The ball dropped on New Year’s Eve, and swaying along to Auld Lang Syne you raised your glass and made a toast to some well-intentioned resolutions. Perhaps to work less.. run more... get to bed earlier… actually use your gym membership... grow your own tomatoes...
But how about your business? Work may have been far from your thoughts as you popped another cork, but it’s now time to get back down to business and think about where you need to focus your efforts for 2017 so you can make it your most successful year yet.
To get you inspired, we’ve put together 10 resolutions that could help you boost productivity and profits in your accounting or bookkeeping practice this year:
1. I resolve to… define my niche
Do you have a particular industry, area or client that you like to focus on? Narrowing your focus can help you widen your income stream - here are six reasons why:
- It allows you have have a more strategic approach to marketing
- You’ll stand out online and among competitors who offer generic accounting services
- It opens you up to more networking opportunities
- Having a niche helps you justify premium pricing
- You’ll see an increase in word-of-mouth marketing and referrals by becoming the go-go person for a particular industry
- You can increase additional business opportunities as you move away from compliance work and become more involved in business management.
Want to learn how to discover your own niche? Check out this article: Bookkeepers & Accountants - Define Your Niche To Grow Your Business
2. I resolve to… network
While networking is great for finding new clients, that’s not necessarily what it’s all about. Networking is also important for creating and strengthening strategic alliances with other business owners who can be a source of referrals, as well as support.
Being a business owner can be a tough gig, and it’s something that not everyone understands if they haven’t been in a similar position. You can form mutually beneficial relationships that provide value not only to your business, but also to your own professional development. Networking becomes an opportunity to develop your own business skills by sharing ideas and asking others in your networks for feedback.
3. I resolve to… blog
I hear your objection: ‘I’m an accountant, not a writer’. Well 2017 is the year that you’re going to ditch the excuses!
Regularly updating the blog on your website will:
- Help with your search engine ranking through the use of keywords and increase the likelihood of inbound links
- Provide your clients with useful, shareable content
- Generate trust and confidence with new leads
- Set you up as an authority in your industry
Get to it.
4. I resolve to… diversify my income
Be open-minded about additional services that you can potentially offer your clients which are over and above the usual compliance services. For example, WorkflowMax offers accountants and bookkeepers the opportunity to be a WorkflowMax advisor. By ‘owning’ subscriptions, you can generate additional income for yourself while providing your clients with powerful business management tools.
Read more about revolutionising your business mode herel: From Bookkeeper to Cloud Consultant - How to Lead the Future of Bookkeeping.
5. I resolve to… offer added value in my business
Being an accountant now involves a lot more than just number crunching - your accountancy services can encompass IT support, risk assessment, personal finance, succession planning, forensic services and strategies for entrepreneurs. So how you can add value in your business is through becoming not just an accountant, but a trusted business advisor - identifying potential problems before they arise, finding ways to save your clients money on tax obligations, and helping them with financial planning for the future. These things make you a lot more valuable to your client than simply completing compliance services.
6. I resolve to… invest in professional development
Like any industry, if you want to stay relevant you need to keep up to date with the latest discussions, software, products, practices and people. Investing time into your personal and professional development is critical - that doesn’t just mean within your own industry. Perhaps it’s time you took a crash course in social media, a public speaking course or attend a blog writing retreat?
7. I resolve to… embrace the cloud
Folks, it’s time to practice what you preach. If you’re selling your clients on the benefits of cloud software such as Xero and WorkflowMax, then why aren’t you giving your own business the benefit of working in the cloud? Shifting your business to the cloud will boost productivity and significantly trim down your administration time - not to mention allow you to work from anywhere.
Consider these tools for different business processes:
- Dropbox for managing your document storage
- Receipt Bank for scanning your receipts straight to your accounting software
- Spotlight Reporting for business insights
- Mailchimp for managing your email and newsletter campaigns
8. I resolve to… nurture profitable clients
Instead of trying to find more clients, spend time looking to increase profitability with the ones that you already have. Keep in regular contact with them through phone calls and nurturing email campaigns, provide helpful content or resources for them, send business referrals their way and get to know their business so well that you become an indispensable business resource to them.
9. I resolve to… optimise my LinkedIn profile
And if you don’t already have one then you need to create one! LinkedIn is increasingly becoming a powerful professional referral source - are you missing out on potential leads and business opportunities?
Ensure your profile is up to date - with a recent photograph - and optimised using key search terms. Don’t forget to publish your blogs and articles here - and you can link your updates to automatically publish to your Twitter feed.
10. I resolve to… refresh my website
Let me guess, you had your website built and it’s never been updated since? Your website is potentially your first point of contact with your clients - what message are you sending them? Perhaps your services have changed slightly, or you have new staff, or you haven’t updated your client testimonials for quite some time - all these things will affect a potential lead’s perception of your business. Ensure your site is well-written, optimised and engaging.
Overall, resolve to make 2017 your best year in business yet! If you’re already a WorkflowMax Partner then we’re excited to be working alongside you as your accountancy practice grows in 2017 - so share your own goals and resolutions in the comments below!