By Guest Blogger Ira Rosenbloom | Optimum Strategies LLC
Given the difficulties associated with attracting staff, motivating staff, and planning for succession, CPA firms must reassess their approach to practice development. Creating more work or more of the wrong work may bring short-term financial dividends, but it can raise the misery and frustration levels to a costly level. The main driver for your practice development efforts must be practice enrichment – getting your firm more stimulating opportunities, better clients, and more higher-profit-margin clients. Here are five vital ways to position your practice development efforts to succeed at practice enrichment:
- Blog strategically – While most CPAs are not fans of writing, the good news is they are fans of ideas and opinions. Even better news: ghost writers would be pleased to generate the text for relaying your views. If you know what kind of work you like or your staff likes, then get the blogging going in the markets and channels where the folks who need what you do will find your words and views.
- Hunt only for your model client – Every practice should have a sweet spot and sweet-spot clients (model clients). Hunt only for additional clients who allow you to perform a level of service for a valuable fee and in the industries you prefer. Advise your referral sources, and especially your existing model clients, of your interest in having more clients just like them. Make sure your website makes it obvious what you consider to be your model client and why they should be drawn and motivated to engage you.
- Calibrate your practice – To maximize the value of your time and the value and appeal of your practice, you need to target an effective hourly rate that, when achieved, will supercharge your profit margin. Focus your practice development on attracting the clients that will fuel achievement of your targeted rate. Knowing the attributes of the clients that will allow you to hit your mark will be important to engineering a successful practice development program.
- Applaud your clients – Acknowledging and appreciating your clients is crucial to building the kind of practice you want. Thank your clients for loyalty and longevity, both privately and publicly. Use LinkedIn and other social media channels to follow their achievements and praise your clients. Your clients should be your biggest fans, but if you are not part of their fan club they will be less inclined to refer you and to use additional services.
- Be market intelligent – The more you can know about potential clients and the access points the better. Create a Top 10 prospect list and update it quarterly. Tap any and all resources that can provide you with the hot buttons of your prospects and the influencers that they rely upon. Build your practice development budget around time and money necessary to convert prospects to actual clients. Grade your efforts and make modifications based upon objective input.
In a blink of an eye it will be tax season. It will be a much better season if you have the kind of clients that you and your staff most desire – those that provide the right level of financial and intellectual stimulus. Enrich your practice with strategic practice development. You deserve it!
Ira Rosenbloom is the chief operating executive of Optimum Strategies LLC, a consulting firm focused on helping small and medium-sized CPA firms enhance business performance, increase profitability, and foster practice continuity.