Small business is a major component of our economy and an important client base for small accounting firms. Accountants at small- to medium-sized firms can understand the difficulties as well as the satisfaction involved in having one’s own company, which should make it easier to attract this client base if you do your homework and speak their language.
Build the foundation
Your first step is to create a very detailed client profile. Consider the following questions and more. Be as detailed as possible:
- What industry niche or niches are you most interested in and have the most expertise in, both personally and professionally? This is where you should focus your search for clients.
- What product or service does your ideal client offer?
- What are your ideal client’s personality, goals, and ambitions?
- What are your client’s “pain points” – frustrations, fears, business problems?
- What communication platforms does your client use?
- What is the expected yearly revenue as well as budget for financial services?
- What kinds of services does your ideal client need to be more efficient and to grow?
- Which can you supply? Can you take additional training to offer more services in your client’s niche?
- Where is your future client currently getting these services?
- How could you do better?
Once you have a clear vision of your target market, build your website and online presence with your future clients in mind. Provide quality content through blogs, Facebook, and other relevant platforms where they reside. Offer free resources to make their lives easier. Only occasionally promote yourself. Spend more time promoting your valuable content than writing it in order to get it seen by the right people.
Develop relationships through online communication and face-to-face interactions. If someone comments on your post or blog, respond. Attend small business networking events and conferences, offer to speak to organizations, and offer free seminars in your ideal client’s niche. Remember to build and maintain a spotless reputation.
Give them what they need
Your small business client is very busy and often overwhelmed. The entrepreneur needs to be able to focus on sales and operations and needs an easy, trustworthy, reliable source for handling finances. Be your client’s trusted advisor and partner, offering strategic guidance and financial services as a one-stop-shop: financial planning, strategic business planning, cash flow management, payroll, part-time CFO, whatever that niche needs. Begin slowly so as not to overwhelm yourself or your clients and add as you are able.
Create a technology base that allows your busy small business clients to upload and view data conveniently while on-the-go, and respond to all inquiries and communications promptly.
Develop a habit of asking for referrals, creating an incentive program if necessary. Upsell additional services as you see the client’s needs. If you have developed a strong rapport and have offered excellent service to date, your client will likely be happy to trust you with more work, giving him or her more time to focus on growing the business.
Put yourself in your client’s shoes, do your homework, and develop and market the services your ideal client requires, and you will see your small business client base grow.