Your Bookkeeping Business 2012

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Have you made some “resolutions” for your business? I’m hearing from many fellow bookkeepers who are determined to grow their business in 2012. How about you?

What does that really mean in practical terms though?

The economy is still a bit choppy, and times are changing. But our prospects are VERY bright, especially for those who are moving more toward working with clients on a virtual basis. That is, working from your own office and communicating primarily through the Internet and telephone.

Here’s why.

In a recent, informal survey conducted by FreshBooks (an up-and-coming simple, online bookkeeping software program for service-based businesses) small businesses are turning to technology to boost productivity and flexibility. With that, there will also be a shortage of technical help. And finally, relationships (including those through social media) will be more important than ever for small business success.

Why are these three points significant?

First, it means more and more small businesses are getting comfortable using the Internet to run their daily operations. They need the efficiency of online technology to trim costs and maximize value. This including handling their financial recordkeeping.

That’s great news for us!

If you have been working with your clients by going to their location, you know how time consuming that is and inefficient. You cannot charge full price for your travel time (if you charge for it at all). There are usually interruptions and distractions while working in your client’s office, and you are not available to your other clients, or worse yet, not free to answer calls adequately for potential new clients who want to contact you.

If you’ve already been working with some clients on a virtual basis, the trend toward more online technology and efficiency, as well as mobile team mindset, is fantastic. This is what many of us have been promoting for years. Until now, clients have often been resistant to using online technology to handle their financial records. But that is changing rapidly. Because of the convenience, speed and cost savings, many more potential clients are open to working on a virtual basis to get their bookkeeping handled.

It’s important to note, however, that as the way we work with our clients changes, nurturing relationships are more important than ever for both getting new clients and for holding onto your existing clients. Open and frequent communication is a must to succeed this year! Therefore, building trust and maintaining a strong, positive connection with each of your clients is going to be super important for your business success.

When working virtually, this may take some extra, proactive effort on your part. But in my own experience, creating opportunities to occasionally meet in person with your clients, whether they are local or cross country, goes a long way toward building rock-solid client loyalty.

SIDE NOTE: If many of your clients are long distance, you should have a recent photo of yourself prominently available on your website. Your clients will look at your picture often when they are not able to meet with you face to face.

But there was one other finding in the FreshBooks survey that reveals a HUGE opportunity for us. If you really want to set yourself apart from the vast majority of other freelance bookkeepers. This is REALLY important to success in a tough economy.

Small businesses are in a pinch because they may have discounted their prices to attract new customers. They will find it difficult to raise their prices, even as the economy improves. That’s because people have come to expect lower prices than before the economy went South.

How is this an opportunity for freelance bookkeepers?

As I’ve often mentioned when talking about marketing your services, you need to know where your clients and potential clients are feeling “pain.” That’s because we all gladly spend money on solutions that relieve pain because that equates to high value for us.

So the question is, if small business owners are feeling pain from tight cash flow, do you have solutions that you can share with them to help relieve that pain? Can you explain to a prospective client how to use his financial reports to identify where he can improve cash flow? If you can, you will definitely get his attention and easily justify the cost of your bookkeeping services.

As an example, showing them how to use their financial reports to identify expenses that can be trimmed, as well as what’s working best on the sales side can have a huge impact on their cash flow very quickly. You just need to spend a few minutes helping your clients understand what their financial reports mean in practical terms. And of course, to have financial reports that provide this kind of information, they need to keep their bookkeeping up to date and accurate!

Do you think your clients will value your services if you show them the information they need to run their business more efficiently and increase cash flow?

You will be worth your weight in gold because rarely do bookkeepers or accountants take the time to REALLY help clients in this way. (And the clients who don’t see the value in this kind of service won’t be “qualified” clients for you – so this works as a filter for finding and keeping high quality clients too!)

This year, 2012, is ripe for showing clients how you can help their business succeed – and you will likely find that your business will grow and prosper like never before as a result!

So do we have reason to be excited about what 2012 has to offer us?

You bet! Not only is the trend toward virtual services accelerating, but you are in the perfect position to provide your current and potential clients exactly what they want and need most.

If you’ve been looking for ways to take your freelance bookkeeping business online, work virtually, and set yourself apart from the competition, you’ll want to check into the audio book, “Virtual Bookkeeping Secrets: 7 Steps to Taking Your Bookkeeping Service Business Online

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Have you started working with your clients on a virtual basis yet?

Please comment and share your thoughts and experiences below.

Freelance bookkeeper, trainer and consultant who works with internet savvy business owners and bookkeeping professionals to maximize cash flow and build true win-win relationships.

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3 Responses to “Your Bookkeeping Business 2012”

  • Quibids reviews on January 19, 2012

    I enjoyed your website – great work!

  • Pam on February 5, 2012

    I find the virtual service offerings are a great thing for clients who don’t have the space for an inhouse bookkeeper 🙂

    • Gabrielle on February 13, 2012

      yes, I agree! The true value of working virtually is building a win – win relationship.

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