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Happy new year!

We hope you all had a wonderful time over the holiday period and for those new to Mr Site…welcome to our monthly newsletter. As ever, we’re going to provide you with some useful tips to help your website and business along – and considering it’s a brand new year what better time to start thinking about getting your finances into order! We’ve got expert advice about accounting from our friends at KashFlow, along with all the normal Mr Site news and updates.

Mr Site updates

Watch out in the coming weeks for some new great Mr Site system updates…including:

  • Horizontal menu customisation – now you’ll be able to customise your font size, colour and backgrounds on the horizontal menu

  • New shipping options for Takeaway Website Pro – users will now be able to set postage amounts based on how much is spent per transaction

  • ‘Mini cart’ widget – Pro users will be able to install a brand new widget that allows visitors to see what is in their shopping cart
  • Latest blog posts widget – this widget is very much like our Twitter widget…let your visitors see your latest blog post

  • Google search and Pro shopping pages search – new options for all Mr Site users to allow visitors to Google search your website. Pro users will also get this advanced feature on their shopping pages

  • PayPal 3D Secure – Pro users can now set up PayPal 3D Secure so customers have banking verification when they have purchase from your website

Your thoughts and opinions are vital to us – please keep them coming in. Tell us what you’d like to see added to Mr Site at our community forum.

Expert of the month

January Expert
Duane Jackson

This month we’ve asked our good friends friends at KashFlow for some helpful hints and tips on how to keep your cash flowing in during 2010. Our expert is founder, Duane Jackson, who is responsible for developing KashFlow – accounting software that has been built with small businesses in mind. Duane says:

“We know that you want to spend your time on what you do, not struggling with complicated software trying to understand how it works.

That’s why our online accounting software gives you everything you need; from invoicing to cashflow management to VAT reports and everything else you need at your fingertips to keep your business running smoothly and you focused on doing what you do best - running your business.

One of the many things I love about KashFlow, as a business, is that the billing side of things is totally automated – meaning we don’t have to chase customers for payment. I’ve been involved with businesses like that before and know it can be really exhausting, so here are some tips to help you get paid on time by your customers.”

Issue invoices promptly
Make sure that you invoice your customers as soon as possible; the sooner you send your invoice, the sooner you receive your money. Delaying all of your invoicing until the end of the week or the end of the month only delays the money getting into your bank account.

Confirm receipt of invoices
A couple of days after you send an invoice, give your customer a friendly phone call to ensure that the invoice was received and that they are aware of the due date.

There’s nothing worse than chasing a late payment only to be told (truthfully or otherwise) that the invoice was never received.

Monitor late payments
Make sure you are aware of all unpaid invoices and know as soon as they become overdue. If you only check for invoices that are overdue once a month then you’re causing a delay yourself.

The KashFlow software helps here as it will notify you when an invoice becomes overdue.

Deal firmly, fairly and quickly with late payers
Don’t be embarrassed to ask for payment. Be assertive about collecting what’s owed to you – after all, it is your money.

The first thing you should do when an invoice becomes overdue is to contact the customer. It’s not a nice call to have to make, but don’t delay it. Sometimes it’s easier to have someone else in your company (your other half perhaps if you’re a one-man band) make the call. You then don’t have your working relationship getting in the way.

The customer may say they simply can’t pay at the moment as they don’t have the cash. You now need to make a judgment call. If you give them enough time to try to pay you then you may well get paid and keep them as a loyal customer due to being so understanding. On the other hand, they may well go out of business and you’ll not see a penny of what you’re owed.

There’s no right or wrong approach. It depends on a number of factors including how important the customer is to your business and their previous payment record. A compromise can be to agree to take a part payment immediately and give them time to settle the balance. If you do this then make sure you agree a date for the balance to be settled and that you chase them for payment on the agreed date.

Reminder letters
Sometimes you won’t be able to contact the customer by phone and will need to email or write to them.

KashFlow can generate reminder letters automatically for you. The first is a friendly letter to your customer; the second is a more formal reminder; the third is a Final Notice of Demand.

