To support FT's campaign to get everyone blogging I thought i would grab some time to put one togetther.
Its been hectic at AM towers these last 2 months and I have been rushed off my feet. I had set out this year to double again in size, with both clients and fees, my reason for this is that it would see me at capacity for my current setup by March 2018. It was my intention then to drop a lot of my marketing and look to consolidate what clients I have. Next year I intend to go through every job and on compliance based jobs uplift the price for extras that have crept in over time, with a view to get and extra £100 to £200 per client in most cases. Then try and upsell some extra services to those clients that are suitable. I want to try and get an extra 20% to 30% in extra fees from existing clients next year, so the growth will be from within (hopefully). I find the marketing, meeting, on boarding of clients takes a lot out of you and feel I will do better when I can focus on lookng after my clients with less focus on growing which I have had to do for the first 3 years.
I have been doing a few Xero conversions where there has been say a March Y/E to do quickly, then inputting 6 months into Xero, so when you do that for a few clients its a lot of graft, good fees, but stretches your resources.
I like the Autumn as some of my better jobs have summer year ends so I like doing these early so I have been doing them, the Autumn is also the best time for decent referrals which started coming in August and been steady ever since. There is 4 traditional mid tier firms that operate in my catchment area, I have signed up jobs from all 4 of them in the last 6 weeks which I am pleased with, as I want to pitch myself as an alternative to these firms smaller clients as opposed to trying to compete with some of the local home workers/bookkeepers who work very cheaply near me. I am slightly ahead of my business plan but I think that will tail off towards end of year as i am ahead of where I was last year, but i think i will hit my tartget for the year. So its been busy but good busy, with some better work. I am about 90% done with tax returns I hoped to be comeplete by 31.10.2017 but I will still have a few to do before Christmas. I have also had some success upselling some services for additonal reporting better fee work. I also signed up some really interesting work which could go big, and I have my first few millenial clients.
But like anything in life when things are going well there is often a kick in the nuts waiting for you around the corner. About 4 weeks ago my Dad had a fall when out and broke his hip. He waited for 4 hours for an ambulance (him and my mam are from a generation where they dont like to bother people). They then called me and I went picked him up at the cafe he had fallen, managed to get him in my car and then took him to A & E. Seeing someone who has done so much for me and I respect so much, screaming in agony next to you is as bad as it gets and is heart breaking. I broke a few laws on the way there it has to be said. He is still in hospital now, for those of you in the South 4 hour waits for an ambulance is the sort of austerity we face here up North.
So I have been in office at 7.00am for last 6 weeks, busy all day then visting my poor old Dad after work, home for maybe 7 or 8 at night then often a few hours more when I get in. Its been really tiring and you can only work like this for short spells otherwise it wipes you out. I missed most of half term but went up to meet the family in Northumbelrand last Wednesday night and had 4 days up there with limited phone and email, which If I am honest I really needed. I slept for 14 hours solid on the Wednesday night. I also managed the 2 days down in the smoke at the start of October for Xerocon which I really enjoyed and was a good distraction with everthing else that was going on. I came back with some good ideas and the time out gave me some re focus time.
I have broke the back of my work now and things will ease off up to Christmas. September was my best month ever to date, October is going to be better still. So I am happy with that. What I have noticed is that when working at full tilt it maginifies all your ineffeciencies and where your time gets eroded. I have got a lot of notes jotted down on areas I need to get better at, and will be reviewing all systems in the New Year. I have been looking at proposal sofwtare as that is something I need to do better, I have also parked the rolling out of Senta when MTD was delayed which I need to pick up or maybe consider Xero HQ if thats going to be a big thing for Xero users.
Anyway its my birthday today, another year older, not sure if I am wiser but I am getting there, I am going to grab a coffee and some brithday cake then give it a few hours on this business plan I am working on for some equity investment for a client. So must crack on folks.