Blinksale will briefly be unavailable on Sunday, July 31, between 4:15am – 6:15am CST (10:15 – 12:15 UTC). During this time we are moving our hosting to Engine Yard.
Hello Blinksale users!
I just want to make a quick note of a few new things and improvements which we rolled out this weekend.
- [new] Choose the invoice or estimate template right from within the “Send” dialog. Previously, the only way to change the template you used to send an invoice would be to change it in Settings.
- [new] Preview the invoice or estimate before sending it. This allows you to take a look at how your client will see the invoice sent via email. You can see how various options will affect the delivered email.
- [improved] The state of the “Send as PDF” checkbox is now remembered when sending out an invoice/estimate.
- [new] Choose the invoice template to be used for recurring invoices.
- [new] Allow attaching PDFs to automatically delivered recurring invoices.
- [new] Specify payment options to be included on recurring invoices.
Hope you enjoy these. We love hearing your feature suggestions and they help us prioritize the things we have on our roadmap. So keep them coming!
Thanks! Until next time.
Starting today, May 1st, we are making a big change here at Blinksale.
The perennial “tiered” plans model—the one that offers Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum plans—is being put out to pasture. In its place, Blinksale is introducing a new model offering just one plan: Blinksale Unlimited.
This plan is just $15 a month and offers unlimited everything: invoices, estimates, users, clients, support and more. No limits!
This is huge, we know, and raises a lot of questions. Do I need to pay more now? Do I get the same features? Is there anything I need to do? But the biggest question is probably, “Why?” Because counting invoices holds us back. Both of us.
As you have probably noticed, Blinksale has enjoyed a resurgence of development activity; the app has been redesigned, estimates have been added, Blinkpay has been launched, and there have been dozens of performance and UI enhancements made all over the place (with even more great stuff on the horizon). We love this product, and want to spend every day making it rock your bottom line.
Increasingly, the practice of limiting invoices based on each account type has either hampered or added complication to the development of new features. Every time we think about adding something new to Blinksale, we have to run it through the questions: “So how does this work with invoice counting? How does this feature change with each plan?”
Not only does this suck for us, it sucks for you. There’s this barrier between now and the future, and it’s invoice counting. It’s time to remove that barrier.
What this means for current customers
An email has gone out to all current Blinksale customers with details pertaining to this change. In a nutshell, all customers who were paying more than $15.00 before the switch will automatically switch over to Blinksale Unlimited and enjoy a lower monthly subscription. For those paying less than $15.00, you’ve got until July 1st to ponder the change and jump aboard.
For those not interested in switching to the new plan, on July 1st your account will simply “hibernate”—meaning you will still be able to request access to your account and sign up for Blinksale Unlimited. [updated 4/7/2012] We will never delete or hinder you from getting to your data. Again, if you ever decide to continue with Blinksale Unlimited in the future, your account will be waiting for you.
What this means for new customers
Starting May 1, 2011, new customers will have no “What plan to I chose?” dilemma. There will only be Blinksale Unlimited. One all-inclusive plan for one low price gives customers everything Blinksale has, without limits. A set of features that used to cost $99 now costs only $15. Dang, that’s a good deal.
We’ve worked for months to architect a transition that is both fair and smooth for our current customers—and one that presents a great alternative for new ones. This is an exciting new chapter in Blinksale’s life, and we’re happy you’re here. We’re counting on you (and not counting invoices)!
Onward and upward!
Let me start by saying I hate accounting.
But I am excited to begin sharing with you about my budding love affair with the very thing. It began last week, with a book by Leita Hart called Accounting Demystified (especially the first 4-5 chapters).
As a creative type, my brain just isn’t drawn to financial stuff. When the talk of debits and credits gets too deep, I just gloss over and think about DSLR’s and should I get the new Macbook Pro or wait for the next one?
But Leita does a fantastic job of beautifying all the gory details of accounting and speaking in terms you and I can understand.
Here is my summary. But don’t take my word for it, read her book!
