This article is part of our content series How To Build A Better Bookkeeping Series: The Journey of Continuous Improvement.
The final, and possibly most important ingredient, is confidence.
You have to have the confidence to put up your prices with your existing clients and charge the right level of fee to new clients.
You have to have the confidence in your ability to change your method of delivery, in your capability of providing the services you need to provide and in the choices you make.
The confidence to call clients up, just for a chat, to show them new opportunities and ensure you are fairly paid for the work that you do in order to help them make the most of those opportunities.
The confidence to run a team, or use an outsource solution.
And most importantly of all, the confidence to say no.
No to unsuitable clients, no to clients who won’t pay the fees that you need, no to continuing to provide value at personal cost but for no financial reward.
The confidence to set that level of income and the hours you want to work that you came up with at the beginning of this session and stick to your plan to get there – to set your goals and keep sight of them.
In my view, the confidence element is what makes everything else possible.
You have to believe in yourself first, you have to believe in putting yourself first and you have to believe that everything you do is for the benefit of your clients.
If you have enough time, enough money and a streamlined system, you are not stressed out and overworked, then you will be of far more value to your clients than if you do not have these things.
How can I become more confident?
Confidence is something that some people seem to have in abundance whereas others struggle badly with it.
Confidence IS something that you can learn – it is a skill like any other and with the right techniques and practice you can become confident, certainly in your ability to deliver the product that your customer wants, confident in how to sell it, how to price it and confident in the advice and support you give your client.
With competence comes confidence
Know your stuff. Employ a team who knows their stuff. Process everything you possibly can in your business so you know that everything is being performed exactly the way you want it done.
Be aware of your pricing structure, use tools to help you get better prices, systemise your pricing methods so that you are confident in the quotes that you give (I used to price my services WITH the client).
Know your systems inside out, be confident that you can deliver what is needed, at the standard that is required.
Take time to make sure you are selecting the best tools and that they are suitable for your business.
Form great relationships so you have trust and honesty
Get great mentors and coaches that support you.
Join networks of other like-minded professionals
I remember one thing that stands out and really helped me when I was struggling with my business.
I went to a conference and it was the first time I had ever heard Mark Wickersham speak.
Mark is the UK #1’s expert in pricing and I was having a terrible time – charging way too little for my services, being far too inefficient in the delivery of them and was actually just about to close the whole thing down.
Mark told my story, he told how when he had run his own practice he had no money, he worked all the available hours and he was miserable.
And I suddenly realised that this was actually quite normal! That gave me confidence to speak to other people in the profession, join networks and be honest about how things were for me.
At that point, everything changed.
The IAB, ICB, AAT all provide a great suite of qualifications covering everything you need.
In addition to the core subject matter there all do extra modules covering management accounts, tax etc that can help you deliver higher value services, with confidence.
Go on courses, learn to love learning, make time for advanced CPD. Make CPD about more than ticking a box at the end of the year for the governing body!
If you are charging the right prices and have the right number of customers, you will have time to develop yourself, as well as your business!
Don’t be overconfident
As with the other three critical success factors you have to measure your confidence in line with the other areas of your business.
Overconfidence leads to mistakes, the wrong advice being given, quality controls slipping and can be extremely dangerous when you are so key to supporting clients with important decisions.
Being overconfident in pricing could easily lead to you charging fees that are not supported by the value or standard of the work.
Question and test your delivery methods, don’t just assume you’re using the right ones, that a better solution hasn’t appeared on the market or that your solution is right for the client
Make sure you are qualified and experienced enough to deliver the products you are selling, or that someone on your team is.
Work outside your comfort zone
One of the fastest ways to develop confidence is to push your boundaries, go outside of the norm and try, and learn, new things.
I cannot stress highly enough how much I benefitted from creating connections within the accounting industry and from having honest conversations about how I was feeling and how the business was doing.
Meet new people, join new groups, develop new products.
The more you do, the more your confidence will grow.
This article is part of a content series How To Build A Better Bookkeeping Series: The Journey of Continuous Improvement.
Click here to register to the complimentary series with UK bookkeeping expert and author Jane Aylwin.