Home Forums Get productive Making my business more intrernally professional?

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  • #997309
    Miss Bookkeeper
    Member
    • Total posts: 13

    I have been very successfully running my bookkeeping business for 4.5 years. It is a small business that I run from home as I have 2 small children.
    I have not been taking on new clients for about 12 months because my schedule is full and I had a baby in that time aswell.
    I mostly work at night, weekends or any other time my partner is not at work (which is as much as I would like!!).

    For my own sanity and my young family I need to get out of the office at night and on weekends so next year both kids will be going to day care 4 days a week and I will be committing 90% of my work to those days.

    I want to find a more professional internal approach/look and to develope it to a larger business in the coming years. But honestly I have been so invested in everyone else’s business for the last few years that I don’t give mine enough nurturing!

    Where do I start?
    What do I research?
    Should I be looking at getting a mentor in a similar business/industry?
    Should I hire a service to help with an overall more professional look?
    HELP??? I’m at a loss of what direction I should be going in??

    DISCLAIMER: I posted on here A few years ago, and never posted again, because all I got was people who on the forum were saying they would love to help and offer advice, and as soon as I called them they would be offering advise at a very high fee! I didn’t like that, they were using this forum to promote themselves and sell me their product. Please don’t do that to me again.
    I am looking for some advice and some direction!!!

    #1211319
    Paul – FS Concierge
    Moderator
    • Total posts: 3,130

    Hi [USER=56602]@Miss Bookkeeper[/USER] – you need at least a broad plan around who your ideal client is eg, local small srevice/retail.ecomm business with turnover of $xxxxxx, willing to pay $xx per hour and has a need for x hours pw week bookkeeping.

    Once you have that, you will need a marketing plan to reach those people eg, website and advertisements.

    And then you would need to close and on board.

    Businesses that provide all of the above specifically to Bookkeeping businesses are out there if you care to Google them.

    As are a lot of providers on here.

    You can also go the DIY route but is is very time consuming and if you don’t do it really well, it will cost you in lots of ways eg, lost revenue.

    Good luck!

    #1211320
    Miss Bookkeeper
    Member
    • Total posts: 13
    Paul – FS Concierge, post: 252325, member: 78928 wrote:
    Hi [USER=56602]@Miss Bookkeeper[/USER] – you need at least a broad plan around who your ideal client is eg, local small srevice/retail.ecomm business with turnover of $xxxxxx, willing to pay $xx per hour and has a need for x hours pw week bookkeeping.

    Once you have that, you will need a marketing plan to reach those people eg, website and advertisements.

    Good luck!

    Thanks for the reply Paul. Given the time of night I post this, I probably wasn’t clear enough.
    At this stage I do not and can not take on any more clients. I don’t have or want a website or to advertise just yet.

    I feel as though I could have a more professional approached with the clients I already have, and that’s what I need help with the most.

    In saying all of that, I eventually will advertise and take on new clients; so how do I say no to clients whom I don’t think will fit into my plan. I find it very hard to say no to very small business/sole traders who i know are not my target market and don’t have a lot to spend on my services. These people are usually referrals from m exisiting clients and I feel like I will be letting people down if I say no.

    So how do I decline work that I am not interested in?

    #1211321
    m4engineers
    Member
    • Total posts: 121

    [USER=56602]@Miss Bookkeeper[/USER] you really do have a good problem, and I congratulate you. IMHO, two reasons you are inundate with so many referral is either you are doing good jobs by them or/and your price point is very affordable to your current clients. I don’t think you need to be “more professional internal approach/look”, just grow gradually and be true to self and your clients.

    To sustain growth into the future, look into putting systems and processes, such as manuals and procedures for everything conceivable within the business. You will need to be able to “burgerised” your business … with reference to McDonalds.

    Perhaps, you may consider increasing your price points to attract your target market.

    P/s – You don’t really need a website nor advertise if you have build a solid referral system into your business. Just my 2 cents anyway.

