Advice for the New Year

Small Business Owners Share What They’ve Learned in Launching a Startup

Many mistakenly believe that launching a business during a recession is shortsighted.  We feel it’s anything but!  Now is a great time to start your practice.  In fact, many entrepreneurs continue to see success regardless of the current economy.  As you set the tone for 2011, consider what you’d like to see happen.  And if you decide to launch your own accounting practice, take advice from those who have gone before you.

Last year, surveyed a group of 750 small business owners to see what advice they might offer in best approaching the New Year.  Much of what they suggested still holds true in 2011. Here are 5 of 10 tips they provide:

1.    Start preparing taxes now. It’s important that you organize all the necessary information you need to file your taxes now.  Waiting until the deadline may save you time now, but it will be distracting and possibly debilitating later.  As an accountant, consider how you could make it a business of minding your clients’ tax information.  You could expand your service offerings to include tax preparation!

2.    Focus on sales. In your case, this should read ‘focus on securing clients.’  Without clients your practice will fail.  This means it’s extremely important that you learn how to market effectively.  Study up on good marketing practices or look to the experts in acquiring proven marketing techniques.

3.    Have a long-term plan. My son is 9-years old and his fourth grade class has been asked to create a marketing plan for imaginary businesses.  His struggle to create a long-term plan is not uncommon.  Many grownup entrepreneurs encounter the same obstacle.  Planning for the future is the best way to ensure that it’s successful.

4.    Don’t focus on the money. The WebCPA survey found that only 12% of entrepreneurs are in it for the money while 46% say they “are motivated by having ‘more flexibility with their time’ and by ‘being their own boss’.”  Often it’s a passion for what you do that propels you towards success rather than a desire to be wealthy.

5.    Use the web. Whether or not you practice ecommerce, a lot of business takes place over the Internet.  From Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn to professional websites, some of the most effective networking takes place electronically.  If you haven’t already, it’s important that you establish a strong web presence of your own.

Having an action plan is often all that’s required to ensure that your practice is successful.  Don’t hold your future hostage by letting the recession prevent you from launching your business in 2011.

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–WebCPA staff.  “Small Business Owners Share Advice for New Year.” 6 Jan. 2010