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About Alley Rubadeau

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So far Alley Rubadeau has created 4 blog entries.
15 11, 2019

Find Your People – How to Identify Your Ideal Customer

2019-11-15T22:57:04+00:00

At Singletrack Bookkeeping, our ideal customers are “mountain people” (a concept, an attitude – not necessarily a physical location): they are positive people, they love fresh air and the great outdoors, they work hard and then go play harder. They are driven and want to be in control of their own future, and maybe we’re a little weird…and definitely want it all. Lifestyle Entrepreneurs.

It is so important for small business owners to identify customers they want to work with, who they are speaking to, who they are building their product or service for, and what message they are sending to their audience. 

In our last blog post, 5 Marketing Strategies to Kick Start Growth, we touched on customer personas. Customer personas are a way to define your ideal customer. Keep in mind, not every business will have the same criteria when defining their ideal customer. If you provide a service, you may take into account the characteristics of the type of person you are working with. If you are selling a product, it becomes more important to focus on demographics such as age, gender, income level, and spending habits. The key component is that this ideal customer is someone you want to work with and/or sell to. This customer is high spending, loyal, and will refer you to their network. 

Friends drinking wine outside by a jeep

How do you go about collecting this information? Here are a few examples. *Note: this will vary between businesses. 

1- Keyword research

What are customer’s typing in to find your brand? For example, let’s say you have a food product. Are they typing [brand name] organic? This would indicate that this person values organic food over other factors such as price. This would fulfill the ‘motivation’ part of a persona.  

2- Social Media Insights

Social media analytics already have behavior tied into insights. With Facebook ads for example, you can run several tests to see what resonates with different audiences. You can run tests to see which photos, messaging, and landing pages are resonating. In a recent study, we found that a video from the founder of the company produced a 3x conversion rate compared with static images of their products. We realized the audience valued authenticity which filled the ‘influences’ section of the customer persona. 

3- Talk to real people

Start talking to real people who might fit your customer personas. Ask them questions about their pain points, motivations, buying behavior, and who influences them. 

4- Perform small tests

As an entrepreneur you will encounter failure. It is inevitable. One way to minimize risk is to perform small tests and fail fast. Take failure as a learning experience and know that you are that much closer to finding your ideal customer. Learn, grow, and evolve. 

Get into action!

Grab a beverage, drawing paper and something to write with. It’s time to have fun building your customer avatars.  Give them a name, photo, and back story. The more detail you can give this ideal person, the more powerful your decision making will be later.

Customer persona example

Photo Credit: Himangshu Borah

Now that you have built your customer personas, it’s time to get strategic. Here a few examples:

1- Create clever content related to your personas. If you’re ideal customer is an environmentally conscious millennial with kids, remind them that your hotel has a kid-friendly pool, poolside bar, and cocktails with 100% compostable straws. 

2- Market where your customers spend most of their time. By now you have done the research, collected data, and talked to people to understand which marketing channel resonates with them. Focus on THAT.  Iterate quickly and double down on what’s working.

3- Partner with influencers your ideal customer personas value. This doesn’t mean you have to strike a deal with Kilee Jenner tomorrow. There are lots of micro-influencers that are happy to partner with brands for little money or product trades. This is a quick way to build trust with a new segment by attaching yourself to similar interests and values.There are also bigger companies such as 1% for the planet you can partner with by giving away 1% of total sales back to environmental philanthropy causes. If your customer values the environment, this is a way to show them your commitment to their values. 

Don’t forget – Always. Be. Testing. Just because you have made customer personas does not mean they wont change along the life cycle of your business. People evolve, companies evolve. Make sure your message evolves with it. The wrong customer + the wrong business = a lot of time and advertising dollars wasted. This simple exercise is a critical step for a new startup or existing business. It’s a very powerful way to get you closer to your customer. Once you identify your ideal customer you can set a true north for business decisions.

Find Your People – How to Identify Your Ideal Customer2019-11-15T22:57:04+00:00
7 10, 2019

5 Marketing Strategies to Kick Start Growth

2019-10-07T14:15:06+00:00

You’ve written a business plan, designed a logo, built a website, launched on social media and BAM! Time for sales to roll in. However; if you are like the majority of new businesses you may be hearing crickets. 