    #1211322
    Paul – FS Concierge
    Moderator
    • Total posts: 3,130

    I find it best to be upfront.

    Thank the business for being interested in your service but let them know you do not have the resources to meet their need.

    It is also helpful to know of other services that can help because it feels good to help and it can be beneficial to develop relationships with competitors.

    It sounds like you might need a business process expert. They can help prepare templates and business automation as well as handbooks etc.

    We have several on Flying Solo when you are ready.

    #1211323
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,481
    Miss Bookkeeper, post: 252333, member: 56602 wrote:
    I feel as though I could have a more professional approached with the clients I already have, and that’s what I need help with the most.
    ?

    What do you mean by you want a more professional approach with your current clients, what do you think you are doing that is not professional, maybe your clients actually like your current approach, and a ”more professional” one (whatever that is), is not required. Or maybe you are already running a very professional approach but just don’t realise it.

    Miss Bookkeeper, post: 252333, member: 56602 wrote:
    so how do I say no to clients whom I don’t think will fit into my plan. I find it very hard to say no to very small business/sole traders who i know are not my target market and don’t have a lot to spend on my services. These people are usually referrals from m exisiting clients and I feel like I will be letting people down if I say no.
    ?

    I no longer say no to a potential new client ,

    If they are a referral and you don’t want to the job for a valid reason, price it high, so if the newbie says no, you are not upsetting your existing client.

    Even if I have a full schedule if the job is a good one, and I price it high and they take it, I always have a list of current clients who I am prepared to drop off if a better prospect comes up.

    #1211324
    Dave – FS Concierge
    Moderator
    • Total posts: 2,533

    I like Bert’s way of thinking on this one.

    And if you don’t like leaving those v small businesses out in the cold, you could prepare a short guide to pass on in these cases. It could outline when is the right and wrong time to hire a bookkeeper, what costs to expect, your tips to help them DIY in the meantime, and basically gives them your best advice for the stage they are at.

    That way you preserve the relationship and have also made the referral a good experience for all parties.

    Then when they are ready and can afford it, they will be coming right back to you.

    Best of luck!
    Dave

    #1211325
    Brad Horan
    Member
    • Total posts: 21

    It is difficult to understand exactly what you are looking for in relation to being more professional.

    If you are looking to grow in future you will need clients and a way to service those clients.

    It sounds like you have a good referral system and plant of client opportunities. So perhaps to focus on the servicing.

    1) systems could be one way to be more professional have very defines systems and methodologies to service clients including SLA and contact protocols.
    2) image/office – if you want to attract staff you may want to make sure you business looks stable and professional from the outside. Employee handbook, onboarding, client onboarding checklist etc.

    Having processes and systems in place will usually help clients and staff view you as a stable professional firm.

    I hope this was near target in relation to what you are asking.

    #1211326
    MattDell
    Member
    • Total posts: 52

    I think what you are asking is – How do I take a more systematic and professional approach to the work I am already doing?
    Is that right?
    In that case documented systems are the way to go
    Documented so you can remember how it’s done and improve it over time
    But most importantly so you can share it with others like an employee, VA or casual helper (partner)
    Outsourcing to a VA is very doable in the book-keeping world I believe
    If you are working at night your timelines would probably match up with some OS VA’s too
    The book The Checklist Manifesto is a good and there are countless blog posts and so on on the subject.
    There are def articles here on FS about checklists and systems
    Maybe you can even automate so stuff via software?

    You may be able to improve speed and efficiency and thus be able to cope with more work – and stop knocking those clients back
    And if not the documented systems are there for later when the kids go to school or the business grows beyond your own 2 hands
    Hope that helps

    #1211327
    Ross Forrester
    Member
    • Total posts: 155

    The journey to becoming more professional will really only come from you.

    I have a business coach that I meet for two hours a month. And I pay them.

    The coach asks me what I am doing, what I want to be doing and how I am going about it.

    I have some accountability and a person to push me along if I get distracted.

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