You’ve gotten some education, and you’ve decided you want to work in the accounting industry. There are many options available to you, and one of the most popular is starting up a bookkeeping practice. You can do this right out of school, or you can gain experience before opening up your own business. Regardless of when it happens, if you plan to open a bookkeeping practice, then you want to do everything right to grow and succeed.
How successful your business is will certainly depend on how good you are at doing the job and how good anywhere you end up hiring is as well. However, having the right skills to provide the service isn’t the only thing determining your success. You also have to go through certain steps that will not only help you launch successfully but also guide you towards growth. With that in mind, here are five steps to take to run a successful bookkeeping practice.
Have a Plan
Every business needs a plan, whether a small bookkeeping firm or a large multinational enterprise. You might be able to launch, but you won’t be able to find success without it. A business plan will outline everything you will do to grow your business. It must include your goals, your marketing plan, and how you will run your day-to-day operation. A good business plan will serve as a guidepost on your way and help you grow responsibly without overextending yourself.
With a plan, you can identify when you are not meeting certain targets and adjust on the fly to get back on track. On top of this, if you are going to be looking for investors, business loans, or government funding, you will need a solid business plan that shows how your company is viable.
Determine Your Market
When you first start out with a business, you need to define who your target market is. If you don’t have one, then you might find yourself stuck in limbo and unable to focus your efforts in any one place. This can cause you to be aimlessly adrift with no clear path forward. For new businesses, it’s often good to start narrowly, then expand as you become more successful.
For instance, a bookkeeping company may want to start working with individuals. After a time of perfecting your marketing aimed at that market, and your services for those clients, you can then branch out to other things. Successfully mastering one step will make it easier to transition to the next. Your marketing and your services can start out very focused, and then you can get bigger and hire help as time goes on.
Get the Right Software
Running any kind of business is not easy. There are a lot of responsibilities. You have to manage your clients and your staff and keep everyone on the same page. You will want to delegate tasks, communicate with everyone, and get information in real time. To do this right, you will need an accounting project management software that will meet your needs.
This type of software solution will allow you to track everything related to your clients and your business. You can get a bird’s eye view of your firm so that you know what is going on with each client at all times. In addition, it will store data and help with collaboration amongst your team. Finally, you can have functionality that will automate invoicing and receiving payments so that your team can spend their time helping clients and growing your business.
Build a Good Team
To start with, you might decide that you want to do as much as you can on your own. You can outsource many tasks that you might have, and you can keep your costs low. However, if you want to grow your business, hiring some help may be necessary. Remember, your employees are a reflection of your business. You don’t just want people who are great at the job you hired them for. You also want people who will be courteous and helpful to clients and prospects and who will provide a positive image for your brand.
Marketing is massively important. You need to get the word out because your friends and family will not be able to provide you with enough of a market to be successful. As a startup, you may not have a lot to invest in marketing. Luckily, it’s never been more affordable to reach many people. You can also target your marketing to people who are already predisposed to purchasing your service. Social media marketing is a perfect option for achieving this.
Bookkeeping can be a local service, or you can offer it virtually. Either way, search engine optimization is a powerful tool you can use to bring in clients. This means optimizing your website so it will appear on the first page of search engine rankings for certain search terms. This will bring in customers who have already searched for a term related to your business and theoretically would be more likely to take advantage of your product. Make sure that you have started optimizing well before your launch so that you are ready to hit the ground running when the time comes.
After that, it’s a matter of operating your business daily. That means bringing in new customers and providing excellent service to the ones you already have. It’s important that you provide great customer service and treat all of your clients and prospects respectfully. There is a lot of competition out there, and any negative feelings will get someone to switch problems very fast. With this attitude and with everything listed above, you should be able to find success with your bookkeeping business.