You might be sitting on a great business but that means nothing if your customers can’t find you. Have you ever heard the saying, “Build it and they will come?” Well, that’s not usually the case. Don’t worry. We’re here to help you gain some brand exposure to get you off on the right track. Learn 5 marketing strategies to kick start your growth. 

1- Know your customers

Customer profiles, also known as “personas,” are a way to define your customer. Before starting to advertise, perform an exercise to create the ideal customer for your business. By defining your customer, you can notice patterns that will benefit your advertising efforts. Identify attributes such as demographics, product usage, generation, income level, and geography. For example, the brand, LuluLemon’s ideal customer is a single, professional female named Ocean who makes $100,000 per year and drives a Subaru. Ocean is also engaged, owns a condo, travels, is fashionable, and has 30 minutes to work out a day. Pretty specific. 

Pro tip: If you find out your ideal customer is not what you thought, don’t be afraid to pivot your marketing strategy. 

LuluLemon Customer Profile

Photo credit: Medium

2- Understand the importance of SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is crucial when building a website. When people think of SEO, they generally vision a developer in their basement hacking away on a computer fooling us all with their algorithms. If you envision this – you are probably right. Google is really just a giant algorithm and while SEO gurus might not be hacking away in their basement, they have spent countless hours learning the system. Hire a professional or dedicate some hours teaching yourself the tricks and trades of SEO. If done right, it will pay off over time. 

Pro tip: beware of the web designer who designs a really beautiful site but is not knowledgeable in SEO. You will be left with a masterpiece that no one will see. 

3- Instagram and Facebook Social Media Engagement 

Unless you are Kim Kardashinan, building a social media audience takes hard work and time. Forget the “get rich quick” ads that pop up in your newsfeed to grow your followers. They are using tools that Instagram frowns upon. Instagram knows when you are not being genuine and they will rank you lower in their algorithm preventing your followers from seeing your posts. Growing your accounts takes hands on action. For Facebook and Instagram, follow relevant users, businesses, and groups that would be interested in your business. Start interacting with these users by liking and commenting on their photos. In turn, they will be curious about who you are and if they’re interested they will follow your account. If you’re short on time, reach out to Chair 9 Marketing. They have an entire team of social media professionals who would be happy to give you some manpower. 

Pro tip: strike up conversations with your followers. Facebook and Instagram will rank you higher in their algorithm if you are a real, genuine company who generates questions and interest from your followers. 

4- Build Reviews

We cannot emphasize the importance of reviews. We live in a time where trust is the forefront of consumer buying decisions. Consumers are reading reviews at an increasing rate while the accessibility of reviews is growing. The market can be saturated and when a consumer is debating between your business and a competitors, they are likely to read reviews, especially in the restaurant, hotel, and the travel industry. A couple of ways reviews can help is by increasing brand credibility, improving SEO with mentions on external sites, create brand awareness, and drive traffic to your site. Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews. 

Pro tip: Respond to EVERY review, good and bad. Companies that demonstrate they are present and on top of reviews stand out even if you are politely responding to a bad review. Don’t worry – they happen to everyone. 

Singletrack Bookkeeping Review Example 

5- Google My Business

By creating a Google My Business profile you are setting yourself up for increased traffic, credibility, an easier way for people to contact you, and local foot traffic (if that pertains to you). Google My Business has tons of features such as Google Maps for your business, photos, contact information, reviews, posts, and social media links. Therefore; if a potential or current customer is conducting a search on Google, they can find what they are looking for on the results page without clicking. We are all looking to save time and as a business you should make it easier for customers to get the information they need. No clicks needed. 

Pro tip: Keep your information current such as your hours, contact information, photos, and posts. As you can see below having current  photos, reviews, contact information, posts and social profiles can lead to better search results and help your listing shine!

