To be honest, many of your clients and potential clients probably don’t think that there’s much of a difference between one accounting business and the next – as long as their books are done and taxes filed without any issues from the IRS.
Unless you offer extremely specialist services, in order to get new business you need to make sure that you really stand out from your competitors. Here are five ways to do just that.
1. Share Valuable Content
Content sharing and social media queues are definitely the new word of mouth, so make the most of the different social media platforms to really engage your current clients and catch the eye of potential clients. Twitter is a great platform for this (although LinkedIn and Facebook – your business account, obviously – are other options), and building a great network of Twitter followers means that you can share valuable snippets of content with your audience and encourage them to retweet. Don’t forget who your target audience is though, and share content that actually relates to them rather than strictly accounting focused content.
2. Become a Thought Leader
If you work on becoming an authority on all things accounting, a thought leader in the industry in other words, you’re likely to end up the go-to accounting business for clients needing help.
Obviously you first need to become an accounting expert, but once you’ve done it, how do you spread the knowledge of your thought leadership? Consider things with prestige, such as authoring white papers or books/eBooks, an up-to-date blog on your website that offers accounting news, views and commentary, and guest posting or writing articles for national magazines in your target clients’ arena.
Becoming a thought leader can take time, however there is an easy way to deliver high value to clients that you can do right now with just a bit of research: introduce them to tools and technology that saves them time and money, in turn helping them grow their business. Business prepaid cards for controlling employee expenses are one such tool that small businesses from all verticals are discovering and adopting in droves.
3. Referrals and Recommendations
Referrals and recommendations are a fantastic way to grow your accounting business. Think about it, if you were looking for a new contractor, dentist, even hairdresser, what would you do first? Probably ask friends and family! SO, how do you go about getting those referrals and recommendations? There are a number of good ways to do it:
Add a testimonials page to your website and ask current clients for one. Go above and beyond for each and every client, so they’ll be more likely to actively refer you. Remind clients of your range of services and ask if they know anyone who might be in the market for a new accountant. This is particularly important if you offer a range of services, because clients might only consider what they currently get from you. Keep in touch with previous/existing clients as and when you add more services to your repertoire. Offering an incentive, such as a free initial consultation or assessment, works for other industries and it could work for accountants.
4. Automate Your Services
With the wealth of technology that’s available to accounting firms, it definitely makes sense to automate as many of your processes as possible, making the work you do faster, more secure and more accurate. Not only does it mean that your clients will be impressed (meaning more referrals and recommendations!), it will also free up your time and let you start doing other things to grow your business.
Networking is so important for getting your name out there, whether it’s online or in person. Even meeting fellow PTA members or attending a friend’s dinner party can be a great source of networking. After all, you never know when that cousin of a friend of a friend might be talking to someone who’s looking for an accounting firm, so you want to make sure that yours is the first name they remember!
The possibilities to grow your accounting business are endless, and are only limited by your creativity. Make use of technology to demonstrate your expertise and become known as a thought leader. Stay abreast of the latest and greatest tools, which you can recommend to become an indispensable go-to resource for all of your small business clients.
About Bento for Business
Bento for Business offers employee expense cards for SMBs, nonprofits, organizations, and associations. You can set monthly spend limits and allow only certain purchase categories (e.g. Bob the project manager can only spend $500/week and the card only works to purchase gas, hotels and at the hardware store). Turn cards on/off in real-time and receive SMS text message or email alerts for every purchase or decline. Enjoy unmatched visibility into cash flow, eliminate expense reports, and save time and money.
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