Make sure your prospective client recognizes the value of your services. See Why are businesses begging for my services? The most natural question next is “How much is it going to cost?”The quickest way to discourage you is to charge too little for your services. Charging by the hour is too administratively time-consuming, and the small business clients dislike it. They prefer to know in advance how much the service will cost them, so that they can anticipate the charge and know what they are getting. You�ll need to calculate a monthly charge.It wouldn’t be very responsible to GUESS at how much to charge each month. Either you will charge the client an unfair fee, or you won’t be charging what you are worth. A great way to assess the time-based fees involved is by the number of transactions you will need to record on average, each month. A transaction is a check, invoice, z-tape, bill, etc.Ask your perspective client how many of each type of transaction you will need to record. The average small business has about 400 transactions each month.Now take the number of transactions and multiply it by 50 cents per transaction and add $100 for the preparation of the Financial Statements. The average client will earn you $300 per month with 6-8 hours of work.Then, ask them if this would seem a reasonable charge for all the benefits. If the prospective client says “yes”, congratulations on your new client.If this person has not been pricing this service with other accountants, or does not fully understand the benefits, you might run in to objections. If it�s for the latter reason, you may have to step back and ask what benefits he thought were least valuable.If the benefits are well understood, and he/she desires them, ask him if he might be able to get these benefits elsewhere for a lesser price.If he plans on hiring someone, offer to help find a person. You might want to explain, however, that even paying someone a few hours each day will probably cost more than your fee. Plus, you will guarantee your work. And, they won�t incur the extra cost of computers, software, and office space.You�re services are a bargain.If he/she wants time to think, or is not interested, thank them graciously for their time, leave a business card, and ask for a referral.By the way, you will get a “no”, more often than you will get a “yes.” Even the most qualified and practiced accountants will come away empty-handed more often than not. That�s alright. If you just pick up one account per week, within a short time you�ll be making a great income.Additional information, including how to step-by-step calculate the number of transactions and a fair fee see Accounting Made Easy.For continual information on marketing tips and strategies, click here to sign up now for our newsletter.
Create an Elevator Speech and Sell Yourself in 60 Seconds or Less
“So what do you do, anyway? “… Has anyone ever asked you that question before?It’s usually in a setting you aren’t expecting that from, and from someone that you didn’t think would ask. If you’ve ever stuttered through your answer, then the best thing you can do is to create a striking, clear, and succinct “elevator speech.”“Elevator speech, what the heck is that?” It’s a brief description, of you, your business and the services or products you provide, like a quick infomercial, that can be delivered in the usual time it takes an elevator to carry its occupants to their floor. It is an essential tool in the marketing of your accounting or bookkeeping business. And if honed and practiced, can be used to grow your business the way you want to. Like your business card, your elevator speech is a calling card of your business, and if you word it right, you can get the person who asks about your business interested in doing business with you. so that at opportune moments you can network effectively, explaining what you do and why you do it so well that everyone deserves to hear about it.
So you can capture at the opportune moments, network with other business people effectively, while giving an interesting tidbit about your services you should begin your elevator speech with a hook that piques the listener’s interest and makes them want to hear more.Tactics on this vary as widely as there are people and different personalities. One way I heard used was, “Well, it’s not brain surgery, but can be a critical tool that will help keep your business alive and ticking…” Another hook I’ve heard, “What I do is not as complicated as rocket science, but to the average business owner it might as well be…” You can consider using a quote, sharing a quick anecdote, or asking a question. it’s something said “in the moment” (every moment someone asks) that is quick and not burdensome, and captures the attention of the listener right away.
The Conversational Tone
Your elevator speech should not be perceived as a sales pitch.Occupants would opt to walk up flights of stairs rather than be stuck in an elevator with a relentless salesperson. Think of your brief description as the introduction your business would give where it able to talk.It shouldn’t sound canned or monotonous.It should be exciting and engaging, communicating your passion for what you do and how well you do it.You should practice the speech so that it sounds natural and conversational. That it rolls off your tongue at a moments notice and in such a tone that is friendly and inviting. And it’s important that you not drone on and on.That’s why it should be no longer than 60 seconds.In fact, you may consider having two versions of your elevator speech: the 30-second version and the minute version.The elevator speech you deliver would depend on the given situation.
There’s nothing worse than asking a question and getting a vague answer is there? That is the same thing with your elevator speech. Without significant details, your elevator speech is generic and uninformative. More importantly it will turn people off to you and your services and products quicker than you can say “Shazaam!”. The main question you need to ask yourself is, “What do I do, that would be a great benefit to my potential customers?” If you have current customers, ask youself the same question, “What do I do that brings them back to me every week or month?” How do I make their business life better? Easier? More profitable? Other questions you can ask yourself is: What do you do that’s unique?What sets your services apart from others?Who are your clients and what problems do you solve for them?What could you do for the listener to make their lives better? When you have brainstormed on what you do and identified what it is that makes you the “bomb’ to your clientele, write it down, if it’s too long simplify it. If it’s like everyone else’s, use different verbs or adjectives to describe your business. Remember, this could be the only time you get a chance to peak the interest of that one person who could make all the difference to your business. Be ready for it.
