If you didn’t attend the annual QuickBooks Connect conference in San Jose, California, you missed out on some valuable information that could help you put more cash in your pockets this tax season.
QuickBooks ProAdvisor and Consultant Heather Satterley spoke to a room full of engaged professionals who were looking for the secret sauce to create work/life flexibility. If you’re a tax professional, there’s no need to spend over 80 hours a week locked up in the office. Digital technologies and sophisticated networking tools have helped to bridge the gap between professional and personal success.
So if you’d rather be surrounded by frangipani trees and beaches instead of hovering over hundreds of complex tax returns as a solopreneur, here’s what you should consider:
Become a Subject Matter Expert
There is no substitute for competence. If you want to be able to negotiate prices and have a flexible schedule, you have to be a sought-after adviser.
Gaining a reputation as a subject matter expert is one sure way to make sure your phone is ringing off the hook. As a subject matter expert, you don’t have to answer every call that comes your way. You have the flexibility to set your schedule and rates based on the way you desire to manage your firm. Be willing to put in the work now to build your credibility so you can enjoy more days in the sun later.
Create Your Mission Statement
Your expertise is what will bring clients your way. Why you do what you do is what will turn clients into loyal promoters of your service. Be clear about why you are in business. A mission statement will help you articulate your why to your clients.
Once you have a mission and a purpose, everything else falls into place. Your mission should be bigger than you. It should be so big that it inspires you to do your best work every day.
Be Clear on Who You Want to Serve
You don’t want to be the type of person who takes every client that comes your way. This may lead to a lot of sleepless nights and unexpected headaches. All money is not good money.
Do yourself a favor and identify your target client. Write it down. Create a customer profile that includes the type of job your client has, what hobbies interest them, how much money they make, and their demographics. Once you are clear about who you want to serve, you can start going places where you can find that ideal client.
Go Beyond Taxes
Build a relationship with your client so that you can serve as a trusted adviser all year long. Find out where your client stands in their personal and professional life. You have to listen to the client and see what goals they have. As the client grows, you want to be able to grow with them.
Remember this: anyone can do a tax return. So what services can you offer that will allow you to add value to your clients beyond taxes. How about becoming a QuickBooks ProAdvisor so that you can provide your clients with the tools needed to manage their financial flow?
Know Your Superpower
Stop doing what everyone else is doing on social media and start focusing on your strengths.
For example, if you don’t like bookkeeping, you can outsource that task. Use your time to focus on things that will help you to generate more revenue for your company. You have to learn how to profit from the things that you love to do and delegate all the tasks that don’t add to your bottom line or happiness.
Think about it: what do you do better than anyone else? Speaking? Writing? Teaching? You’ll experience the most success when you focus on developing your gifts.
Build a Sophisticated Network
You don’t have to be good at everything in order to succeed in business. You just need to have access to the people who know what you don’t know well or passionate about the things you would rather delete from your to-do list.
For example, if you want to own a tax firm but don’t want to take on the tedious task of serving as a tax practitioner, you can partner with someone else who is skilled in tax preparation. This leaves you with more time to serve as an adviser as you enjoy the pink sand beaches of Bermuda during the cold winter months. It’s not about competition but finding ways to work together as a community. This teamwork is what will enable you to scale your business.
Develop a Profitable Pricing Strategy
There is no one size fits all pricing strategy. You will have to test the waters to determine what works best for your practice.
You can choose hourly, fixed, value, or performance-based pricing. Whatever pricing option you decide to use, it’s important to know the rates your competitors’ charge and to outline the time you are giving to this project. Don’t forget research fees or the price to continuously go to your clients to collect documents.
Identify the Tools You Will Need
What do you need in order to run your business more efficiently? If you have a tax firm, you can look into software that allows you to do tax returns from anywhere in the world. Intuit ProConnect Tax Online is a cloud-based professional tax software that allows you to “find more free time, improve your client support, and grow your practice.”
You can also look into scheduling apps, project management software, and customer relationship management tools that work best for your personality.
Take some time to identify what your dream firm looks like. Then use these tips to design your dream firm from anywhere in the world.