If you focus only on one approach in business development, you will be limiting your percentages for success. by Nicholas D. Keseric Jr. via Engineered Tax Services If you only do one thing to position your firm and yourself in your marketplace, you will be missing out on most of the market. Many things together, over time, will result in an increased chance for achieving your goals.
Some tips for building relationships and developing business…
Looking for younger, newer, larger clients? Only about 12% of small business are on Twitter, but one in five of those report having made a purchase decision using Twitter — a hit ratio that’s hard to ignore. So, who exactly makes up this potentially profitable outlier segment? These businesses are likely to be: Younger: Owners are less than 45 years old. Newer: The business is less than 5 years in tenure. Larger: Perhaps counter-intuitively, 10 or more employees, potentially indicating there is an employee – and not the owner – who is following tweets. While most accounting firms are still trying to figure out how to use Twitter in a practical way, its hard to to argue Twitter should be [...]
“Mirror, mirror on the wall: How am I doing?”
Despite economic recovery, many firms seem unable to capitalize on new opportunities. Click here to join the Tax Season 2011 survey; get the results. Tax accountants are finishing the 2011 busy season with stronger results than they expected, but – perhaps surprisingly — not as strong as last year, despite somewhat improved economic conditions. CPA Trendlines research suggests that many accounting firms may have over-reacted to the 2007 market crash by cutting staff and billing rates, leaving them unprepared to capitalize on the opportunities of the 2011 recovery.
Start with a strategy and realistic expectations. Robin Brothers, relationship manager at The Rainmaker Academy, explains why some firms may never be ready to hire a business development professional. More CPA Trendlines coverage here.
Kirkland Albrecht & Fredrickson battles a bruising recession. by Rick Telberg By the time you read this, Ken Kirkland will be packing for a trip to the India beach resort of Thiruvananthapuram as the newly named international chairman of the JHI accounting firms network. As a leader of the 120-firm, 55-nation group, Kirkland hopes to help build stronger programs, increase participation and attract new members. “As companies like ours want to stay independent,” he says, “it’s important to be affiliated with a group like JHI to access additional resources and opportunities.” While that job sounds formidable, it pales in comparison to the challenges Kirkland faces as the chief executive of Braintree, Mass.-based seven-partner, 58-staffer CPA firm Kirkland Albrecht & Fredrickson [...]
With email marketing emerging as the weapon of choice for business-hungry accounting firms, we figured some firms could use a few pointers E-mail marketing giant MailerMailer’s latest E-Mail Marketing Metrics Report reveals the six key factors that determine whether or not clients and prospects open (and respond to) your e-mail newsletters and promotions. Here are the study’s six key findings, based on a study of over 300 million business e-mails sent over two years: 1. E-mails with subject lines that are less than 35 characters are opened 3-4% more often than those with longer subject lines.
Thought leadership marketing moves to social vehicles. Consulting firms are ramping up spending on social media to drive thought-leadership marketing strategies, according to a research report by The Bloom Group, BlissPR and the Association of Management Consulting Firms, which carries implications for accounting firms. Noting that firms’ “interest in social media appears to be matched only by their fears,” the authors offer six key findings: 1. Firms are quickly expanding their budgets for social media. While social media represented only an estimated 5% of the thought leadership marketing budget five years ago, spending has climbed rapidly in the last five years to an estimated 18% today. Five years from now, social media is projected to be about a third of [...]
What Big Firms Can Learn from Sole Practitioners and Small Firms. “The best independent practitioners have a singular focus on helping their clients achieve their goals,” according to Andrew Sobel, author of the exemplary “All for One: Ten Strategies for Building Trusted Client Relationships.” “They deliver value at every stage of their work, and they do so as quickly as possible and with ruthless efficiency,” he says. The most successful independent professionals: Create personal brands by building individual market renown. They create notoriety for themselves through publishing, speaking, and networking, and by focusing on a core specialty for which they become well known. All too often, professionals in large firms spend years sheltered under their firm’s brand. Regularly develop and [...]
Six hints for asking effective questions. The Franklin Covey coaching group, renowned for “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood” advice, says effective questioning is an essential skill in business development. “Your goal is maximum, mutual understanding,” the company says, and adds these six tips:
Charles H. Green says: Put your customers’ interests first and watch your sales increase. People want to buy from those they trust. The best way to be trusted by your customers is simply to be worthy of their trust. Be trustworthy. That means truth-telling and transparency. Above all, a relentless focus on the best interests of your customers will earn their trust. Pick one of these simple ideas:
Sam Allred says accounting firms that achieve above-average results can be measured by six key performance indicators. by Rick Telberg After almost two decades of uninterrupted growth, the Great Recession has created a time of reckoning for many accounting firms. Battered by the economy, staffing problems and a mounting succession crisis, partners at many accounting firms are asking each other some tough questions. How do we reach our goals? Get the best out of each partner? Hold them accountable? And get better every year? The firms that get it right are destined to break out of average and become high-performing firms, according to CPA Sam Allred of Anderson ZurMuehlen (AZ), the storied accounting firm based in Helena, Mont., which has sent not [...]
You could be wasting a lot of time, money and effort on the wrong career and business-building strategies. by Rick Telberg As every owner of a tax-and-accounting business understands, your best source of new business is usually referrals. And referrals come through networking. Many CPAs are energetic networkers. They join local civic clubs, participate in their communities, get active in their professional associations and spend a lot of time at the clubs (golf, tennis, etc.). Many are now going online with Facebook and LinkedIn too. But how many hours and how much in dues, meals, drinks and raffle tickets will it take for many CPAs to admit that they don’t have much to show for it? Business Development Advisor Nancy [...]
10 tips from one of Houston’s fastest-growing firms. by Rick Telberg While some other CPA firms have been immobilized by fear and uncertainty in this economy, Houston, Texas-based MaloneBailey has been charging ahead with a new managing partner, a new marketing manager, a daring acquisition on the other side of the country and new growth on the other side of the globe. “We’ve taken this time to become more focused on our strategic plan and our marketing plan so that we are better prepared to rebound as the economy improves,” according to Managing Partner Wesley Middleton. But there’s more to Middleton’s plans for MaloneBailey than that. The firm is unusual in several ways. MaloneBailey garners about 80 percent of its [...]
For new partners and senior managers. via Upstream Academy Set to launch in June, the Academy for Business Development will bear many of the signature characteristics of Upstream Academy’s other programs. “Everything we do at Upstream emphasizes timeless principles, proven processes, and practical accountability,” said Sam Allred, who founded Upstream Academy nearly a decade ago. “We’re thrilled to have Graham Wilson, a world class trainer and expert on business development in public accounting firms, join us for this new program.” “With clients hunkered down trying to ride out the recession, increased client attrition, and the Baby Boomers retiring in ever-greater numbers, a lot of firms are worried about where new business is going to come from next year, three years [...]
Even in a down economy… Even when you don’t think you need the staff, great talent can attract new business you never expected. Here’s a tip from Sandra Wiley’s presentation “Moving Human Capital From Paralysis to Growth,” Recorded Aug. 16, 2009, at the pre-conference session of the Boomer Technology Circles™ All-Circle Summit.