I’m a systems guru, through and through. As a number nerd, I need to be. I need to be able to consult my lists and work my way through them so all my client work gets done to exceed my clients’ expectations.
Sometimes I get interrupted in my work and without a true system or workflow in place, it would be easy to lose my place and forget a step. But with automated systems and workflows, I don’t have to worry about client onboarding or checking off those boxes at the beginning of a new client relationship.
New clients want to see a return on their investment right away. They’re looking for a solution and are looking to you to provide that solution. If you make it easy to work together, with onboarding systems that leave little to the imagination, you’re already a step ahead when it comes to client experience. So what does every business need?
A contract is a non-negotiable for any business, and the benefits will pay off in comfort level for your clients and security for you. I recommend buying a contract template from an attorney, customizing it to meet your needs and having an attorney review your new, customized, template. You can then tweak that template to meet the needs of each specific project or client.
Every contract should include:
- The service (or deliverable) you’re providing
- What the service includes and doesn’t include
- The length of service
- How payment will be handled and what late fees or additional charges that may apply
Having a contract in place helps to avoid scope creep, when the client needs additional help (that you offer) and expects you to provide that work. It might be uncomfortable to think about contracts early in business, but they’re essential in protecting both you and your clients.
Boundaries are a huge part of any relationship–in business or in life. As you’re establishing your initial business relationship, it’s important to set boundaries so your clients know how and when you’ll be communicating.
How do you prefer to communicate with your clients? Do you schedule phone calls? Use Slack or Voxer for quick contacts? Meet in person? Are you 100% virtual like we are? Let your clients know up-front so there’s no question and so you don’t have to have an uncomfortable conversation down the road.Boundaries are an important part of every step in every business relationship. How solid are yours? Click To Tweet
As you onboard new clients, you’ll likely need to gather some information from them. In my business, I need access to financials and other documents when I start working with clients. I send clients a list of information I need from them at the start of our relationship, right after receiving a deposit and signed contract. This allows us get started on the right foot and minimize back-and-forth communication that tends to slow down our processes.
None of these systems work without a workflow and automations to move things along. And the fact that I have everything set up to work without my hands touching every step saves me time and my clients money (because time is money, after all).
When someone is ready to hire you, they’re ready for a solution. They want help, not extra work and wasted time. The easier you make your onboarding process for both you and your clients, the more raving fans you’ll have in the long run.
If you need help developing onboarding systems, visit the Template Shop for a handful of both accounting- and bookkeeping-specific and service-based onboarding workflows.