Build the Practice You Want
Originally posted on Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance on 7/31/19
Building an accounting practice is not for the faint of heart. You go into this profession because of a love of analyzing numbers and helping others, but to have work to do accountants have to pivot and become a salesperson too. There are many ways to grow a practice, some being more passive, including utilizing referrals as they come, and some being more outward, including networking and prospecting. The bottom line is that accountants must find a way to bring new clients in the door to keep the doors open.
Taking on clients that might not be best suited for your practice or area of expertise might cause you unnecessary stress. The overwhelming response we get when talking to professionals is that no matter whether their practice is thriving or not, the client base they have built isn’t precisely ideal or made up of the right clients. Accountants who are great at referrals may have developed a thriving practice, but the client base may have morphed into something different over the years based on these relationships. Others who are working hard to grow may be taking any client that comes in the door even if they aren’t the right fit. The bottom line, it is rare to find accountants who have built their dream practice simply because they did not have the proper tools in the beginning.
Building your dream practice can be simple. A business best practice is to come up with a “go to market” strategy, and your firm should be no different. All it takes to build the practice you want is a little planning and motivation to map out a plan. Follow these four key steps to develop a firm strategy and start building your dream practice:
- Identify your ideal client: Whom would you want to work with if you had a choice? Do you have a particular area of expertise? Have you found a niche where you have strong profitability? It is crucial to start with whom you want to work with and develop an ideal client profile. If you don’t know whom you want to work with, how do you expect them to find you?
- Learn how to prospect: How do you find your ideal client? Not knowing how to prospect is one of the most significant missing pieces in a typical firm. The old thought process is to go out, network, and eventually, those connections will lead to prospects, but this is how so many professionals end up with the wrong clients. It is essential to be intentional in this process to get in front of the right people.
- Understand your value: Let’s say that you find yourself in front of the right potential clients, can you articulate the value you would bring to them? It is crucial for individuals and firms to understand what makes them uniquely valuable and how to differentiate themselves from everyone else in the market. Why are you a better fit than the firm down the street? It would help if you always were prepared to explain this to potential clients.
- Selling your value, not price: Here we come back to benefit because it is such a vital part of building your practice. Too many times, people focus their proposals on coming in at or below the price of their current accountant to win the business, but that creates a client that is cost-focused and likely looks for the next lowest provider. When you sell your services based on the value you provide, you build a client base that doesn’t always question your prices and understands that your services are bringing them value which makes much stronger relationships.
These four simple steps are the cornerstone to building the practice that you want and enjoy. Take some time and think about your current practice. Did you follow these steps to build your business? How would you change your current practice to make it exactly the way you want? We are here to help. Explore self-study CPE courses to provide all of the tools you need to grow your practice: https://thecpeseed.com/catalog