Ever dreamed of starting your own bookkeeping service? When I think back to the beginning of starting my own business I can't help but think to myself: "I wish I knew then what I know now." I've had a lot of inquiries lately from friends and business colleagues interested in how I started my own bookkeeping service. I thought it might be interesting to give my advice specifically on starting your own bookkeeping service.
Deciding why a bookkeeping business?
There needs to be a reason that you specifically want to be in bookkeeping. Maybe you are organized beyond belief and think you can transform those skills into the business world. Maybe the idea of helping several different kinds of businesses run a successful business seems rewarding to you. Maybe you can envision a job that allows you to live a particular lifestyle. All of these are very good reasons and some of them ring true with me and why I started my business. My point is there needs to be a valid reason that you specifically want to get into bookkeeping.
Great you have decided to start you own bookkeeping service, now what? Here is where the work begins and where I feel many people get held up. I have been blown away by the people that have sought advice from me on this. People that I feel are much more experienced and smarter than me. People that have started and successfully ran their own small business. Here is an abbreviated plan that I would follow to get started:
Having specific bookkeeping experience will be extremely helpful. Ask around to some of your friends that own small businesses to see if they need some help with their bookkeeping. Maybe you know some business owners that have a great bookkeeper that would allow you to shadow them. If you can't find anyone that will allow you to help them with their books start tracking your own personal or family's finances. I would highly recommend getting trained in QuickBooks or some other accounting software.
Get a Sales Plan
Once you have decided that you want to start your own bookkeeping service and you have some real life bookkeeping experience you are going to need to start picking up your own clients. I would definitely launch a good website and I would look into an online marketing plan. These guys can help you with both your website and online marketing plan. I would build a strong business network around myself. I would let all my current business contacts know that I was starting my own bookkeeping service. I also would look into a local organized networking group like your local Chamber of Commerce or BNI Chapter. Lastly, if I didn't have sales experience I might consider hiring a sales coach to guide me through selling, here is who we used.
Get a general business plan together
You will need some sort of business plan or vision of what you want your business to look like. Do you envision having employees or running a one man show? How much money do you want to make? Or is the focus more on flexibility and freedom rather than money? Do you see a large business or something much smaller and local? I would have some sort of business plan together to try and answer these questions. Obviously a formal written plan is better than a vision in your head, but something is better than nothing.
Looking over this list I think that most people that are serious about starting their own business will not get stuck in the beginning. Many entrepreneurs find themselves starting their own business because they know that is what they want and were meant to do. If you try hard enough you will find a way to get real life experience, so I think most people will get past that step. Where I think many people will get stuck is actually acquiring clients and growing the business. This is a tough step to get through and it can be overwhelming. I am currently contemplating helping other entrepreneurs start their own bookkeeping service. If you know someone that may be interested have them reach out to me.