old clients and new clients post it note

3 ways to find the value in your current client base

I don’t know about you, but Covid has me all out of whack. In the past, I’ve had a clear roadmap for growing my business and it’s worked. Since Covid, however, it now feels like all the roads are ‘under construction’ and we’ve been diverted but without being told where to go.

Now, an easy trap to fall into is to do nothing. Nobody knows what’s going to happen over the next year after all, so why bother? I’ll just carry on doing a bit here and there and my business will be fine.

While that may feel like a good decision to make, it is actually a risk. It’s akin to driving with your eyes closed or without a SatNav.

We can all grow our businesses during a recession. We can all thrive and win new business, actual clients that we want; we just need to know which direction we are going and how we are going to get there.

Here’s how to do just that.

1. Create a growth plan and strategy

If you want to grow, you first need to know where you want to go and then outline the roadmap to help you get there. For example, write down your ONE BIG FOCUS for the year. Maybe it is to win X amount of clients or reach a financial goal. Whatever it is, make this your yearly goal and then work backwards. What do you have to do every quarter, every month, and every week to achieve this?

2. Find your ‘golden egg’ clients

The next step is to find your diamonds in the rough, Where are the easy wins in your current client portfolio? Who gives you the biggest bang for your buck? Who do you love working with the most and who pays you the best? Do a full analysis of your existing clients and you’ll find who your ‘golden egg’ clients are. These are the people who are most valuable to you.

3. Focus your marketing to win these high-value clients

Once you know who your most valuable clients are, create detailed client personas for these clients. Outline as much as you can about them (e.g. age, gender, goals, values, challenges, fears etc) and then use these to tailor your marketing message. If all of your marketing material talks directly to them, addressing their challenges and appealing to their wants and needs, you’ll find that you’ll start to win many more of these clients.

Find your current value and use it to grow your business

If you want to grow your business, even during a recession, it’s not about finding more and more clients. It’s about looking for the diamond in the rough and finding those golden egg clients that you already have. Once you know who your ideal client is, you can then create effective marketing materials and streamline your processes to win these bigger and better clients.


Do new small businesses need an accountant?

According to business start-up statistics in the UK, 20% of businesses fail in their first year and around 60% will go bust within their first three years. Approximately 660,000 new start-ups register in the UK every year according to The Telegraph, so what are the reasons for such a high failure rate?

While there are many factors, the top two reasons start-ups fail is because:

  1. there’s no market need for their services or products, or;
  2. they ran out of cash.

These two reasons, like many of the others, could have potentially been avoided if they had consulted professionals early on in the process of setting up their business. Professionals such as accountants.

Here are 9 ways that new or early-stage businesses benefit if they consult an accountant earlier rather than later.

9 ways an accountant can help new businesses

They can help you…

  1. Identify whether your new business idea is feasible – an accountant can help you analyse your market research data to see if there’s enough demand for your product or service to sustain your business. They can also assist with outlining your business goals too.
  2. Decide on a business structure – choosing your business structure can impact your tax, personal liabilities, and asset protection etc. An accountant can help you choose the right one, saving you time and money in the process.
  3. Create a business plan – a big chunk of your business plan will be your financial forecast which outlines your business costs, revenue projections and the funding you will need. Naturally, an accountant is the best professional to help you with this cost analysis.
  4. Secure funding – accountants can advise you on which lenders to approach as well as helping you create your loan pitch. They can help you create an accurate and reliable economic forecast for your business.
  5. Register your business – you will need to register your business with the government and the Internal Revenue Services (IRS). An accountant can assist with this as well as registering you for tax, applying for licenses and permits you may need, and setting up your business bank account.
  6. Choose the best business insurance – an accountant can advise you on the best insurance options to ensure you have complete protection at the most cost-effective price. They can help with property and vehicle insurance to professional liability and business interruption insurance.
  7. Make the right recruitment decisions – from advising you on recruitment decisions (e.g. whether a part-time employee or outsourcing makes more financial sense) to helping you with payroll and auto-enrolment, accountants can help significantly when hiring employees.
  8. Set up cloud accounting software – accountants can help you run your business more efficiently by looking at your processes and advising on the most appropriate cloud accounting software. Some even offer migration, set up, and training services when it comes to software too.
  9. Plan for the future – great accountants become a trusted member of your team. They help you set your business goals and they provide you with ongoing advice and support throughout the years to help you achieve them.

Always seek an accountant’s advice when starting a new business

Failing to properly plan for the financial needs of a new business will undoubtedly lead to challenges. Challenges that could lead to the complete failure of the business if left unaddressed.

By getting an accountant involved as early as possible in the process, they can identify and mitigate any risks for you and help you budget and forecast your finances. With an accountant by your side, you’re far more likely to be a part of the 40% of new businesses that survive the 3-year mark!

alarm clock

How to break free from the ‘Groundhog Day Effect’

We are coming up to a year now of being frozen in time. In fact, it’s starting to feel very much like the start of the pandemic where the government are talking about maybe lifting restrictions if the cases continue to fall. Even though it’s lockdown number three and 15 million people have been vaccinated against the virus, it’s still not looking like we’ll see normality any time soon.

