Dealing with the Growing Pains of Your Bookkeeping Business
You’ve launched your business and have overcome the initial obstacles of becoming an entrepreneur. Now your business is growing and you’re up against an entirely new set of obstacles. Some call it growing pains, some call it an opportunity; an opportunity to start truly making your business work for you.
A common and unfortunate perception is that you, the bookkeeper, will have a major presence during the onboarding process, but disappear once the client’s books are fully understood. Maybe you'll receive a few accounting questions during the month, you process a couple payrolls, and you reconcile their bank accounts. In many scenarios, that is the job. But if your client perceives you as a commodity, it’s safe to say they will start comparing the things you do to your price. Worse yet, it makes them ask themselves whether or not they even need you (especially if you’re the type of bookkeeper that educates your client about “accounting 101” topics).
Maintain your perceived (and real) value by reducing the friction required to do business.
A study from The Harvard Business Journal suggests that “delighting” your customers, with something like discount, will definitely have pleasant impact but will do little to nothing in regards to their patronage. “Two critical findings emerged that should affect every company’s customer service strategy. First, delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty; reducing their effort—the work they must do to get their problem solved—does. Second, acting deliberately on this insight can help improve customer service, reduce customer service costs, and decrease customer churn.” The study further indicated that “loyalty has a lot more to do with how well companies deliver on their basic, even plain-vanilla promises than on how dazzling the service experience might be.”
So how do you make it easier to do business with you? A mentor of mine has always told me to focus my efforts on how I might be of service and to forget the end result. To always ask myself whether or not my efforts, work, and interactions were of value. Taking the frame of mind to be of service and applying that to your business is an excellent start to help you diligently grow your business and maintain customer satisfaction.
But how can you deliver the same services that you currently do without having to offer more to keep your client’s happy? How do you insure that you consistently deliver on your promises and make it easier for your customer to benefit from those promises? My answer to you is to evolve the way you run shop.
3 Ways to reduce the frictions of doing business.
There are three things you can do right away to help increase the value of the work you are doing and keep up with your growing bookkeeping business:
- Educate your customers about how to work with you, what services you provide, and itemize those services. If you do this (rinse and repeat) you don’t have to deal with a lot of unrealistic expectations and at the very least you’ll have a point of reference should you ever have to address unrealistic expectations.
- Automate your workflow with each client, don’t delegate the work back to them (that’s not making it easier on them).
- Another method is to open the lines of communication with your client so that you are both working in a collaborative environment with one another and not from a perspective of a service provider to a client.
To learn more about these three methods, download our eGuide to help you keep up with a growing client base.