We talked to Jared King of Invoiced about the simple web page where you could fill out a form to generate an invoice PDF, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Jared King: We’re all doing fine. It’s hard to be cooped up, especially with small children, but we’re fortunate to have pretty much everything we need – so it’s also hard not to be grateful.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Invoiced.
Jared King: During and after college, I was an independent consultant helping several businesses with various technology initiatives. One of the clear patterns I saw was that many businesses needed some form of software for billing.
With that in mind, I started Invoiced as a simple web page where you could fill out a form to generate an invoice PDF. As more and more people started to use this very simple feature, I collected feedback on what other types of features they were most interested in. So that became the genesis of Invoiced, and over the last 7+ years, we’ve built out what was a fairly basic product to one of the most powerful accounts receivable automation platforms available. And we’re now processing more than $2 billion in receivables on behalf of our thousands of clients – each month.
How does Invoiced innovate?
Jared King: We listen very carefully to our customers and to the market we’re trying to serve. We look for patterns in any friction points we experience in sales or customer care and figure out how to mitigate those friction points. Sometimes there might be a collection of interrelated needs that we identify, and we end up broadening the system to cover a whole new area of functionality. An example of this is our cash application system: there were several needs that we probably could have addressed with a feature here or a feature there, but by taking a step back, we were able to come up with a holistic new area of capability that’s ended up being vastly more powerful and useful than what anyone was actually asking for. For Invoiced, innovation is not just about prioritizing feature requests; it’s about digging deeper so that we can make more strategic product investments that ultimately deliver more value to the greatest possible number of customers.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Jared King: The pandemic has definitely increased the demand for cloud-based accounting solutions. Our software, which happens to deal with getting paid, has obviously been a particularly high priority for companies that send bills and wait to receive payment. The pandemic put a certain strain on the cash flow that made it both more difficult and more important to collect as soon as possible, so we’ve seen some intensified interest along those lines. While we’ve felt an increase in demand, we’ve also seen some changes in buying behavior that can make sales less predictable – but predictability seems to be something less than the top business theme of the pandemic.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Jared King: Because we’re bringing on new customers at a rapid pace, there’s never any shortage of new product wishlist items that every client brings to the table. But our product development capacity does have some practical limits, which act as a constraint on the possibility of fulfilling every conceivable request. We deal with this very natural supply-demand imbalance by focusing on the capabilities that have the potential to deliver the most value to the greatest number of clients. By judging product investment decisions through this lens, we improve the product experience and overall level of capability—in a way that increases the totality of happiness across our customer base.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Invoiced in the future?
Jared King: We try to take things one day at a time. We foster a very low-drama environment and tend not to let work get the best of work-life balance. While there will always be some fire to put out every so often, we’re generally very supportive of each other and have shown ourselves that we know how to solve many different problems that present themselves to businesses of our size and stage.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Jared King: Our primary competitors are pre-existing beliefs that accounts receivable is already automated because it is performed using some type of digital system. We’ve found that many people are using spreadsheets and antiquated functionality built into their accounting or ERP systems that, while they’re digitized, are actually quite far from being truly automated. So this is a conversation and a vector of education that we’re constantly pursuing.
As far as how long we might stay in the game, we don’t have any intention of not doing what we’re doing anytime soon. We see a market with needs that are still woefully unmet, and we are unrelenting in our mission to help them put accounts receivable on autopilot.
Your final thoughts?
Jared King: It’s important to recognize the difference between building a product and building a company. I encourage other product-oriented entrepreneurs just starting out or somewhere along the early stage growth journey to be mindful of the important differences between product development and company development. They are fairly separate things and involve very different activities and skillsets. Approaching the work with that in mind will yield the greatest chances of developing a product and a company that are both built to last.