5 Tips to Scale a Successful Bookkeeping Business in Your First Year

Don't Let Your New Bookkeeping Business Fail: Follow These Tips

Before you start your own bookkeeping business, there are people you have to study and learn from. These are the people who have done it before and have already paved the way. All you have to do is listen to them and learn from their experiences.

In the world of bookkeeping, Cora Lee Dunbar is a specialist, thus a must-listen. You see, Cora grew up in a very entrepreneurial family. Her father owned many businesses and was into farming, honeybee, and campgrounds. That’s why it’s hardly a surprise that she kept her first ledger at the age of twelve. 

Very early on in her career, she partnered with a gentleman who had just opened the door of his bookkeeping business. Cora worked with him as a shareholder and helped set up almost everything. Six years later, the gentleman retired, and Cora took over the entire company. She hired 2 staff members who helped her grow the business and later on added 8 more, making them a team of 10. She successfully scaled the business, to the point that she got plenty of interested buyers waiting in the wings.

Cora has been in the trenches for over 24 years now, building successful businesses from the ground up. She’s also been doing consulting and coaching work to help other business owners achieve success as well. 

In this article, you’ll discover five valuable tips from Cora to help you grow your own bookkeeping business.

The Five Tips of Building a Successful Bookkeeping Business

Building a business with a solid foundation, strategic systems and processes can help you speed up your success. And these five tips from Cora will help you achieve just that.

Tip #1: Believe In Your Business

Whether you fail or succeed starts in the mind. While you may be starting small in your bookkeeping business, you have to be thinking big from day one. You have to believe in your bookkeeping business because only then will your employees do the same. If your employees sense doubt in you, they will not be active and perform as they should.

The worst that can happen with your bookkeeping business is if no one believes in it. This is the reason why Cora believes in strategic hiring. She mentioned that it's good to have a policy book so everyone can abide by it - everything should be systemized and organized. 

Cora also emphasized that your heart should be attached to your bookkeeping business, but don't let emotions control it. After all, emotional decisions kill a business. Also, you have to keep growing and don't stop. Don't have the mindset of, “Wow. I have built it to this level. Now, I'm going to relax.” Take it to the next level. Cora said that it's exciting to take things to the next level. After all, it pays back in the end, so keep believing in your bookkeeping business.

And speaking of mindset...

Tip #2: Prepare Your Mind To Invest Time And Money

Generally, many go into business armed with the idea of making money while they are asleep or on vacation. While this is absolutely possible, the early stages of your bookkeeping business need your time and money.

This is not the prettiest advice, but it’s something you have to keep in mind:

If you can't invest time and money, you should not start a business. Cora encourages hiring loyal people who will stay with you and your bookkeeping business happily in case things go sideways. That’s why she made a point about not being stingy with money in this regard. According to Cora, you should outsource when you have to. Invest the money thinking long-term.

Separating personal activities from business is also very important. So, don't cram your schedule with tasks that won't help you grow your bookkeeping business. Know that there isn't anything like a perfect work-life balance, create a worth ethic and stick to it. You have to find a way to create time because there is no other way around it. 

When you have sorted that, you need to...

Tip #3: Figure out The Change You Want to Make In the World

Every business has an overall goal they want to focus on. If you don't have a specific goal that your bookkeeping business is focused on, it's time to re-strategize. Otherwise, your business won't last long.

Let's say that as a bookkeeper, your #1 goal is to make an impact on businesses. You want to help business owners with their bookkeeping. That means you should be confident and passionate about your goal. To be successful, changing and impacting businesses should be on top of your mind. So, go out there and make that change happen in the world. Make it a part of your strength. Stop focusing on the wrong things and maintain focus on the right things that matter.

Now, you should never walk alone when scaling your business, that's why you should...

Tip #4: Form Lasting Relationships

Meeting new people and building quality relationships is the secret to ensuring that your bookkeeping business will endure the test of time. Connecting with communities and professionals in the bookkeeping industry is key. One thing to keep in mind is that it's not about the numbers. Rather, it’s about the kind of people you connect with - and the long-lasting relationships you build. 

According to Cora, apart from quality relationships, you also need to make it fun. To stress her point, she mentioned that she does the books for a few people from her hockey team. The point here is that lasting relationships will connect you to opportunities that will transform your business entirely. 

Cora also went on to suggest one more thing… 

Tip #5: Hire a Strategic Planner

Cora said that it's good to see your bookkeeping business through the lens of someone else's perspective. That’s why she suggests hiring a strategic planner - something that many business owners don’t really consider. But it’s how you’ll discover what you have been doing wrong and how to navigate it.

Now, Cora didn't do this at first - she was too caught up doing it all alone. Fortunately, she rectified that mistake and it was crucial in helping her grow her business.

You see, a strategic planner for your business can provide you with unique perspectives that sometimes open doors for solutions. As a result, you can grow your business in a way you couldn't have imagined.

Grow Beyond the First Year

Building a scalable bookkeeping business becomes easier when you know the right things to do and when to do them. Hopefully, these tips from Cora above will help you scale your own bookkeeping business from the ground up.

Don't forget, the end goal is to change, impact and help other businesses grow. That's how you succeed with your bookkeeping business.

If you'd like to learn more about mastering your sales process, go ahead and:

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Michael Palmer

Article by Michael Palmer

Michael is the CEO of Pure Bookkeeping, the host of The Successful Bookkeeper podcast and an acclaimed business coach who has helped hundreds of bookkeepers across the world push through their fears and exponentially grow their businesses and achieve the quality of life they've always wanted.