Be ready to take payment
You may well get the customer to agree to pay you all or some of what is owed. If they offer to pay by cheque, be aware that this could be a stalling tactic. You could end up back at square one if the cheque doesn’t arrive.

If you are set up to take credit card payments, then try to take a card payment over the phone. If you can’t take card payments, then look into it as an option. A number of card processing companies integrate with KashFlow so that you can take a payment from within your accounting software.

Be consistent
If you follow steps 1 and 2 above, then you will less often need to follow the other steps. Remember the old saying that prevention is better than cure? It’s better to consistently follow steps 1 and 2 and ensure you’re paid promptly than it is to have to spend time chasing late payers.

Play fair
Customers paying late are a real pain…so don’t forget that you are a customer too. If you expect your customers to pay you promptly, then make sure you pay your suppliers promptly.

Partnership news

Mr Site is excited to announce its latest partner as PRIME – a charity that helps people who are aged over 50 to start their own businesses. Today almost 3.5 million over 50s have no work. At least 800,000 of this three million want to work.

The charity was founded by Prince Charles in response to large numbers of letters from older people who were unemployed and finding it difficult if not impossible to find a job. They work to ensure that clients can get the information and training necessary to start a successful business.

To find out more go to the PRIME website www.PrimeBusinessClub.co.uk where you can read stories of other older entrepreneurs; plus you’ll find useful information, contacts and can request a FREE business start-up pack. PRIME members will also get an exclusive discount on the Takeaway Website range.

Website of the Month

Jonathon Chadwick

Congratulations to Jonathon Chadwick from www.gorgeousplanetstore.co.uk for submitting his website on the Mr Site forum and winning our Website of the Month for January 2010!

This website looks great that fits perfectly with its brand values…not to mention a great story behind it – Jonathon tells us more:

“We launched our online shop gorgeousplanetstore.co.uk in November to sell gorgeous gifts for mummy, baby and little ones. Our gifts are ethically sourced, fairly traded and organic – hence our company name 'Gorgeous Goodies'. But our goodness does not stop there….we are also in partnership with The Meningitis Trust and donate to them from the sale of items priced at £15 or more.

In keeping with our name we’ve made our website look gorgeous too, by using soft colours, beautiful images and not forgetting our lovely little models. The Mr Site product played a vital role in helping us achieve this and we have created a fantastic fully functioning store, whilst managing to keep within our all important start up costs.”

If you'd like to be the next Website of Month, all you need to do is submit yourself on Mr Site's official forum – click here to find out more information and join the community.

Whats in this issue?

Dot Com in a Matchbox

Due to the popularity of Mr Site’s Dot Com in a Matchbox over the Christmas period, we have decided to extend its availability into 2010! Maybe you’re thinking of unique presents for your loved ones this year…OR you might even just want another domain name for your current website.

Whatever it’s for, it’s quick and simple to reserve a www.name of your choice with Mr Site's 'Dot Com in a Matchbox'. AND it’s only £9.99…what a bargain! Click here to find out more.

Network with Mr Site

Just a very quick reminder to join the Mr Site Facebook club by clicking here and follow us on Twitter – we’re Mr _Site…we’d love to hear your thoughts and see your support!

Mr Site Business Tours - India

Watch out for Mr Site’s Indian business team coming to a city near to you to discuss solutions for your personal, business, corporate and academic websites! Come and talk to our team in the following locations to find out more information on how Mr Site can help to grow your business:

Mumbai – 20th Jan to 27th Jan
Gujarat – 19th Jan to 9th Feb

Plus we’ll be going to Vadodra, Surat, Rajkot, Ahmedabaad and Mehtana – for exact dates and to arrange a meeting, email us on sales@mrsite.co.in

If you would like the team to come to your city, simply contact us on pro@mrsite.co.in and we’ll make sure to plan a tour in the coming months.

Get Takeaway Website Pro for just £49.99…

If you’re a HSBC business banking customer you can get Takeaway Website Pro for just £49.99 – that’s an exclusive 50% discount! Click here to find out more details about how you get your half price copy.

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