Whereas we could break up the monotony of everyday life before the pandemic, we can’t just take a quick trip out of town or spend an evening at a friend’s house for some variety. We are still faced with this vast expanse of time where we can’t punctuate the end of the day, never mind the end of the week.

So what can we do? How can we break free from this groundhog day feeling, so that we can muster up the energy to make it through the next few months?

6 tips to mix things up

  1. Create a routine and stick to it – it might be boring, but a routine gives you a specific start and finish to your day. Without it, you will just aimlessly float through the days and this will make that groundhog feeling worse.
  2. Inject variety into your free time – while your routine during work hours may be the same each day, around that time is where you can be spontaneous and make each day different. While one evening, you may choose to take a bike ride, the next you could FaceTime a friend, take a bath or run some errands.
  3. Pick a skill to master – mastering a skill doesn’t only stimulate our brains (which is essential for our mental health), but it also gives us a goal and allows us to progress with something. Improving with something makes us experience growth and gives us a sense of control which is essential in this environment.
  4. Focus on exercise – exercise releases endorphins and serotonin (happy hormones); it helps us to sleep and actually gives us more energy. If you can, exercise for 10-30 minutes every day. You can mix it up with a walk one day, yoga the next, and a HIIT workout the next, whatever suits you.
  5. Be there for others – while you might not feel like you have the energy, try helping others. Check-in with your parents and grandparents regularly during the week or research how you can virtually volunteer or help a cause. Being kind will give your days more meaning and it will help you and the people you’re helping feel good.
  6. Seek help – if you’re struggling, don’t struggle alone. Ring a friend or seek support from your family. If you’d rather, reach out to an online Therapist. There are people who care about you and want to listen, and it’s okay to lean on them too. They might be able to provide you with some much-needed perspective.

Even small changes can go a long way

Some days will be harder than others, but even small changes can go a long way. Little things such as walking a different route every day can make you feel refreshed and ready to get back to work or juggling the family. Even if you feel like succumbing to that numbing and self-defeated feeling some days, try to do at least one thing that is different. You might just be surprised by the result.

the benefits of hiring an apprentice

The benefits and costs of hiring an apprentice

If you’re at the point where you can’t take on any more work or, to grow your business, you need to hire more staff…hiring an apprentice is as good an option as any. Yes, they might not be as experienced as a fully trained potential employee, but you can mould them to fill any specialist gaps in your firm.

Getting some new blood on board can be a great investment, you just have to know what to expect. Here are the pros and cons of hiring an apprentice.


You save money

The current Apprenticeship Levy means that businesses who qualify only have to pay 5% towards the cost of training and assessing your apprentice, and the government will pay the remaining 95%. If you hire an apprentice between 1 August 2020 and 31 March 2021, you can also claim up to £2,000 as an incentive payment.

You can delegate the low-value tasks

Apprentices will happily do the grunt work which will free your employees up to do the things of higher-value. Not only will this enable your apprentice to learn the ropes, but it will improve productivity and morale in the whole team too.

You gain a fresh perspective

If apprentices don’t have much experience, they will be able to look at your processes in a way that will make you question why you never thought of that yourself. The younger generation has strong technology skills, so you may be surprised by the new ideas they come up with.

You can bridge your skills gap

If you are finding it difficult to recruit people with certain skills that you need to move your business forward, apprenticeships can open you up to a whole new pool of applicants who you can train for this specific role.

You can improve your bottom line

Yes, apprentices are an investment initially. However, if you train and develop them right, within a year onwards, they can help improve your bottom line


You have to commit

Unlike when you hire an experienced employee, apprentices can’t hit the ground running. They need supervision at all times. You will need to dedicate significant time to training them, in even the simplest of things such as workplace etiquette, and email and phone protocol.

You have to be prepared for mistakes

Apprentices won’t know everything and maybe slower to learn than you’re used to. From the get-go, you need to be prepared for some muck ups. Use these opportunities to teach them how to learn from their mistakes and explain why things are done a certain way.

You could end up losing them

There is always the risk that your apprentice could complete their training with you but then leave to work for someone else. With that being said, however, 90% of apprentices tend to stay on after their qualification has finished.

You are put through a lengthy process

The process for hiring an apprentice isn’t quick and easy, to say the least. For this reason, you need to find a candidate that you believe will not only fit your company but will learn and grow at the pace you want to be a successful addition to your business.

You need to be aware of what is expected of you

If your apprentice is still completing their studies, you have to give them paid time off for this. You will also have to cover the cost of their training (on top of their salary) and 20% of their work hours needs to be off-the-job training.

An apprentice is a great investment (if you take the time to nurture them!)

Hiring an apprentice brings many benefits but only if you take the time to properly mentor them. If you’re aware of the drawbacks and you set aside time to really develop them in your firm, you can reap all the benefits of moulding new, young, and fresh employees.