Google My Business example

6- Do what works for your business and Always Be Testing (ABT)

Are you selling nursing bras to millennial mothers? You might have an entirely different marketing plan than a company selling thai chi to active seniors. What might work for one company will most likely not be the silver bullet for the other company. Don’t be afraid to test out different marketing channels, website layouts, and execution. You might be crushing it on Instagram but Facebook may be dead in the water. Your business may become a smashing success on YouTube, while another business may be getting 11 views. Always be testing. 

Pro tip: Make sure you have tracking in place that measures success such as Google Analytics, social media pixels, and bookkeeping from day one to ensure you have full visibility of your analytics. Out of your wheelhouse? Hire a professional that can help you set it up but make sure you educate yourself with the general knowledge on how all the tracking is reported. Google Analytics and your accounting books will most likely places you visit often. 

5 Marketing Strategies to Kick Start Growth2019-10-07T14:15:06+00:00
10 09, 2019

Search and Rescue for Businesses

2019-09-11T17:51:39+00:00

We’ve heard it before, think before you jump, fall before you fly. Starting a business takes guts and grit and lots of businesses fail. However; if done correctly your business has the potential to be wildly successful. Like anything in life, when starting a business, there are certain precautions you take to minimize risk. These include scoping out your target market, finding out whether or not there is a market, looking at competition, financial projections, and cash flow run rate to name a few. We break down startup 101 “search and rescue” in terms our readers are likely to relate to. 

Backcountry skiing

Singletrack Bookkeeping has roots in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, which is known for their “champagne powder.” We get an average of 300 inches of snow per year. While this is a mecca for blasty blast powder skiing, the risk of going out of the ski resort and into the backcountry becomes a calculated risk. We prepare by taking avalanche classes, buying rescue gear, picking our ski partners wisely, and checking the avalanche forecast before heading out. The same concept applies to starting a business. Education before execution. Piss poor planning equals piss poor performance.  

Free soloing 

Alex Honnold, a professional climber, recently free soled El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. No small feat as this was the most dangerous free solo ascent ever. Although free soloing is an individual sport which involves rock climbing without any ropes, he had many smart people around him while climbing and preparing for El Capitan. Before heading out to climb he had carefully scoped his route, talked with many climbers in the industry, and had confidence he had the skills to get himself out of a potentially sticky situation. The same concept goes into starting your business. You scope out your plan (line), talk with other founders (climbers) who have done it before, surround yourself with smart people, and prepare yourself with the skills needed to execute. Talking with founders who have climbed the same line will save you from potential future mistakes they have already made and give you insider knowledge on successes. Most former founders also enjoy giving back and helping out their fellow entrepreneurs.  

Athlete free solo climbing on a rock face

Mountain Biking

There are few things greater than flying down singletrack on a mountain bike, still in control, but right on the edge of losing control. The wind in your hair, the sensation of going fast, the bike controllably shaking until the moment you go ass over tea kettle. If you have been mountain biking long enough, you know what we’re talking about. You’re in control and suddenly you’re on the ground. In running a business, the same concept applies. Growing too quickly can be as problematic as growing too slow. You can get yourself into a dilemma where you lose track of finances, hire the wrong people in order to keep up with demand, overvalue sales, lose customer service points, and more. If you find yourself in this situation touch the brakes, have patience, take it one step at a time, and always keep good track of your finances. 

Whitewater Rafting

Fill your boat with the right people. While whitewater rafting 90% of the time is typically on flat water, the other 10% is on rapids, sometimes mellow class 2 rapids and sometimes intense class 5 rapids. While riding a class 5 rapid, all hands on deck becomes crucial. The guide needs to be steering and paddling at the same time while the rest of the crew needs to be paddling hard to keep the boat pointing downstream to avoid the dreaded “flip” or “dump truck.” Equilibrium has never been so important. If one side is paddling hard while the other side is hardly paddling, the boat will go horizontal and all the team members will be taking a swim. Communication, trust, and everyone contributing gets you through tough business challenges as well as down river. This is where choosing your team wisely becomes important.

