Abel admitted to having a few “paper hold-outs” among her clients. She honored these clients’ requests to be left out of the Cloud, but was also direct on what they were missing.
“I explained that online services offer unlimited access to me. At any time a client can request a file and have it sent immediately,” Abel said.
Abel’s paper-based clients are also restricted to a set number of hours per month. Under her fee scale, clients receive four hours of onsite time for review and consulting. If more time is required, they pay extra. For her web-based clients, the lines of communication are open 24/7.
“I was direct with clients when it came to my time,” Abel explained. “If they were online, they had all of me. If not, they didn’t.”
With a highly efficient workflow in place, Abel was also able to implement value pricing and ditch her hourly billing model.
“My clients have never so much as questioned my fixed fee. Knowing that under this fee there is no restriction on my time, they are in immediately,” Abel explained.
Still Growing Strong
“I’m up to 45 clients and predict continued growth,” Abel said. “It’s just so easy to service clients in the virtual environment. I can now accomplish tasks in minutes.”
Because her firm is established in the Cloud, she was also able to hire two part-time contract employees without leasing office space.
“I have one employee in Michigan and one here in Sarasota. Both work from their homes like I do and have full access to the technology and data,” Abel explained.
Overall, Abel’s outlook on the future of Lime & Company is bright. Cloud computing completely changed the way she operates her firm and serves her clients. By eliminating the boundaries of time and distance, growth potential is unlimited.
“Technology is what initially held me back,” Abel said. “But in the end, it’s what allowed me to launch my firm and grow very quickly. I would tell anyone thinking about starting a firm, but intimidated by technology, to look into Cloud applications. These advanced technologies really do take IT out of the equation.”
Stats at a Glance
- Firm website: limeandcompany.com
- Year founded: 2005
- Total employees: 1 full-time; 2 part-time
- Home base: Sarasota, Florida
- Firm description: Full-service accounting practice for small businesses
- Technology of Choice: SmartVault, InsynQ, Hosted QuickBooks, Fujitsu ScanSnap