Competitive advantage #8
A simple sign on your car is a great way to grab someone’s attention. Sometimes this subtle suggestion is enough motivation to spark the interest of a small business owner. Remember the focus of your message should be on the benefits that they will get from your services. Keep in mind the appearance of your car. A messy car filled with clutter and junk may give the wrong impression. However too fancy of a car might also insinuate that you are expensive and therefore out of their price range.
A sign can also be placed in front of your house. If you are not sure if your city or county allows for signage make sure to check with them first.
Signs can be ordered easily and inexpensively at www.vistaprint.com
Search Online Classifieds, Craigslist & Kijiji for Businesses Hiring a Bookkeeper
Opportunity for bookkeeping work is certainly out there. Unfortunately they are disguised as part time bookkeeping positions in small businesses. The majority of us don’t want to be an employee working for an employer. Don’t worry; this is not what we want you to do either. Remember, you are a Successful Business Owner and you are currently accepting new CLIENTS. You can offer your services and savings to these employers as an outsourced bookkeeper, but you have to know how to speak with them about the position. If this is done correctly you will be able to introduce your service, talk about the benefits of accounting and explain to them why outsourcing is better than hiring an employee. Let’s look at how we can save these businesses money by outsourcing the job to you. Here is an example of a local add on Craigslist.
Bookkeeper (Heber City)
Date: 2012-09-05, 2:50PM MDT
firstname.lastname@example.org [Errors when replying to ads?]
Small business looking for a part time bookkeeper about 15 hours per week. Will be doing A/R, A/P, payroll, etc. Must be proficient in QuickBooks.
- Location: Heber City
- Compensation: 13.00
- This is a part-time job.
This business is looking to pay 15 hours a week at $13.00 an hour. That is $780 a month. As a student of Universal Accounting you have learned that the average business should take you roughly 8 hours a month to perform the monthly write up, analysis and consultation. For this you should be making somewhere in the ball park of $350-$400 a month. Right there we have just saved the business between $380 and $430 a month when they simply outsourcing the position. This doesn’t even include the benefits that come from working with someone like you, a Profit and Growth Expert. Let’s see what else we can say to demonstrate how outsourcing can save the business money.
- You are not an employee therefore they are not required to pay these on your behalf. Instant savings for the business.
- Again, they have no need to pay for these. As an outsourced bookkeeper this is no longer their responsibility.
- Employees expect to earn P.T.O. compensation. If you go on vacation as an outsourced bookkeeper it is at no expense of the owner.
Sick pay & Call outs
- These can be costly and disruptive to the business owner if they have to perform the job of an employee who didn’t show up for work. Having to cover for someone else takes them away from being able to work ON the business. Opportunity costs add up!
Business owners need to hear that other options are available to them in order to fill the need for bookkeeping in their business. Many owners don’t realize how easy and affordable it can be to outsource rather than hire.Start by responding to their ad by sending them your resume. If they have a number listed, give them a call. Explain that you saw their ad and would like to set up a time to meet with them. In their eyes this would be an interview that they would offer to any candidate seeking to fill the position they are hiring for. However, when the time comes to sit down and meet with them share what you know about the benefits of outsourcing the position to you, following the recommendations we have just listed above. Give your presentation found in the “Accounting for Profit and Growth” demo book. Focus on all of the ways you can save them money.
Sending out monthly or even weekly newsletters is an excellent way to stay in touch with your clients and even possibly those prospects that still haven’t made the decision to hire us for our services. This will allow you to create and keep a database of prospects. In turn it will give you the opportunity to keep those leads warm until they are ready to become a client.
Use your Website to create newsletter/blog opportunities.
Create an email signature that includes a link to your website where someone could sign up for your newsletter or begin to follow your blog.
Offer your newsletter to everyone you come in contact with.
If you need some ideas for articles or material to include in your newsletter sign up for Universal Accounting’s ABTips and other such newsletters.
Notify newspapers that you are willing to write articles which focus on practical strategies for business owners when it comes to financial management. This will make the article more enticing to read.
Start with smaller local papers. Once you have a following of readers move up to a larger paper.
Not only can trade shows be fun and informative, they can be a great way to get you out and speaking with large numbers of people about your business. If done correctly you can also get referrals, make good networking partners and even pick up new clients this way.
First, make sure you are attending the right type of trade shows. Avoid gatherings where large corporations are invited to attend. Instead, focus your time on shows which invite smaller, local businesses to participate. Bridal shows, business to business expos and holiday shows are just a few that would be worth your time.
Dress professionally. Remember the first impression definitely counts.
Most trade shows have a small fee to enter. Look for discounts or coupons that are available in the local community to increase attendance.
Once you are there take the time to visit each booth. Ask to speak with the business owner. Have them tell you about their company, what they offer and who a good customer would be for them. Once you’ve spoken with them about their business they will hopefully be interested in knowing what you do. This is an excellent opportunity to give them your 30 second commercial and offer them a business card. If you are offering a free seminar or have an opportunity to network with them ask for their card. Make sure you don’t take too much of their time in this process. Remember they are paying good money to be displayed at the show. Instead of landing on them let them know about your upcoming seminar or networking opportunity and offer to call them with more information.
After the trade show (or at the end of each isle) take a few minutes to write a note on the back of the business card to help you remember each person you speak with. Then, after the trade show, the next day, send a “thank you” letter to each of the people that you met. If they were interested in the seminar let them know that you have a seat reserved for them. If they wanted to attend a networking function with you give them the details and let them know you look forward to seeing them again. For everyone else include a reminder of who you are and how you can help their business. Mail it to them with a business card. Not everyone will respond, but if you can acquire a new client out of a few hours of prospecting then it was worth the time.
Planting the Seed
If you are going to be building your client base over an extended period of time, you’ll want to put this strategy among the top of your list. It is effective although you can’t expect new clients the day after it’s implementation. It takes time to grow a clientele just like it takes time to harvest a crop after planting the seeds. The key is to remember, if you plant it, it will grow.
When new businesses start, accounting is typically not at the top of the business owner’s list. He’ll often think, “I’ll Worry about accounting when I have something to account for.”
Inevitably, at some point usually around 6 months he or she will come to the realization that accounting is critical and necessary in their business. When that time comes, the day of harvest has arrived and you will want to be the first person the business owner calls. Specifically after being in business for 12 to 18 months the need to outsource the accounting responsibilities will be foremost on their mind.
So how do you get to the top of the list? Watch for new business start-ups, then visit them early, welcoming them to the community. Let them know who you are, and that you understand there’s a lot involved in starting their businesses. You certainly don’t want to be a nuisance, but ask them if they would mind you sending them ideas and strategies from time to time that will make their business more profitable. If you have a regular newsletter, add their address to your mailing list and begin sending them information.
Also, once a month set aside a prospect research day and look for information that these new business owners would appreciate. Then, mail them the information with a short handwritten note wishing them continued good fortune in their start-up.
Other resources for Planting the Seed
- Ribbon Cuttings
- Grand Openings
- New Member Orientations with Chamber of Commerce
- Volunteer to be an Ambassador with the Chamber of Commerce