I don't have to tell the average small or midsize business (SMB) manager how difficult it is to actually get paid for services or products -- traditional invoicing cycles seem to stretch longer and longer with every quarter. Heck, they make actually take a whole quarter.
So, how can your company shrink that window, especially as more business moves online and, increasingly, to international markets?
One option I recently came across is BlueSnap, a service designed to make it simpler for businesses to add electronic payment options and subscription billing features into their invoicing mix.
You don't have to sell an actual product to use the service or even have an existing e-commerce site or catalog in the traditional sense. Instead, BlueSnap makes it simpler for SMBs to create forms with payment details, which they can send to customers in the form that's most appropriate for their payment policies.
One of the company's biggest selling pitches is that it can help accommodate overseas expansion for midsize companies, said Ralph Dangelmaier, CEO of BlueSnap.
"When the shopper is paying, it's all about local, local, local: local language, local currency and local payment type," Dangelmaier said. "You need the right card for the right market."
ViralGains, which sells video marketing services for brands, agencies, marketers and media buyers, is using the BlueSnap platform to kickstart its billing process, said Kate Willett, co-founder of the startup. Using BlueSnap, her company is able to create a form with payment options -- enabling credit-card payments or wire transfers. The service, which has been integrated with the company's account system, was a huge help in closing one of the company's first international deals, she said.
"Previously, there was no way for us to gell whether a transaction had been initiated," Willett said. "It sucked up a lot of time going back and forth. For a startup like us, time is really precious."
Now, using BlueSnap, Viral Gains has been able to automate the billing process, making it easier for the company to receive funds more quickly -- which in turn, lets its team get started on engagements. It took several hours for the platform to be integrated into its systems. In the future, Viral Gains plans to use BlueSnap as the payment system for a new self-service offering it is creating for SMBs that have basic video marketing needs, Willett said.
Aside from integration services that your company might need to get the service integrated with your existing back office, BlueSnap charges by the transaction. Its fees start at 3.5 percent plus $0.35 cents per transaction, depending on the services, according to the company's Web site.