Accounting is just financial story telling (hopefully non-fiction stories!)
- Accounting is a big database of transactions. That database is called a general ledger.
- The data in this database can be presented in many ways and can tell many different STORIES about the business.
- This notion of the data telling stories about the business really triggered some ideas for me regarding how we grow Blinksale. Hint: It is not about reports, spreadsheets, credits and debits—it’s about stories! All the statements pull together to tell a story about the business and each story is unique.
- The primary 3 stories that come out of the database are summaries of the financial data from 3 different perspectives: the balance sheet (the super summary) and two “drill down” perspectives, the income statement (sometimes called a P&L or profit and loss statement), and the cash flow statement.
- When combined, these stories tell the business owner a few key things: how flexible or liquid is the organization, how profitable is the organization, is it growing (or have growth potential), and how is the business financed?
The balance sheet:
- The balance sheet is the “master story” that sits above the other stories.
- It could be considered “my business summary”. It tells the story of the assets of the business, the liabilities of the business, and the equity (or lack thereof) that the business has developed over time.
- The formula for this story is assets = liabilities + equity.
- The items on the left MUST add up to the items on the right because of this basic formula.
- Assets are always shown on the left and liabilities and equity are always shown on the right. For example, if you have $100,000 in cash (an asset), and you owe someone $50,000 (a liability), that means you have $50,000 in equity. It is that simple!
- The balance sheet tells three critical stories: 1) who owns the business, 2) how lean and mean the organization is running, and 3) how “liquid” the organization is (hint: liquid = good).
The income statement:
- The income statement or P&L tells the story of profit (or loss!). It’s focus is on revenues, expenses, and the profit or loss that is generated from them.
- Revenues minus expenses = profit. Hint, this is really important!
- Some costs are fixed, like rent. Some are variable like dining and entertainment or advertising.
- The income statement tells the story of profitability.
The cash flow statement:
- The cash flow statement is like your bank statement and is focused on cash—specifically how much you started with each month and how much you ended with.
- This is not the same as the income statement. In most businesses, the profit or loss for the month won’t be the same as the ending cash for the month. Don’t get this confused with the income statement.
- One key story the cash flow statement tells is HOW the company is generating cash. For example, Blinksale generates cash via subscriptions (good), and through the occasional outside investment (not as good). Each impacts cash. The one that is the most valuable to us, because it means we are healthy and doing our jobs well is the part of the cash flow that comes from NET INCOME (via subscriptions). The part we want to keep reduced (or eliminated) is cash inflows via investment, because that means we either owe someone money or are giving away stock in our business.
- THE key question the cash flow statement answers is this: “Is the net income (as seen on the income statement) ever realized in cash?” For example, if Blinksale had $100k in revenue, and $50k in expenses, we SHOULD see an increase in cash of $50k. If we don’t, it may not mean bad news, but could mean that there are other factors impacting cash that could use our attention.
How are the three reports (stories!) related? How do they tie together?
- Remember, the balance sheet is at the top.
- The income statement is the DETAIL of how earnings (profits or losses) were generated (remember: Revenue minus expenses = profit) Each month’s total profit or loss is added to what is called “RETAINED EARNINGS” on the balance sheet. So if you “drill down” on retained earnings, you would hit the income statement and see the detail of what happened.
- The cash flow statement shows you what happened to cash. It is the DETAIL of the item on the balance sheet called cash.
What does this all this mean for Blinksale and for you? Well, hopefully some of it will help you better understand some of the basics of the numbers that impact your business every day.
And after reading the book, and lying awake excited about all this financial storytelling stuff, I decided to ping the book’s author, Leita Hall and ask if we could meet to do some product brainstorming. Thankfully she obliged, and so late last week, in the midst of all the SXSW partying, we sat in a conference room in an Austin hotel and talked about financial storytelling for an afternoon.
Needless to say, we’re pretty excited about the idea of having some form of financial storytelling built into future versions Blinksale.
Have any thoughts on the matter? Let’s hear em!