NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When it comes to social media, having a strong presence in the social networking world of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (LNKD) is a must-have for small businesses promoting themselves to the outside world.Small businesses should also connect via social networking with customers and suppliers. Tradeshift labels itself as a global social business network that focuses on building business relationships and improving transactions through e-invoicing.
What are some common invoicing mistakes made by businesses? Lanng: Companies large and small can encounter invoicing problems because their processes leave room for human error. From lost or slow paper invoices in the mail to forgetting to invoice altogether, businesses will see delayed payment when these issues occur. A common mistake is to accidentally re-use an invoice number, which is more problematic than it may sound. Without a system to prevent duplicates, businesses risk wasting time and money trying to undo the confusion this can create. How are you able to offer this for free? Surely businesses pay for some part of the service? Lanng: Tradeshift will always remain free for core services like invoicing because we want to make e-invoicing available for all businesses. We have a range of value-added applications for small business and enterprise that we are charging for now and in the future. Non-Tradeshift users can send electronic invoices to Tradeshift users. Our goal is open interoperable standards for exchange of business documents everywhere. How does the transition work? Lanng: Small businesses sign up for the service, create a profile, add their contacts to grow their network and start exchanging invoicing and documents. If they aren't on Tradeshift, they can send PDF invoices from Tradeshift. For large businesses, we help with onboarding their suppliers via a campaign management tool. Why is social networking the future of invoicing? Lanng: Every business big or small needs to receive and send payments. Businesses are tied together by this important transaction, and thus have more reason to stay in the network. By grouping businesses of all sizes in one location, Tradeshift is making it possible for people to add and invite business partners to join their network just as easily as they do on other social networks. We believe business is by definition social -- you meet, you interact and you trade. -- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. To follow Laurie Kulikowski on Twitter, go to: http://twitter.com/#!/LKulikowski To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.