If you’re looking to expand your accounting firm, you’ll need a growth strategy. A growth strategy brings together a range of methods designed to help grow your customer base, market share, and bottom line.
In this article, we look at some of the approaches you can implement to drive growth in your accounting firm.
Developing a growth strategy
The first step in creating a growth strategy is taking stock of the current state of your business. This should detail things like:
- Your current customer base
- The services you offer
- The market you operate in
- The channels you use to market your business and sell your services
- The systems and processes you and your team use within the business
- This will give you a snapshot of where your accounting firm presently operates and will allow you to see where the opportunities lie in growing your business.
It will also be the starting point to base your growth strategy on. Here are some potential ways to grow your business.
Broaden your service offering
When it comes to your services, why not offer more to earn more? Review your current services and identify ways they could be built on or broadened.
- Are there services that your customers ask for that are currently not offered?
- Are your skills and qualifications, and that of your employees, being fully used?
- Are there related services, such as financial planning or advisory services, your firm could provide?
- Are there add-on services that your firm could provide at an additional cost, such as on-site visits to clients or express services?
Talk to your employees about any ideas they have or client feedback they’ve received. From this, you might choose to upskill or undertake further education, or even hire a new employee.
Sell more, sell differently
In addition to reviewing your services, look at ways you can package them so you can more easily upsell or cross-sell. For example, this could include offering your customers better rates for bundled services.
Something as simple as asking your customers a few questions at the start of each consultation can help you not only better understand their needs, but service them. For example, a customer may not have a bookkeeper nor the time to do it themselves – this could be a service you can assist them with.
Scheduling regular catch-up meetings with long-term customers to see whether their business needs have changed is also wise. This allows you to inform them of any new services you provide and ensure they are happy with your service to date.
Also consider promoting that your business rewards client referrals.
Invest in new technologies
Embracing new technologies can help your accounting firm run more efficiently, provide customers with better service, and save you time and money.
Consider collaborative online project management tools like Trello and Slack, file-sharing providers like Dropbox and Box, and web-conferencing providers like RingCentral and Skype for Business. Accounting software like QuickBooks Online can also significantly simplify and streamline how you work with your customers.
Technologies such as these can free up valuable time and resources that could be better invested in growing your business.
Rethink your marketing
Marketing is central to introducing your business to new customers and should be a core, ongoing part of your growth strategy.
Review your current marketing efforts and see what’s working and what isn’t. Consider which new avenues may complement and build on those you already use. Ideally, this involves a mix of online and offline channels to help you reach a broad cross-section of clients.
Marketing your business online may involve refreshing your website, introducing e-newsletters, ensuring that your Google My Business listing and details are up-to-date, and investing in targeted local advertisements on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Offline marketing, on the other hand, may involve advertising in local and industry publications, or partnerships with a trade association or local business group to put you in front of new audiences.
From industry networking nights to community social gatherings, there’s much to be said about the benefits of face-to-face networking. People often like to meet and get a sense of the people they hire – particularly those managing their financial affairs.
In the online space, LinkedIn is an ideal way to network. Create or update your personal LinkedIn profile, and connect with customers, colleagues, and industry peers.
However, don’t solely use LinkedIn as a platform to sell. It’s all about engaging. Ask and answer questions, publish thought pieces, join conversations, and respectfully talk about your business. It will keep you at the top of their minds and make you easy to contact should any connections wish to use or refer your services.
The key to a successful growth strategy is not only creating it, but tracking and refining it as it is being implemented. That way, you can see what’s working and learn from what isn’t.
To learn more about growing your accounting practice, check out these resources.