Case study: Cloud Bookkeeper
Written by Jason Sweetman MIAB – Director of Cloud Bookkeeper
The below case study has kindly been provided by IAB professional member, Jason Sweetman MIAB. He discusses how he set up his own bookkeeping practice and how his website and branding played an important role in helping his business to grow.
Jason Sweetman MIAB started his humble beginnings working within the music industry. He had started his first business by the age of 19 producing his own music and selling vinyl records across the UK. This lead to touring across America, marketing and promoting his music amongst some big audiences as well as working with top 10 chart artists in the UK and America.
With a keen interest in business Jason also managed to open a vinyl record store in the heart of Croydon in 2005 which saw great success with many celebrity customers visiting the store and mentoring artists who went on to have chart success.
Unfortunately business declined due to the impact of Mp3 and illegal downloading. The consumer no longer required a physical item anymore. Major high street record stores had closed down due to the same reasons and the store had to finally close its doors in 2009.
Jason said: “Having a strong interest in business and having handled my own bookkeeping over the years, it seemed like a secure career move to gain a bookkeeping qualification”.
“One of the most financially secure people I had met throughout my career was my accountant. He was an authoritive figure with high levels of knowledge and when we talked about my accounts he would be really interested whereas most people would find it boring. This accountant knew how to grow and run a business as well as being technically knowledgeable. I admired and I respected these qualities.”
Having qualified as a bookkeeper and achieved member status with the IAB, Jason set out on his path to create Cloud Bookkeeper. He chose the name from the cloud software technology which was just starting to come to life in the industry. Many people were not interested in cloud accounting, nor did they understand the benefits, but Jason could instantly see the value in cloud software. It was obvious to him (as he is a bit of a techie) that collaborating on the cloud would open up a whole new way of bookkeeping.
He added: “After choosing the name and clarifying the USP I proceeded to create a brand. I didn’t want the business to be Jason’s Bookkeeping Service, but a brand that could be recognised and grown into a larger business. My mission statement was and still is to be the number 1 service provider for cloud bookkeeping services and take Cloud Bookkeeper to the high street.”
The first step in achieving this goal was the website; a website easily found within the search engines which is clean, crisp and easy to navigate and read. He knew that a website is like your business card and the shop window for your clients. Everyone judges by the kerb appeal. Jason set to work creating ‘www.cloudbookkeeper.co.uk’.
Speaking about gaining his first client he said: “After having no customers and just a website – finally the phone rang one morning. It was a potential client who had found me on the directory listing on the IAB website. After a meeting and presentation there, I was with my first client, a property management company.”
After some time (and determination) the strong branding and website brought in new clients. Personal referrals from existing clients also followed and soon the business began to grow. The vision of Cloud Bookkeeper finally materialised with the first high street office opening in 2015 in Surrey.
Jason concluded: “We live in a world of glossy brands from cars and clothes to cups of coffee, so why not bookkeepers.
“It seems bookkeepers haven’t traditionally needed to market themselves in this way but the way people buy has changed. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a holiday or a bookkeeper, clients no longer go out looking for products and services – they Google them, read reviews and make comparisons. Brands create images which are socially acceptable and gives confidence to the consumer. This, alongside the website, has helped Cloud Bookkeeper secure new business.
“Overall the website and branding of Cloud Bookkeeper has helped the company see rapid growth. Since the opening I have never looked back with a growing portfolio of clients, the business is seeing growth from month to month.”
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