You should always end your speech with a request.Will you ask for the listener’s business card?Will you ask them to take your card and give you a call if they’d like to learn more?Do you want them to refer their family and friends to you?You bet you do! So be in the moment and take care of it. You may decide to have optional requests in mind so you can end your speech with a request that responds best to that particular situation.
One tactic that has been found effective is right after you have given your elevator speech to ask them about what they do. Then once they have given you their “speech” ask them one or two additional questions about their business. Such as, “That’s an interesting industry, how many employees do you have? Or “How did you get into that interesting business?”. Better yet ask them a question that arises from their own elevator speech. Don’t make it to laborous, or take too much of their time with this, but after asking these questions, don’t hesitate in asking for their business card. By so doing, you become notched in their memory of someone that was interested in what they do. That could be all you would need for them to take your call or the appointment the next time you call on them.
A Final Note
While you can always give your speech in an elevator, the elevator speech is designed for any networking situation, places where you can introduce yourself and your business to potential clients.This may be at a convention, a conference, the grocery store, or the dentist’s office.Remember that anyone can be a potential client or can refer you to a potential client.And with your elevator speech on the tip of your tongue, you’re ready to sell yourself in any given situation with comfort and ease.
Marketing Is Only One Tool Of The Many You Need To Be Successful
Marketing your business is essential to keeping your business healthy and growing. You can do the right kind of marketing, with cost effective strategies and actions that will allow you to achieve the type of accounting / bookkeeping business you imagine for yourself. Building a Successful Accounting Business is only one of the modules you get when you purchase Universal Accounting’s Professional Bookkeeping Program.
Having a solid understanding of the Accounting and Bookkeeping methods and procedures is also essential to the successful business. Don’t hesitate any longer, take the steps needed to bring those dreams about your business into reality. Here’s what you will get along with Universal’s business marketing knowledge.
It’s a fact of life: Accountants aren’t always known for their social skills in group gatherings, and it may be causing you to be a less effective networker than you might be. If you feel totally at home in large groups and with everyone you meet, you can skip this article.
Get More Comfortable With Others in Business Settings
But if you don’t, these tips will help to sharpen your social acumen:1. Respond promptly to invitations you receive to attend business or social events. It’s bad form to neglect to respond to invitations–or to accept but then fail to attend the function. This sends a message that the event is unimportant to you. It also makes it difficult for whoever is planning the event, particularly when it’s a formal dinner with assigned seating.2. Don’t bring uninvited guests. An invitation that bears your name alone means you and no one else. If you feel uncomfortable attending by yourself, it may be best to decline.When a guest is welcome, however, the invitation will generally indicate that in some way. And then, of course, it’s perfectly acceptable for you to bring a guest (just don’t forget to inform the hosts of your intention when you send back your RSVP).3. Watch your timing. For a function with specific starting and ending times, such as a reception, it’s best to arrive no less than 10 minutes after the function starts and leave no less than 15 minutes before it ends.4. Mingle. Avoid clustering together with small groups of friends–instead, make the rounds. Introduce yourself to people you don’t know and initiate friendly conversations.5. Listen more, speak less, and show respect.6. Be sensitive to language and cultural differences. Remain mindful of potential language barriers when socializing with foreign visitors or colleagues. Speak slowly and distinctly. Don’t rush visitors by supplying words for them. Be aware of your body language. Avoid standing too closely to people or touching them if there’s a chance you might make them uncomfortable.7. Don’t try to form instant friendships. Don’t be too familiar too soon with new acquaintances.8. Leave your diet at home. At formal dinners you don’t have the luxury of choice of menu. If there is some food you don’t like or can’t eat, eat something–even if it’s just bread or salad. You can always find a polite excuse for not eating a particular item.
Additional Day-to-Day Accounting Tips
Many of the skills that you need to run your Accounting and Bookkeeping service are less than obvious to many of us. We have created additional articles to help you to run your business more effectively and profitably.Learn More Day-to-Day Accounting Tips
The Pros and Cons of Different Business Entities (Part II of II)
It’s important to take the time to consider which business entity best matches your particular business situation. Last week we talked about the importance of looking at limited liability entities when considering your liability, your creditors’ access to your assets, and your tax obligations. We looked specifically at C and S-Corporations and how they might benefit you and your business. This week we’ll look at limited partnerships (LP’s), family limited partnerships (FLP’s) and limited liability companies (LLC’s).