Group of people Whitewater rafting down a river

Starting a business involves calculated risk, planning, making key financial decisions, surrounding yourself with smart people and not getting over your skis. You don’t want to travel to the trail, only to realize you forgot your bike.  It is a lot faster and more efficient if you get the steps right. Whether you are in the beginning stages of your business or are well established, Singletrack can help! We offer new business setup, bookkeeping, tax planning, and business tax returns services. We are simple, affordable, and individual.  

At Singletrack Bookkeeping, we take adventure as seriously as we do our accounting. Reach out!

Search and Rescue for Businesses2019-09-11T17:51:39+00:00
2 08, 2019

Accounting and Bookkeeping Basics for Chiropractors

2019-08-02T20:19:49+00:00

As a chiropractor, you are an expert in your trade. You are far more busy taking care of your clients than your financials. When it comes to tasks such as accounting and bookkeeping, you may feel a bit lost. Like most business owners, you may wonder if you are doing your books correctly. In this article, we break down some basics of accounting and bookkeeping for chiropractors and suggestions on how to make your life easier. 

Automation 

Doing data entry manually into a spreadsheet is old school and time-consuming. We highly recommend using cloud based software such as Quickbooks Online that syncs up your books in real-time. Not only does this save you a tremendous amount of time but it’s backed up safely in the cloud so you don’t have to worry about losing all your data or accidentally adding an extra zero to your books.  

Regular Financial Checkups

Knowledge is power when it comes to your business’s financial health and making informed business decisions. Performing weekly checkups on your finances is a good way to make sure your cash flow is healthy, expenses are being paid, and money is being put back into the business. This is where automation comes into play. If you have a system in place to keep track of what is going in and out automatically, financial checkups will be a breeze. 

Quarterly Reviews

Quarterly reviews are key to staying on track financially. At the end of each quarter, take a close look at your bookkeeping and accounting records. Look for changes in year over year revenue, late paying clients, expenses, etc… Speak with your accounting pro to discuss how things can be improved, any unforeseen tax expenses, and a plan going forward. They can help you see the big picture and prepare for circumstances in the future such as a new office space, new equipment, hiring, or an economic downturn.

Have a Check-In

Business owner chiropractor working on his computerAfter you have evaluated quarterly reviews, have a check-in on your financial health with an accounting pro. Some questions to consider:

What are my biggest expenses? There are some expenses you cannot avoid such as payroll, supplies, and rent but what about some of those subscriptions you haven’t used in a year or the vendor that keeps increasing their bill? You may want to cancel some unused subscriptions and find a less expensive vendor. 

Cash Flow. It is important to look at the big picture rather than your bank account on a day by day basis. You may be growing and cash may be coming in the door, but are your expenses increasing? Do you have enough cash flow if there is a slow period? 

Accounts Receivable. Unfortunately, most practices are not collecting all the money they earned. Let’s face it, it’s brutal collecting from insurance companies and patients. This is where automation and hiring a tax professional comes in so you don’t leave money on the table.

Are there any gaps? By keeping your book up to date, you will quickly have full visibility to what is going on with your finances. This will avoid any gaps and help prepare for financial circumstances. 

Tax Deadlines

Always be prepared for tax deadlines. You want to make sure you don’t miss any quarterly payments, 1099 deadlines, reporting, etc… Two things can help keep you on track: accounting software and your accountant. You can set up reminders on Quickbooks Online to help you stay on track or your accountant always has your back on deadlines. 

Hire a Pro

You can make more money, but you cannot make more time. What is your time worth to you? Think about all the precious time you would save hiring an accounting pro. Not only would you save time but you can rest easy knowing your books will be done correctly. Come tax time, you can relax and have peace of mind knowing you will not need to spend multiple hours, even days getting your books together. This time can be spent doing the things you love with the people you love. Priceless.

Best Accounting Service for Chiropractors

At Singletrack Bookkeeping, our chiropractor bookkeeping services are designed for business owners like you. We want you to have a successful practice and not have to worry about accounting so you can focus on your trade while we focus on ours. Our solutions will keep your books current and your tax burden low. We offer all-inclusive accounting packages for every size practice. To take the next step, reach out to our expert team online.    

Accounting and Bookkeeping Basics for Chiropractors2019-08-02T20:19:49+00:00