Getting contracts signed and invoices paid is the backbone of any small business. Having these items reviewed and returned in a timely fashion will either lead to your business’ evenly-growing success or its untimely failure.
Learning the schedule of your client’s accounts payable department can be a noble but unpredictable method of ensuring you receive payments in a timely manner. Luckily, your first line of defense begins before an invoice is even issued – with the art of note-taking.
At the outset of a project, an initial meeting will likely occur between project manager and client. The information discussed and outcomes agreed upon in this initial meeting will set the stage for your entire project. We can’t remember everything that was said in every meeting we attend throughout our busy days, so it’s important to perfect our note-taking skills. This is especially true when it comes to these crucial conversations that drive your bottom line.
It may seem like an overly simple idea that improving your note-taking could have such a great impact on your business, and a financial one at that, but it works. Here are a few ways excellent note-taking will help you get paid on your terms and some helpful advice on how to improve if your current skills are lacking.
1. Re-read your notes.
While many claim to be diligent note takers, there are few who can claim to ever return to their notes for review or follow up. At best, most of us only reference past notes for specific pieces of information, not to digest a meeting or interaction in its entirety.
To maximize your success with each interaction you have, return to your notes afterwards and fully digest them. You may see things you didn’t realize at the time or come up with a new idea that didn’t come to mind originally. This will also help you stay on task and keep your original priorities top of mind.
2. Send a recap. Then send it again.
Taking great notes allows you to provide a thorough recap of a meeting or interaction to your client/audience/etc. The clearer your notes, the more clear and concise you can be when describing your goals, milestones, and expectations.
Getting everyone on the same page at the outset of a project or, if necessary, re-aligning priorities in the middle of a campaign, is vital to achieving your goals. If we can safely assume one of your goals is successful completion of a project and receiving payment for your work, then using your note-taking skills to provide a summary of work and communication is essential.
3. Good notes = Great organization
Now that you’ve gone back after your meetings to re-read your notes and sent out a recap to your colleagues and clients, you’re starting to feel the trickle-down effect of your good note-taking abilities. Improving your organization skills through note-taking will help improve your organization across the board.
Increase your focus and you will close the loop on your client transactions and get paid on your own timeline.
This article was written and submitted by Meredith Wood, Director of Community Relations at Funding Gates. Funding Gates’ tools help organize and manage accounts receivables and make collections easier.
This article was first published on April 23, 2014. It was updated on