How to….. Survive going solo
***Credited to Accounting Technician
Taking your fledging firm to the next level requires skills you may not yet have. Time to step outside your comfort zone…
As an accountant, you may be well versed on company structures and the financial implications of going it alone.
But that doesn’t mean you won’t face serious challenges when starting your own practice.
Indeed, as the workload begins to pick up, you will need to dramatically expand your skillset to keep growing.
Sales (for non-salespeople)
First up, sales. Many inexperienced business owners feel sales is a dark art.
At heart, good sales skills are as much about listening as talking, says Rudi Jansen, author of The Highly Profitable Accountant.
Accountants don’t need to aggressively sell their services to secure clients, as clients already have a certain expectation. Instead, to win business, they should concentrate on getting clients to know, like and trust them.
“good sales are all about understanding what’s going on in their world. You need to listen careful in order to make a diagnosis of what it is that they need,” says Jansen.
You should aim to develop a solid, natural rapport with potential clients, says Jansen. You should ideally like them as they like you, or at least feel that you can genuinely deliver real value to their business…………………………………..
“Good sales is all about understanding what’s going on in a client’s world.”
Maximise your marketing
If the prospect of sales fills many budding entrepreneurs with dread, marketing can be even more terrifying, especially for accountants, says Jansen.
As it’s such an unknown for many business owners, the usual instinct is to throw money at it from time to time without any real plan.
Jansen believes this is a mistake: practice owners should know what their approach to marketing is, and be as involved as possible, it’s the only way to ensure that marketing yields the result you want, he says.
To get started, says Jansen, you need to ask yourself some basic questions: “is the website good enough that people won’t be put off? Is your linkedIn profile good enough? Have you put a systemised referrals process in place? Have you got a written-down plan for marketing activities for the year? This is very important document, as it provides the bigger picture.” …………………………….
The recruitment minefield
After a while, a growing practice will need more staff. But Sarah Loates, founder of HR consultancy Loates Business Solutions, says small businesses are often unprepaired to take on talent, and end up makingpotentially damaging mistakes.
“a lot of new businesses don’t realise they atully have employed somebody,” Loates says. “the difference between casual workers, employees and self-employed workers is not the same for HMRC, amd employment tribunals.
There is case law where HMRC has said someone is casual worker an an employment tribunal had said they are an employee,”
Generally, if someone is working exclusively for you or is required to come into the office every day, they are an emploeee. Don’t fall into the trap of forgetting to transfer someone who starts as a casual worker into a perminant role as their work for your company increases……………………….