One of the biggest challenges for small business owners, entrepreneurs, freelancers and independent service providers is … creating consistent revenue. Accomplishing this requires making “business development” a consistent priority.
But what does this involve? What are the actions we need to take each day or week to ensure we have all the clients we need – or more – to reach and maintain our revenue goals?
The specifics for each business can be unique but the steps are always the same. In order to achieve a solid client base, you need to identify who your ideal clients are and how you can best introduce them to your specific value. How do you do that? Case studies are often the best teachers and this week my volunteer is a very passionate bookkeeper.
How can a bookkeeper identify ideal clients? And how can she introduce herself to them?
Kara Thompson Walker owns Second Look Bookkeeping. When we spoke, the sound of her voice made it crystal clear that she is excited and focused on her work for her small business clients.
Originally from Prince Edward Island, Kara spent 18 years in Calgary. She has recently returned “home” to the Maritimes and is based in Halifax. With much of the “paperwork” of bookkeeping now done digitally, she retains her Calgary-based clients with a focus on growing locally.
“I work with small business owners,” says Kara. “I’ve found that often they don’t have the financial knowledge they need and, perhaps more importantly, don’t know where to go to get it. That’s where I come in. ”
With a background in finance and administration, Kara has a broad knowledge base. “I use this to help small businesses grow in the right direction. I enjoy playing devil’s advocate and helping them look at any financial decision from every direction to make sure they choose what fits with where they want to go.”
So what’s the best way for Kara to grow her small business client base here in Atlantic Canada? While it might seem odd, the answer is … connect with Chartered Accountants (CA’s) that serve small businesses.
I learned this years ago from my accountant, now retired. He would tell me that good bookkeepers were like gold and that if I had a great bookkeeper, he wanted to know about it. The one he referred most often couldn’t take on any new clients!
Kara could start in any community – Charlottetown, Halifax, Fredericton, St. John’s – and reach out to CA’s. Here’s what that phone conversation might sound like:
“Hi so and so, My name is Kara Thompson Walker. The reason for my call … as a busy CA in Halifax, I’m assuming you encounter small business owners that need help with their bookkeeping. I’m am experienced bookkeeper that specializes in working with small businesses and I’ve recently returned home to Atlantic Canada from Calgary. I’m wondering, how might I become a bookkeeper you would recommend to your clients?”
I know – this is very straightforward. Which works because everyone is busy, including Kara. Possible responses will be … we don’t work with very many small businesses or all of our clients already have bookkeepers or … tell me more about your experience. This last response is the one that inspires conversation and opens the door to Kara being introduced to potential clients.
The other option is to network with small business owners, build individual relationships with them, and talk to them about how they are handling their bookkeeping. Even in our time of social distancing, this type of networking is taking place online and it is possible to attend virtual events almost every day.
Again, Kara could start with one community and research various organizations and the online networking events they are hosting. Top of mind examples here in Halifax include the Centre for Women in Business Coffee Talk, Queen Pins, Leading Ladies … and I’m sure there’s more.
What suggestions do you have for Kara to grow her bookkeeping business? Include them in the comment section below.