Who, like me, has had their fill of “unprecedented times” and “pivots”? But in many ways, it remains the best description of our daily experience.
What's struck me is the sheer scale of change small businesses are now confronting. For many, going through COVID-19 has been like seeing The Matrix the very first time. For those who have not seen the classic dystopian film, Morpheus explains to Neo that lots of people just aren't prepared to see the Matrix because it's a reality so vastly not the same as the one they're comfortable with.
During these previous couple of months, I have worked very closely with accounting professionals globally as well as from my own local community to navigate this strange and unwanted reality. In particular, many small businesses are experiencing the challenge of having to move their businesses online the very first time. I know how confronting this can be at first. I went through the same thing years back.
Today, through trial and error and a lot of perseverance, I have been fortunate enough to grow my business to serve 120 clients using no paid for advertising at all. I'm proud to be able to command the value I know I deserve and i am passionate about educating and coaching accountants and bookkeeping professionals to do the same.
If you're a small business in this boat, here are a few things I learnt on the way:
1. Be clear about what you are a symbol of
Clients coming to your website want to know how you're going to help them and may be overwhelmed if offered a group of services that baffle them. Hone in on who you are, what you stand for and the unique value you bring.
2. Identify who you want to work with
No-one likes working with clients who don't respect them or see little value in what they offer. Not to mention that trying to offer everything to everyone enhances the risk of spreading yourself too thin and wasting energy on clients that don't suit your business.
Once you've identified that which you stand for (step 1), it becomes easier to explain who you want to work with and also to be more targeted in the way you describe your offering in your website and in your marketing.
3. Have a systematic approach to marketing
Generating new client leads needs time to work and requires having a system and process in position, just like you do when servicing a client. One networking event or LinkedIn post is unlikely to bring in new business.
By taking tips #1 and #2 and using them to create thoughtful, considered and consistent content online, you can start to attract the attention of clients you actually want to work with.
4. Keep on top of the basics
In the meantime, it's important never to forget the business basics that will keep the company on track as you grow. Cashflow is still king and tools for example Intuit QuickBook's Cashflow Planner will give you visibility that will help you stay on track of your expenses and income so that you can make informed financial decisions.
Making your move online successful means more than just a website. By making use of a systematic approach to the way you advertise and communicate online – while maintaining focus on your core financials without anyone's knowledge – you'll save time and money and improve your chances of growing your business in these difficult times.