Accounting Marketing DIY
If someone is a doctor or lawyer, it's safe to assume that they are reasonably intelligent. However, that doesn't mean that they are well equipped to build a house, fix a car or manage their own accounting. Just because someone is intelligent about a subject matter, that doesn't mean they are well equipped to tackle any project.
Clearly, intelligence is not the issue. Knowledge, training, experience and passion are the factors that enable us to become experts in our own little worlds.
For example, a chef may be a phenomenal cook but know very little about opening a restaurant from scratch, getting bodies in the door, how to manage it day-in and day-out and keep the bar-tender from robbing him blind.
The same rationale goes for CPAs and accountants. They are intelligent but that does not ensure that they are effective at marketing, rain making and practice development. In reality, many CPAs and accountants have very little training and experience with marketing prior to opening a practice and can go to the school of hard knocks in a sink or swim fashion. To lower the risk of failure, many new practitioners will acquire the knowledge from a practice development firm.
In our experience, we have found that most CPAs and accountants can become very effective rain makers with a little training and practice. The challenge is to develop a system for continuous lead generation that works for your practice and geographic marketing area.
Many "new" CPA and accounting firms will try to build a practice on referrals from existing friends, associates and contacts. Referrals are very cost effective and very little selling is involved because the prospect is motivated and it's more like order taking. Unfortunately, most referrals come from existing clients and "new" firms have very few clients to generate referrals from.
The second challenge with building a "new" practice strictly on referrals is that it can take a long time, which means that cash will be tight for quite a while (possibly years) and the practitioner will need to be a one person band. This entry strategy requires a lower upfront investment but prolongs the agony.
To remedy this, many new CPA and accounting firms will try marketing their practice in a trial and error fashion. While this works occasionally with a combination of luck and skill, it often wastes significant money and is sub-optimal. By sub-optimal, I mean that the practice becomes a collection of whatever client walks in the door, pricing is too low, and each client is processed differently, which leads to inefficiencies. Clearly, I recognize that many practices must start on a tight budget but every new practice needs a system for marketing, selling and processing clients.
When you start a new practice, you need to juggle several balls in the air simultaneously. The first ball is marketing and lead generation, the second ball is pricing and rain making, the third is processing the work efficiently. The fourth ball is managing the overall practice as a business and not do everything yourself, but it often gets lost since so much time is focused on the first three balls and money is too tight to hire staff. By default, the practice becomes an overwhelming job that has tons of inefficient operating practices and pays the practitioner little relative to the number of hours that are being invested.
To shorten your learning curve, ramp up your practice quicker, and run the practice more like a business (rather than an endless job), we highly recommend that you invest in acquiring a system to market and develop your practice. The marketing and practice development system that you acquire will help you run your accounting practice for years.
Don't be penny wise and pound foolish. Invest a little upfront to acquire the knowledge on how to develop your own practice before hanging out your shingle.
Build Your Firm offers marketing programs for accountants designed to help you take control of marketing your practice.
Accounting Marketing Program: A complete system to grow your practice focusing on reliable lead generation using inbound marketing, pricing, and selling. The Accounting Marketing Program is designed for accounting firms who want a life-long practice development system that delivers an ongoing flow of clients. It's an educational program that delivers a modern system for reliable lead generation, pricing and selling.
Outsourced Marketing Program for Accountants: A complete program including ongoing coaching, outsourced marketing and lead generation for accounting firms that do not want to manage marketing in house. We work with you to customize a program that suits your practice and your local market characteristics, allowing you to acquire new business less expensively than buying a practice, while growing at a steady, controlled pace.
By Hugh Duffy
About the Author: Hugh Duffy is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder of Build Your Firm, a practice development and marketing provider for accounting firms. They work with small and medium sized accounting firms and offer a free email newsletter. Visit www.buildyourfirm.com or call 888-999-9800.