Growing your business can seem a bit like the chicken or the egg scenario: What comes first, the clients, or the investment in your business so you could get more clients. Well, according to some of our most successful bookkeepers, who have grown their franchises into large businesses, it’s up to you to steer the growth of your enterprise!
After numerous request for business growth tips, we compiled the 4 top tips we’ve received after interviewing some of First Class Accounts largest operations.
We can sometimes be our own worst enemy when it comes to big goals, thinking ‘I can’t do that’ or ‘I don’t know how’. However, you need to take away the negative self-talk and focus on what your big dreams are for your business, and then you can work backwards from that. It’s not out of the question to have 20 staff working for you, or turn over $1 million a year. It’s all achievable; you just have to dream it up in the first place! For First Class Accounts Bookkeeper of the Year Renae Pitargue, it was working with a business coach that got her thinking about the future and helped her figure out what she wanted from her business. Says Renae “I get accountability with a business coach, it’s about knowing what I need to do and someone keeping me accountable…he helped me get the ideas out of my head and into reality.”
2. Hire early
It’s often the case that small business owners feel like they need to have the work before they can hire the staff to do it. But this walks a very fine line. Having too much work and looking for staff at the same time can put too much pressure on your fledgling business. If you want to grow your business, know you can’t do it alone and plan your first hire early. As Maria Jowett-Horth of Busy Bookkeeping Eastern Suburbs explains “I started with office space, so clients had somewhere to come to, and employed my first staff member after about three months.” She was then free to focus on expanding her business, rather than working in the business. “People want to see success,” she told us “[hiring staff] allowed me to showcase the business and focus on bringing in new clients… I now have around 21 staff”.
3. Let people know about your plans to grow.
One of the best ways to grow your business is to utilise your current networks. Whether it’s being active in your local networking group or offering your clients referral incentives, word of mouth is a great way to let people know you’re growing and ready for more work. And one of the best sources of bookkeeping work can come from accountants. Finding an accountant with whom you work well doesn’t just make your job easier, it can also be the source of more clients. Leading software company Xero agrees. They recently held an education day in Melbourne for First Class Accounts, where they discussed ‘Bookkeepers and Accountants, a united team’. Their panel of experts focused on ways to improve relationships between accountants and bookkeepers and how the relationship is mutually beneficial, for not only smooth work processes but for client retention and expansion as well. Chat with your accountant network about your plans to expand and let them know you’re available to take on more clients. It can also help land you the type of clients and work you want, rather than random clients who may not be ideal for your business.
4. It’s not about you
Making yourself the centre of your business can not just be bad for your own productivity, but it can also be bad for business. If people associate you with your business, it can make it difficult to sell the company when the time comes. It also means you are stuck in the day to day running of the business, which makes it hard for you to take time off, hard for your staff to make urgent decisions and can lead to unhealthy work/life balance. Focus instead on great work, done by great people, where everyone can help out on tasks. As Maria Jowett-Horth explains “I made the conscious decision to step back from the daily running of my business. I let someone else handle the enquires, and made sure my clients felt safe with my staff…I set systems up so I could work remotely, and I took on a more advisory role so I could not only cut back on my workload but put the business first.” Enabling your staff to make decisions and manage their workflow, means you are free to ensure the future and security of your business – and maybe even take that holiday you’ve been dreaming off, knowing everything will run smoothly in your absence.
Starting your own bookkeeping business and being your own boss is a dream many people feel is out of their reach – but for our 200+ franchisees, it’s a reality. Maybe it’s time to create a new goal, and grow your business to enable a brighter, more prosperous and carefree future for you and your family