Why Every Firm Needs Growth & How To Get Growth Strategies Working For You
As originally written by By Barry J. Friedman, CPA, CEO of IndustryNewsletters, for OfficeToolsTM magazine, MyOfficeToday, 2016.
Is it really worth it?
As a CPA, I’ve been there. I have thought, “Is marketing really worth it?” This is a great question to ask. It is always good to stop and evaluate the adequacy of a firm’s growth strategy. Here’s why: every firm needs growth.
It’s a plain and simple fact. I know that my firm would typically lose 8% to 15% of its clients per year due to a variety of reasons. Clients sell their businesses, merge with others, go out of business or simply decide to move on to other firms. There needs to be a strategy, even for firms that are not aggressively seeking growth, to replace natural attrition.
Don’t Forget Planned Turnover and Nonrecurring Engagements
When you sit down to evaluate your firm’s goals, you might also be considering planned turnover. Ridding your firm of unsuitable clients can free up resources and position you for greater success with your core clients, but firms may lose roughly 5% annually from planned turnover.
Another factor firms need to consider is replacing one-time, non-recurring engagements. It is reasonable to estimate about 10% of a firm’s business could be comprised of non-recurring consulting jobs and tax audit engagements.
Do What You Do Best – Crunch the Numbers
Consider a firm that is bringing in roughly $500,000 per year. If that firm’s unplanned loss is a conservative 10%, that firm is looking at an annual loss of $50,000. Over the course of three years, this becomes $150,000. Double that number when you factor in another 10% for your firm’s nonrecurring engagements. Add planned turnover at 5% per year, and a firm could be looking at a loss of $25,000 per year and a $75,000 three-year loss.
Just to break even and maintain annual revenue, a firm might need to bring in $125,000 per year, or $375,000 dollars over the course of three years, simply due to natural and planned turnover and loss of nonrecurring engagements.
The Need Becomes Apparent
Like most firms, you’re probably looking to go beyond maintenance and achieve growth. Exceed your goals for replacing attrition, and consider how many new engagements you will need to acquire from marketing activities. Lay out a plan for reaching new business and nurturing core clients to reduce churn.
Make a Strategic Investment
It’s no secret that many accountants aren’t great marketers. This means you’ll need to make an investment in solid strategies. Treat your marketing investments almost like an employee, and regularly run evaluations of its success factors.
Launch Consistent, Value-Driven Marketing
If you want to “work” your marketing, boost credibility and stand out in your market, you need to get the word out. Content helps you position your firm in the marketplace, and good content connects with your clients and prospects to deliver value.
Put It to Work for You
What does it mean to get your marketing “working” for you? Simply ask yourself some simple questions:
- “Is it generating leads?”
- “Can I easily tap into and respond to the leads it is producing?”
- “Is it going a step beyond to help turn leads into meetings?”
Email continues to stand out as the most cost-effective and trackable vehicle for content delivery. Integrating your email strategies with a comprehensive digital marketing approach helps maximize your exposure and further marketplace accessibility.
Take Some Simple Steps
All of this may seem overwhelming for smaller firms, but it really can be simple. Sometimes, the most difficult part of the process is researching content marketing products. Once that decision is made, you’ll need to set a clear course and take some steps:
- Pool your client contact information into a centralized marketing database.
- Identify prospects to invite into your digital marketing.
- Consistently launch messaging of value to reach your clients and prospects.
- Work a lead capture and response strategy into your messaging.
- Follow up on warm leads that respond to the calls to action within your messaging.
- Book initial consultations with interested prospects and set meetings with clients demonstrating their interest in additional services.
Successful Lead Generation Campaigns Work Smarter, Not Harder
“Any old thing” is bad. Take a tactical approach to outsourcing your marketing and evaluate its bearing on your success. Your strategies should work for you – cohesively.
The real value proposition comes when firms partner with strategic resources to achieve maximum impact. Firms that integrate their digital marketing resources can automate these steps. This often results in more profitable client engagements, a return on marketing investment and achieving maintenance and growth goals. After all, that’s the point of marketing, isn’t it?
Barry J. Friedman, CPA, is the CEO of IndustryNewsletters, a content provided email newsletter platform for accounting firms and professional service providers, bringing more than 35 years of experience in building and managing CPA firms as well as digital marketing firms. Barry sold his regional accounting firm, Friedman & Fuller, to American Express and then created BizActions, LLC, an email marketing company for CPA firms and payroll firms which he sold to Thomson Reuters in 2012. He earned an MBA in Business Administration from Loyola College and taught Financial Management in that program for three years.
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