Small Business Marketing Book Review – People and Your Business

What if somebody told you one critical key to business success was to practice the principle of the Golden Rule in your business? The idea seems to somehow run counter to so much of what we’ve been taught about business, doesn’t it? Yet, what if that same source convinced you through case-study after case-study that application of the Golden Rule in business actually leads to success?

Let us introduce Frederick Reichheld and his book The Loyalty Effect. While not a small business marketer, but rather an expert business consultant, what Reichheld teaches us about loyalty is worthwhile reading for any small business owner or manager.

Did we say “worthwhile”? Scratch that; pencil in the phrase “urgently essential”, instead. This book is that vital to a small company.

The Loyalty Effect focuses on three groups of people critical to business success: Customers, Employees, and Investors. For most small business, the investor is the owner, so for our brief review in this article we will focus on Customers and Employees.

Reichheld is a definite advocate of customer retention. He convincingly demonstrates time and again that small percentage increases in customer retention have huge impacts on profits. This read will be a just-right fit for those of you having problems focusing on the right customers. If you will take the time to trudge through this book, and really understand most of its principles (we found Chapter 8 to be the toughest) then not only will the marketing of your business improve, but so will your profits.

Isn’t that the reason for all this focus on marketing, anyway?

And Reichheld really opened our eyes to how important employees are in retaining customers. If a company treats their employees right, those employees become more efficient and productive in their daily tasks. Profits go up, retention increases.

Reichheld stresses again and again that a company’s prime mission needs to be creating customer value. Most of you in small business realize this, but it’s reaffirming to see hard-and-fast facts to back up what many of us intuitively know. Customers don’t come to a small business looking to boost our profits; they arrive seeking value. If we consistently create value, profit will come.

Another key point for small business owners is the importance of leadership. If you need to go down to the bookstore and browse through The Loyalty Effect before you buy it, flip over to page 246. Reichheld has studied several large and successful businesses, and concludes here that most of them had leaders with an “intuitive grasp” of how important loyalty is. This is critical for business success, regardless of business size. While not written to be a rah-rah inspirational book, Reichheld’s arguments and his examination of the role strong leaders play in forming great companies reinforces just how important to the bottom line it is for a small business owner to be a good leader.

So much of Reichheld’s book seemed familiar; akin to common sense…after we read it. Treat employees well and they’ll perform well for you; we’ll that’s pretty basic, now isn’t it? But we tend to forget, we tend to think we need to cut corners or just “improve efficiency” and that’ll lead to greater profits. In the short term it very well may, but Reichheld argues effectively that in the long run it’s only by creating value for our customer that we build profitable businesses.

Remember, People is the third element–along with Brand and Package–of any small business marketing success story. Taking a week or so and reading Frederick Reichheld over lunch or before lights out at night is a great way to hone your “people productivity”.

© 2006 Marketing Hawks

The Benefits of Starting Your Own Bookkeeping Business

Bookkeeping is a profitable business as every business whether it is big or small need to maintain proper financial records. There are many benefits of starting your own bookkeeping business, the best benefit is that you get to write your own pay check! Check out the following list of benefits of running your own bookkeeping business:

1. You write your own pay check – having your own bookkeeping business means that you decide on your own pay check. For example, if you a bookkeeper currently selling your valuable skills to your boss for a $12-$15 per hour, now you may charge easily more than $30 per hour to your client for same type of assignment. Obviously if you are ambitious enough, you stand a very high chance to make more than what you are getting from your day job.

2. You can start at your home – you can start your bookkeeping business at your home and therefore you don’t need to have a huge start up capital. Furthermore, you are not require to clock in at a certain time everyday and you have the convenience of doing your bookkeeping work at your own hours. This is particularly flexible for those who have children at home as it allows flexibility in terms of time arrangement.

3. The demand for bookkeeping services is huge – as mentioned earlier, every business needs to maintain financial records either for tax filing return or for management purposes. As long as there are business, there are demand for the services of bookkeepers!

If you currently working for your boss as a bookkeeper, you may consider starting your own bookkeeping business on a part time basis before giving up your day job as you have the flexibility to do you bookkeeping at your home.

Benefits of Starting Bookkeeping Business From Home

Every business whether big or small has to maintain their financial records. Therefore, almost everyone with sufficient bookkeeping experience,skills and interest can start their own bookkeeping business from home. Check out the following benefits and see whether the business is for you:

i) Low start up capital – the cost of opening your own bookkeeping business can be very low. You need only a personal computer, a printer and a user friendly bookkeeping software. These items may cost you from $1,000 – $3,000 depending on your budget.

ii) Work at your own hours – you can work at your own hours especially if you are a stay at home mom. If you start your business from home, you can choose as long as you want because you are building your own business. In addition, working from home means you don’t need to spend time traveling to and from your office and hence saving time and money.

iii) Make more than working for others – if you were to provide bookkeeping services to small business owners, you will be easily earning more than $25 per hour compared to perhaps $15 per hour if you were to working for other bookkeeping or accounting firm. So starting bookkeeping business from home gives you the opportunity to earn more than what you are getting from working 9 to 5.

iv) Demand of bookkeeping services – the demand for your bookkeeping services is huge as every business whether it is big or small has to maintain proper financial records either for tax filing purpose or for management purposes. Hence, if you were to start bookkeeping business from home, it will be easier to get clients compared to other types of business whether getting enough clients can be hardest part of the business.

If you are an experienced bookkeeper and thinking of starting bookkeeping business from home, you should give it a try as the it is considered on of the most profitable business on account of the low start up capital.

Bookkeeping Business Plan – How To Develop It?

Starting a bookkeeping business is an extremely financially option. There will always be a great need for professional bookkeeping services specifically for small to medium sized companies. Developing a tight and effective business plan should be one of the first steps you take towards achieving success in your bookkeeping business. By designing this plan you are effectively laying out the strategy and goals you want to achieve within a given time.

The steps in creating a business plan for your bookkeeping business are ideally the same as for any other venture. Firstly market research is key- see what your competitors are doing right, and wrong. Research can be easily performed on the web, or you could call up your competitors feigning interest as a potential client to see what services they offer. Learn from your competitors mistakes so you don’t follow the same pitfalls, and improve on the positive aspects of their business.

Potential clients are the key to establishing any successful business; you need to know what the client wants and how to keep them happy. Further to this you need to know how to attract the client in the first place. For a new small bookkeeping business localized pay per click campaigns could be a great method of turning on-line clicks to off-line sales.

In setting up your business plan, you need to know exactly which clientèle you wish to be targeting. Would your bookkeeping business be best suited to dealing with private individuals, small companies or full on corporations? It is advisable to start small and work up to larger clients.

Many smaller scale bookkeeping businesses begin as ‘home based’ and this should be not seen as a negative in the plan. If you have devised a strong plan, growth of the business will be the key and you can plan to move into an office space when it becomes financially viable and turning a profit. It is worth considering the needs of your potential clientele, and in which location you will be best able to serve them. Further to these needs you should likely decided on the required technology to effectively manage your requirements. Again your needs will most likely develop as your business develops, so starting small is a good idea.

As was touched on earlier in this article, the internet can serve a great deal of use in developing your bookkeeping business plan. Firstly it can provide thorough research on your target market, your competitors, and the needs of your potential clientele. Further to research it will be clear to see the most effective form of internet advertising, which will be more than likely localized pay per click marketing campaigns.

The most important aspect of a successful bookkeeping business plan, is to be thorough in everything you set out to achieve. With proper research, understanding potential clientele, and knowing your competition you will have the best chance of not only developing the strongest plan, but also creating the foundation for a successful bookkeeping business.