Winning new clients and growing a practice isn’t easy – it requires significant strategic thought. It’s important to tackle business growth from a number of different angles, focusing on internal and external opportunities. Follow these five key steps to create a multi-pronged growth strategy that will take your practice to the next level.
1. Recognise your ideal client
Many practices spend a great deal of time serving clients who simply aren’t profitable. These hours could be better spent looking after more valuable clients and searching for more like them.
- Analyse your existing client base and identify your ‘ideal client persona’. What do your most profitable clients look like? Consider their age, gender, occupation and family status.
- Identify existing clients who don’t fit this profile and spend less time with them (without neglecting them completely!)
- Look for more ‘ideal clients’. You can appoint a research agency or buy data for this.
- Decide how you want to approach these prospects (see point three).
- Develop a long-term business strategy that attracts similar clients.
2. Develop existing relationships
Once you’ve identified your most profitable clients – and begun attracting more of the same – you can to build these relationships to make them even more profitable.
- Check in with those clients through regular calls (without hounding them!).
- Organise invite-only lunches and events – they’ll appreciate the VIP status.
- Develop a communications strategy with regular touchpoints, including monthly newsletters, end-of-year bulletins and milestone recognitions.
- Offer incentives such as discounted services for bringing in new clients.
- Identify cross-sell or up-sell opportunities based on other products or services that may be of interest.
3. Market wisely
There are numerous ways to market your practice, so it’s important to identify your core objectives upfront.
- Appoint an agency to analyse client demographics and discover which channels they are most influenced by.
- Consider a search engine optimisation (SEO) and marketing strategy to lift your page ranking and display advertising on sites your prospects are interested in.
- Develop a social media strategy, starting with Facebook and LinkedIn. Be sure to offer information your prospects are interested in – don’t just advertise your wares.
- Don’t forget that more traditional marketing techniques such as direct mail, local area advertising and hosting events may still work well for your practice.
4. Make friends and influence people
Networking is a powerful tool. Even in the digital age, it is still one of the most effective business growth strategies.
If you’re considering a merger, or wish to attract new investors, attend events run by the Chamber of Commerce or your local Business Enterprise Centre. You’ll meet lots of like-minded people and discover new opportunities.
Choose which trade shows, lunches and enterprise events you attend by looking at a copy of the attendee list in advance. Only attend those that offer genuine opportunities.
5. Create a well-oiled machine
Don’t waste time on unnecessary admin – free up your employees so they can focus on prospecting, serving and selling. Identify deficiencies around the office, delegate tasks to more junior roles and automate as many functions as you can.
If your company doesn’t have a customer relationship management (CRM) system in place, consider one as a first priority. You’ll be able to seamlessly manage, automate, consolidate and report on your sales, lead activity, serving and marketing efforts practice-wide. Consider outsourcing appropriate tasks as well. You’ll be amazed how quickly a cost-effective supplier will earn the outlay back by refocusing efforts internally.
You’ll need to implement a variety of complementary strategies to achieve real business growth, but by following the five steps above your practice will soon be going from strength to strength and grow your tax and accounting practice.