As the lockdown’s grip gradually begins to loosen and businesses start looking to the future, we consider the steps you can take to help them recover and grow – while doing precisely the same yourselves. Here, the IRIS Keytime team outlines seven steps to help you adapt to the ‘next normal’ and thrive.
- Be indispensable: As businesses consider the coming months, you should be a major part of helping them work through challenges, stay afloat and plan. The pandemic will have seen you provide a far wider range of business advice than usual as clients have turned to you for guidance, especially about the constantly changing Government measures. This dependency is likely to continue on the road to recovery. It is a great opportunity for you to strengthen relationships, provide additional support, and get referrals.
- Communicate your worth: As furlough rules start to shift and bills keep rolling in, many businesses will look to cut costs. Pick up the phone, organise a video call, and keep front of mind at a point when business owners may need to cut back. You provide a service they need, so communicate your worth; you can help them through current and forthcoming challenges and increase their chances of survival. Ensure they understand the breadth of experience you bring, the clarity and support you can give, and the steps you can help them take to stay afloat and prosper.
- Be a start-up supporter: We are likely to witness a new wave of business start-ups in the coming months. This will come from a combination of redundancies, more time for people to contemplate their goals, and months of remote working whetting the appetites for those who want to have a more flexible working life, amongst other factors. Those becoming sole traders or forming businesses will need help, especially if this is their first foray into start-up life. A recent report found that sole traders spend nearly a third of their time on financial admin and small businesses a fifth of their time; there is a huge opportunity for accountants to ease the burden and steer them along. Now is the time to promote what you do to the newcomers.
- Evolve and innovate: An invigored and creative mindset is as important to accountants as it is to clients. There have been many inspiring tales of resilience and ingenuity, with businesses diversifying and innovating their way through the Coronavirus crisis. Be agile, open to evolving, and look for opportunities to stand out in this unique period. For example, can you identify what sectors are growing, where are trends heading, and how can you ensure you get your share?
- Stay on the digital journey: Remote working has led us into a digital revolution, putting software and online tools in the spotlight like never before. Keep up the momentum and encourage clients to leave paperwork in the past on return to the office, opting for digital tools to work more collaboratively with you – like IRIS OpenSpace. Being able to both understand a business’ financial position in real time will only give more control and aid decision making – and products like KashFlow help make this possible.
- Have a positive mindset: Opinions are divided on whether a bounce back or recession beckon, but it is possible to take a conservative approach and be optimistic about the future too. Businesses cannot remain in crisis and survival mode indefinitely, despite the temptation to retreat and protect themselves. Different clients will have different circumstances, but a positive mindset on your part will go a long way. Work together to identify growth strategies, which will instil confidence and put them in the best position to pull out of this.
- Follow your own advice: In advising clients to keep a close eye on cashflow, reflect on opportunities for growth, and embrace digital solutions – the same advice has to be heeded by you too! Treat yourself as a client and consider what you would advise to push your business forward. Look for affordable software that delivers big results, saves time, and makes running a practice easier – have a chat to our team to see how we can help you make a difference.