You have set up your bookkeeping business, your client growth has been steady, and you know that you deliver value for the investment they make in you.
But while your business is self-sustaining, it is not growing at the pace you want it to, and your profits are not increasing at the rate you hoped.
What can you do to re-enforce your value to your small business client? How can you send them messages that re-enforce your importance to them and keep yourself top of mind? How can you get them to purchase more services from you and increase your profit margin?
Here are five simple ways to add value to what you offer your clients and hike up your profits at the same time.
Create industry niches and milk them
One of the biggest barriers keeping more small business owners from hiring outside bookkeeping services is that they don’t want to go through what they perceive as a lengthy process of teaching a new person all about their business.
Every industry has its jargon, its unique practices and its one-of-a-kind challenges.
When you focus on one industry niche and learn about that segment, you become more valuable to the small business owners in that sector, your word of mouth referrals spike and you tap into a fresh new market. You can even advertise your expertise in this industry and target businesses in that marketplace.
For example, let’s say that you have a small taxi company as a client. To help them, you have had to devise systems to ensure that their drivers collect the financial data and present the necessary reports to keep things straight. You are aware of issues with licensing and special insurance and issues with municipal authorities in your geographic region.
When the owner drops by to speak with you, you are knowledgeable about what he or she is facing.
Develop a good system and then go to another taxi firm in a neighbouring town and ask for their business on the basis that you are experienced in how to help them.
You may handle firms in the construction business, or have a cluster of physical therapy clinics or even pottery cafes. Learn the terms and the jargon that goes with each business; keep your eye open to trends in their industry. Be a sponge absorbing everything you can about what is happening in their business locally and nationally and even internationally.
As you gain insider knowledge about any business sector, you increase your value. People want to work with other people they believe understand the nature of their business and this can obviously lead to increased profits for you!
Pick a niche, study it and try to secure at least once client from it. Learn still more and then do a targeted campaign to secure more business from that industry sector.
Be creative about how you can get your message out. Perhaps you can do a blog on your website about that industry sector and let it be known in passing that you have a more than just a surface familiarity with it.
Clients looking for that level of understanding will be reassured to get in touch with you.
Specialize in services all small businesses need
Wherever you work in the world, there are items of business unique to that area.
People in Florida don’t pay hundreds of dollars a year to have their driveways plowed, but people in colder climates often get by without air conditioning in their homes.
In bookkeeping, there are also specialized needs for businesses in certain areas and countries. If you can determine what these are, and offer to provide them to your clients, you can also increase the amount that you can sell them.
For example, if your bookkeeping business is located in Canada, you could become proficient in preparing quarterly filings for the Goods and Services Tax. (It is very similar to VAT in other countries around the world.
For readers unfamiliar with it, it is a multi-level value added tax charged on goods and services purchased in Canada. Businesses that purchase goods and services that are used, consumed or supplied in the course of their commercial activities can claim input tax credits as long as they submit proper documentation.
They also charge their clients GST and must remit the difference to the Canada Revenue Agency on a pre-scheduled basis.
For many small business owners, it is a necessary evil that takes up valuable time they could be devoting to growing their business.
If you, as their bookkeeper, said you could take on that task for a reasonable additional fee, it would likely become one of the easiest sales you could secure.
This is only one small example Put your thinking cap on and brainstorm specialized services you could provide in your market.
What other services could you provide?
You are likely already doing accounts payable and receivable and billing.
If you are not doing payroll, see if you can take on that task as well.
If you don’t supply regular financial statements to your clients, or consulting services, offer a premium package that includes them on a regular basis.
For example: package one includes no advisory or consulting services – package two includes it on a quarterly basis and your third, and premium package, includes consulting on a monthly basis.
Remember that once your clients get comfortable with you, the more that you can do for them, the more valuable you become to them.
Specialize in add-on services
There are many bookkeepers who generate considerable added revenue by adding such services as training packages to help employees in a growing company keep their expenses and receipts well organized.
Whether you teach them to use an app and demonstrate how to use it effectively, or you devise your own custom solution, thinking of add-on services will bolster your bottom line.
Use your additional skills
By the profession that you chose, we can assume that you have an affinity for numbers, but do you have additional training and talents that could be put to use to add value to your client.
For example, one bookkeeper we know offered to do the corporate monthly newsletter and it was so well done, the delighted owner now has her ghostwriting his speeches and special industry reports.
She was then asked to give a presentation at the corporation’s annual meeting on key analytics about the company as compared to the industry in general.
If you can add on a related product that doesn’t take too much of your time and falls within your skill package, you can delight your clients and bring in more revenue. And have more fun at the same time!
Create implementation guides for corporate training
Another product related to bookkeeping services is the creation of implementation guides.
If you are already handling filing sales tax and yearly corporate taxes, you could custom-design a tax preparation checklist for the company’s administrators, for example, that would help them stay on track and aware of tax issues throughout the entire year.
If you were to offer that as a holiday expression of gratitude for their business, it won’t pay off immediately, but that type of thinking will definitely pay off over time.
Everyone loves to get something free and your clients are no exception. Such a thoughtful gesture that reflects your in-depth knowledge and appreciation of their company will score major points down the road.
Remember, the key is to find ways to differentiate yourself. That is a sure way of illustrating your added value to your small business clients.
This blog is for you and we hope you will enjoy the content.
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