Warning, this post is going to possibly “ruffle a few feathers” but I have to write this blog and hope that I can help shift some mindsets and get you guys thinking about your journey. I have been reading and listening in the Facebook groups, and online forums and the same issues come up over and over again with bookkeepers specifically. To be honest it is not just our industry it is all business owners but I have a passion to help Bookkeepers so I’m going to have a little moan today about us. First let me point out that social media groups such as Facebook are amazingly supportive and provide tons of free help, such as business challenges, advice and opportunities. I love interacting and responding, giving my feedback and advice however my frustration is reading the same posts over and over again and the same advice being given over and over yet there doesn’t seem to be any action. I want to understand what bookkeepers need and want in order to continue along my journey in helping you grow your businesses so I have few questions and please comment on this blog and lets all discuss what we want out of our businesses.
You have started your bookkeeping business so now what? What did you imagine your business would provide for you?
When you paid for all this bookkeeping training what were you planning to use it for?
Do you have a map of where your dream business is going to take you?
Do you know how you are going to get there?
Do you truly even want a BUSINESS? This is the real question! If the answer is YES then do you have a budget to grow your business into a successful and profitable one? You can’t do it for FREE!
This leads me to my frustration and time for the moan I promised in the beginning of this post. You will not grow a business (any business) unless you invest money and time into growing it. It will not grow on its own without you guiding it so be prepared for hard work, determination to succeed, the willingness to invest in your professional development and your business development.
What are you prepared to spend money on to grow your business?
What are you prepared to spend time on to grow your business?
If you can’t afford to build a business both financially and time wise then perhaps it isn’t a business you need, it may be what you want but, it is a actually a JOB you need! There is absolutely nothing wrong with a job in fact if you are just starting out and have no money to build a business that is the route I would advise you take. You will gain huge amounts of experience which will only benefit you when it is the right time for you to start your own business.
I understand why we choose to become self employed. There are many reasons from being made redundant, having small children, need flexibility to name a few. However if you don’t invest in your business you will not reach the financial goals required to be self employed you will feel stressed, overwhelmed and feel like you failed and that is not a great way to start or run a business. This will affect your motivation and confidence to grow and succeed. Reality – there is no free, quick solution to growing a business but it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune either.
I thought it may be useful for me to share a few tips on the things that I think you could be investing in to get you started.
Website – important, you need to have a website or at least a web page. Wordpress sites are popular and are free although you may need to pay for a website theme which start at about $49. You can consider outsourcing the design with fiverr.com you can get a website for a great price but have a look around at all the options or offers available by designer and pick one that appeals to you and get in touch and ask questions. You will need to purchase a domain name but they are only a few quid a year so not expensive. If clients can’t find you then you won’t get business. Websites are a must as far as I’m concerned. When writing the copy for your website make sure it is engaging, fun and not the typical boring corporate feel. It is important to create a brand for yourself so you stand out from other bookkeepers in your area.
Business Cards – invest in a good quality business card. Check out moo.com for some examples or meet some of your local printers to get some quotes. Often they will do start up packages so business cards, leaflets and little banner stands.
Facebook Page & LinkedIn Profile & Twitter– set yourself up a Facebook page to communicate your services, and LinkedIn is a great platform for bookkeepers. Tip – make sure you have a picture of yourself on all your social media. You can write blogs, post bookkeeping tips, communicate with your clients etc.
Networking – join a group. Go regularly to the meetings. Networking takes time. You need to build relationships with your fellow members as they will all act as your “sales team” so consider joining a membership networking organisation as they encourage commitment by the members to come every month rather than the free ones that people pop in and out of when they feel like it. You can’t build relationships if they are too casual. Stay active with your online networking with your face to face networking so connect up to people you meet networking on your social media channels.
These are business services to consider but then there is your professional development as well that you can’t ignore. You have finished all your studies to become a bookkeeper and I’m sure that was quite the investment however taking bookkeeping exams teaches you the fundamentals of bookkeeping. It doesn’t teach you how to run a business. With cloud technology and automation revolutionising our industry it is more important now that you learn how to survive in this tech driven world. So investing in your professional development ie business skills is more important than ever before. It doesn’t have to cost you a fortune but you need to invest in this in the same way you invested in getting qualified as a bookkeeper.
Here are some suggestions to get you started on gaining some business skills:
The Bookkeepers Alliance They offer a great service to bookkeepers in practice with lots of workshops, a conference coming up in a few months and membership benefits so become a member right now! I know Kris has an awesome service coming out real soon that will help you grow with support. If you want to develop a business then consider this offer seriously.
Look for local business support courses with HMRC or your local Chamber of Commerce. For example there is a company called Wenta in our area that offer lots of workshops on all kinds of business skills that are really affordable and great fun and a networking opportunity too!! Perhaps you have something like this in your area?
When you run a business you have to take risks, some will pay off and others won’t. They are all learning curves and a necessary exercise in order to experience success. You will make bad decisions along the way, we all do but this is what shapes you helps you gain more experience to build the business of your dreams.
So what are you going to? Are you going to grow a business or get a job for now? Nothing wrong with either choice whatsoever but be prepared for what it will take to succeed either way.
Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts I would love to help you!
MND Training Services – Xero Training and Mentoring & Coaching for Bookkeepers
Revolutionise Your Bookkeeping – Xero Training Course
BookieBook – The Ultimate Financial Planner