great way to backup your data and monthly transactions.

Visit their website to signup, download the app and give it a try.

Flutterwave

Flutterwave makes it easy for you to make and accept payments from customers anywhere in the world. The platform offers great and seamless features, but you have to be a registered business to enjoy these great services. You must have a bank account for your business as well.

Features

Ability to create payment links: Flutterwave is not just an invoicing system, it also lets you create payment links that you can share with your customers anywhere in the world. When the customer clicks on the links, they can pay you with mobile money or visa cards.

Flutterwave enables you to accept payments from customers in 150 currencies, including UGX, USD, GBP, Euro, and Yuan. Transaction fees can be included in your product final price or can be transferred to the customer when paying.

The platform is free, you only pay per transaction. All you have to do is sign up, set up your account, and start invoicing.

Create virtual Mastercard and VISA cards: Using their API, you can instantly create and manage virtual cards from your administrator dashboard. Virtual cards can be used online payment purposes.

You can sign up here to start using Flutterwave.

 

Also read

Starting A Small Business in Uganda

Thinking of starting a small business or already in the early stages of your new business? If your answer is yes, then you want to make sure you have the right tools and information to help you prepare thoroughly for the growth of your small business.

In this article, we have prepared 8 key things that have been adopted from real-life business experience and that will definitely and positively impact your small business in the early startup stages.

1. Do your market research

Research is the easiest way to put your business ideas to test. It is therefore important that you look out for resources and information about the business you would like to start.

Market research can be done for example by gathering information about your potential customers, understanding market trends, analysing product prices, connecting with potential suppliers, and learning about the competition or businesses in a similar industry.

This will enable you to acquire more knowledge about the business you want to start, enlighten you about the opportunities in the industry, and potentially enable you to understand what your customers are looking for, and most importantly what other businesses are not doing right.

All these are great opportunities that you can build on while crafting your business plan and drawing your initial SWOT analysis.

As you do your research, its also important to consider regional and national statistics on trade, population, and industries. In business, numbers are paramount, and thus very important to understand the potential of your market. For Uganda, you can check out The Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

Also, find time to check out URA for tax requirements.

2. Choose your business name

Assuming you have done your research, and you are convinced that you have a good idea, and you are confident that you can bring new value to the market; the next thing we can consider now is choosing your business name.

Realistically, selecting a business name should be part of your market research, and this can be very helpful in selecting a business name that communicates well to your potential customers, and at the same time makes you unique from the competition.

It is not wise to choose a name that is close or similar to your competitor or an already established business.

Take enough time to select a good business name, as this can have a huge impact on your business branding and marketing in the future.

In this digital era, one of the easiest ways to test and research a business name is to do an online name search or domain search.

If you realize that your name is not used by other businesses already, then you can go ahead with it, but if there already many businesses using the same name online, that means you might have a big struggle to promote your business or claim your online presence.

Search tools for your small business

The following tools can help you in the name search.

  • Use Google: Just Google search your desired name and see the results from Google. Based on the results, you can innovate your business name.
  • Namecheckr: is a domain and social media search. This shows you if your business domain is already taken or available. If your business name domain or social media user name is taken, then potentially someone else is using that name already.

Even though such tools may not guarantee total accuracy, they can help you in crafting a unique business name that can grow into a global brand with time.

3. Write your business plan

Things are getting interesting now, its now time to organize everything we have gathered into a proper presentation or plan. Its time to put together a business plan.

In the early stages of the business, its highly recommended to prepare a lean business plan, rather than a compact traditional plan. This is because in the early stages of the business, everything is still a test, and things keep on changing from time to time.

A traditional and detailed business plan can trap you into unrealistic thoughts and imaginations.

So, since we are planning for a small business, we can focus only on the key elements of the business, for example, key customers, key partners, key activities, key resources, customer segments, your delivery channels, your cost and revenue management, and your unique selling point. As things fall into place, you can continue improving your plan as the business grows.

You can download the business model canvas to help you plan for your small business on one single page.

4. Register and legalize your small business

Formal registration is the only way to legally own your business, without registration, anyone can claim your name. This means that you might have to go back to square one of processing a new business name, potentially create new social media accounts, or even buy a new domain name.

Formal registration also comes with formal business opportunities and contracts. A single formal contract can highly impact your business and can open more business connections for you as a business owner and for your business.

Large companies prefer dealing with registered businesses, and this makes it hard for informal businesses to work with them. A small business needs a few good contracts to get off the ground, and if you are doing things well, referrals will come your way.

Contracts can also save you from spending big on marketing campaigns in the early stages of your business. This will help you focus on serving better your clients.

Visit URSB for registration options and guidelines.

5. Open a business bank account

You won’t be able to get a business bank account without a formal business registration certificate. This another reason why you should register your business.

But let us talk about what you can do with your business bank account; at the moment, one of the best things you can do with your business account is to receive money online.

As business and trade shift, there is a growing demand for online payment gateways that allows small business to collect payments using mobile money or Visa cards. Most of the platforms will require a business account for small business to use their platforms.

Currently there are many friendly bank accounts offers from different banks, specifically designed to support small businesses in their early stages. Do your research and find a bank that offers the best for your business.

6 Choose your partners well.

As a small business, one of the easiest ways to reduce costs is by collaborating with other services providers. These could be delivery service providers like Boda-boda riders, packaging, or printing partners.

Having a strong relationship with such partners and service providers while ensuring that there are no breakdowns or delays in your main service delivery to your end-users or customers. Always maintain a good relationship with your key partners, and choose them wisely.

7. Consider an exit strategy/affordable loss

The best exit strategy in business is calculating your affordable loss and starting small. Affordable loss is the ability to determine how much investment you are willing to lose at an early stage of your business or as you test your idea.

This enables you to test your business on the smallest budget without risking losing your money, but at the same time maximizing resources to make a profit.

Your affordable losing could be doing the previous six steps right, and for example, ensuring that you get your first contract before or after your business registration. This helps you to invest only when there are actual results. Affordable loss can be your calculated risk.

8. Brand yourself and advertise

As things get into place and if the business seems to be working, its now time to get started with some serious branding of your businesses. If you do not have a logo yet, it should be a good time to talk to a good designer to craft something good for your business.

Plan for better marketing strategies and get yourself a business website to help your drive your identity 24/7. Check out our branding services for small business.

Conclusion

Developing any business can take time and can be exhausting for many. Understanding the dynamics of starting up is important for anyone starting a small or a business of any size.

You need to be patient when things don’t go according to plan, and you must be open to learning from setbacks as this is a good way to revise plans and ask yourself what did work well, and what you can do differently in the next attempts.

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