Limited Partnership (LP or FLP)
Apartnership is a business organization in which two or more persons together own the assets of the organization and share in the organization’s profits. Maybe you and your brothers own the business, or perhpas you’ve decided to partner with two or more good friends who also do accounting and bookkeeping. In a general partnership, all partners are equally and personally liable for all business debts and liabilities. In a limited partnership, however, limited partners are not liable for business debts. A limited partnership is a partnership comprised of at least on general partner and one or more limited partners.
A limited partnership with family members as partners is often call a “Family Limited Partnership” or FLP. The general partner is liable for all business debts. The general partner of a limited partnership generally owns a very small percentage (let’s say 1%) of the partnership assets, but has complete control of the activities of the limited partnership. As you can see, while a limited partnership provides limited liability for the limited partners, the general partner will always have unlimited personal liability.
Limited liability for limited partners.
The partnership is not taxed; profits and losses “flow through” to the partners, and each must report their income on Form K-1.
Flexible asset protection.
Filing an FLP is more expensive than filing a general partnership.
Limited partners are not allowed to participate in the management of the limited partnership.
The general partner remains personally liable for the obligations of the limited partnership.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
An LLC has some of the characteristics of a corporation (enjoying limited liability) and some of the characteristics of a partnership (pass-through taxation). One or more persons form and own the LLC, becoming its “members.” They can either manage the LLC themselves, or hire managers to oversee day-to-day operations. One person can create an LLC, although it will be taxed as a sole proprietorship. However, you can still enjoy the benefits of a limited liability.
Fewer formailities are required.
The partnership is not taxed; profits and losses “flow through” to the partners and each must report their income from Form K-1 on their IRS Form 1040.
Depending on the state, an LLC can be formed by one member.
Possible dissolution of company due to a partner’s death, retirement or bankruptcy.
It’s more expensive to file an LLC than a general partnership.
Any of these business entities are fairly easy to establish, but requirements vary state to state; visit your local state website (Department of Commerce) to see what you need to do. The most important part of the process is determining which entity is best for you. After that, the rest is business as usual.
If you are considering taking the next step in the process of your bookkeeping or accounting business you have found the source that you need to have to not only gain the training crucial to accounting success, but also the training that will help you find how to grow your business. Don’t leave anything to chance by going anywhere else than Universal.
For over 25 years, Universal Accounting Center has helped people like you start their own accounting and tax practices. We recognize that 85% of the accounting opportunities are with small business so our curriculum is designed to help you learn small business accounting. Think back to our recommendation to increase your income by performing new services for new clients. When you learn small business accoutning you suddenly make yourself available to new clients whil increasing the number of services you can perform. Become a Professional Bookkeeper today.
There are some great opportunities for self – promotion when you join your local chamber of commerce. Some of these opportunities, such as the chance to regularly meet and work with other local business owners who, obviously, represent your target market and inclusion in the chamber’s directory, result simply from membership however the real benefits flow from participating in the chamber’s activities.
Market Your Business Through Your Local Chamber
Here are some suggested chamber activities which will enhance your reputation and generate business for you:1. Offer to act as Treasurer or Secretary – these roles will showcase your professional experience and ability and provide you with terrific exposure to all members of the chamber.2. Contribute articles to the chamber’s bulletin or other member publications. The bulletin may include member profiles, or expert business comments or tips from members. The publication of articles of this nature will promote you as the local expert and the person who can solve accounting and bookkeeping problems.3. Without overdoing your voluntary activities and thus taking your focus away from your primary objective, successfully operating your business, you will discover a range of committees which can use your expertise. Your involvement in a committee will lead to your becoming better known locally.4. If you are a confident public speaker, your chamber of commerce, which is always on the lookout for guest speakers, can offer you a platform to speak on a variety of business related subjects which are of interest to members. These subjects could include advice on maintaining financial records, taxation issues or computer based systems. Along with any business advice for other members which you contribute to the chamber bulletin, speaking at a chamber meeting will create the perception that you have substantial expertise in the subject. Of course in this instance, perception and reality are one and the same.5. Of course there is a further benefit which must be stated – you will be helping your own community and this is hard to beat.
More Marketing Ideas
The Professional Bookkeeper Program has an entire module devoted to marketing your new Accounting and Bookkeeping business or giving an extra boost to an existing one. What really sets the Professional Bookkeeper Program apart is the entrepreneurial aspects of running your business and how to market to small businesses that need your services. What you have to offer upon completing the Professional Bookkeeper Program is in demand with small to midsized businesses. We will teach you how to get the word out and to turn that knowledge into profit.Learn How the Professional Bookkeeper Program Teaches You To Market Your Skills
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