Create Your Own Marketing Roundtable

In the course of business we’ve all heard of the networking groups who meet on a regular basis with the sole objective of referring business to each other.

Rather than hope that they will have a vacancy for an
accounting service member at some stage in the not too distant future, give some consideration to establishing your own networking group – your own marketing round table.

Sounds difficult to implement?

Actually it’s not! However you do need to approach the task systematically by using the following steps:

How to Create a Marketing Group that Gets You Clients


* Reflect on those types of businesses who can send you referrals and for whom you can reciprocate. Professionals in the insurance, real estate, legal, and medical industries, just to name a few, are a great place to start.

* Prepare a list of business operators whom you feel would thrive on this concept and who own and operate the types of suitable business which you have already identified. It’s prudent to have more than one person in each business category on your shortlist as it’s not out of the question that some may decline your offer. You don’t need to already know the people you’ve shortlisted as this is an exercise to cast out your networking further than its present reach.

* Select a suitable venue (restaurant) for a breakfast meeting. The venue owner may also become an informal member of the group as he or she is definitely in a position to refer business to your network members.

* Contact your prime candidates for round table membership, discuss the concept and invite them to the initial breakfast meeting.

* At the initial meeting outline the concept in detail and propose to meet on a regular monthly basis and at the same venue if everyone is happy with it. Emphasize that the success of the group will depend upon the number of referrals each person generates — to get leads, a person must be willing to give leads.

Starting Your Own Marketing Group Gives You an Edge Over Joining an Existing One


The major advantage in establishing your own group is that you are the natural chairperson of the group. With only a minor administrative workload you are perceived as a leader and ‘mover and shaker’ in the business community and, along with other round table members, benefit from the mutual referrals.

Create Your Own Marketing Roundtable

In the course of business we’ve all heard of the networking groups who meet on a regular basis with the sole objective of referring business to each other.

Rather than hope that they will have a vacancy for an accounting service member at some stage in the not too distant future, give some consideration to establishing your own networking group – your own marketing round table.

Sounds difficult to implement?

Actually it’s not! However you do need to approach the task systematically by using the following steps:

How to Create a Marketing Group that Gets You Clients

* Reflect on those types of businesses who can send you referrals and for whom you can reciprocate. Professionals in the insurance, real estate, legal, and medical industries, just to name a few, are a great place to start.

* Prepare a list of business operators whom you feel would thrive on this concept and who own and operate the types of suitable business which you have already identified. It’s prudent to have more than one person in each business category on your shortlist as it’s not out of the question that some may decline your offer. You don’t need to already know the people you’ve shortlisted as this is an exercise to cast out your networking further than its present reach.

* Select a suitable venue (restaurant) for a breakfast meeting. The venue owner may also become an informal member of the group as he or she is definitely in a position to refer business to your network members.

* Contact your prime candidates for round table membership, discuss the concept and invite them to the initial breakfast meeting.

* At the initial meeting outline the concept in detail and propose to meet on a regular monthly basis and at the same venue if everyone is happy with it. Emphasize that the success of the group will depend upon the number of referrals each person generates — to get leads, a person must be willing to give leads.

Starting Your Own Marketing Group Gives You an Edge Over Joining an Existing One

The major advantage in establishing your own group is that you are the natural chairperson of the group. With only a minor administrative workload you are perceived as a leader and ‘mover and shaker’ in the business community and, along with other round table members, benefit from the mutual referrals.

Additional Marketing Strategies

Networking is one of the key marketing methods that costs almost nothing to do. Module 4 of the Professional Bookkeeper course focuses on finding clients quickly and inexpensively. You will learn the guerilla marketing strategies that our students have tested and proven since 1979 and how they will get you earning $30 to $60 per hour right away.

Learn More About Marketing Training in the Professional Bookkeeper Program

Tax Simplification: “Yeah, Right!”

This article goes into more detail about the reasons businesses will always have a legitimate need for accounting and bookkeeping services.

A recent student asked me how to respond to a well-meaning relative who felt that accounting was a dying occupation because of tax simplification. I’m often asked if a simpler tax code, meaning flat-tax or federal sales tax, would eliminate the need for accountants. Those who ask this question obviously don’t understand what an accountant does.

First of all, I don’t think such a tax bill could ever pass. Too many special interest organizations with powerful lobbying groups will lose too much to let any such bill pass without a fight.

  • Religious organizations will argue that their funding from contributions will dry up.
  • National homeowners’ associations will argue (and rightfully so) that homes will drop in value as mortgage interest will no longer be deductible.
  • Medical organizations will buy TV ads telling stories about people with debilitating diseases and high medical bills going to ‘tax prison’ because they lost their medical deduction.
  • And, those are just the obvious ones.

Plus, most tax simplification plans will tax the poor heavier and the wealthy lighter than they do now. That’s a hot-potato that neither political party will support.

No, the public will never let such a thing happen.

Even if we were to assume that such a tax program will be adopted, accountants will remain in high demand. Certainly simpler tax laws may eliminate tax preparers. But most tax preparers aren’t accountants.

The primary and most beneficial roles accountants perform are in the area of management controls, and cash management. A company stands to gain much more through staying on top of these areas than saving on lower taxes. Let’s face it, companies don’t go out of business because they are paying too much in taxes, but they will if they have poor controls, or poor cash management.

Big businesses certainly understand this. A large company I once worked for had four thousand accountants. Less than 1% of these accountants worked in the tax department. In other words, 99% of the accountants with this company were working on providing management with crucial information regarding profitability, while monitoring the company’s financial position. This company understood that income taxes are a necessary evil that require some attention, but the potential for business improvement is much greater in other areas.

So, do we ignore taxes? Certainly not! Taxes must be completed, and done correctly according to law. Besides, a good tax preparer may save a tax payer hundreds of dollars, if not thousands in taxes — sometimes many times the cost to have the taxes prepared.

Tax preparation will always be needed. And, my guess is that it will become even more complicated before becoming any easier.

Regardless of the tax law, however, accountants will always be a critical part of the business world.

Also, see the article entitled “Why are Businesses Begging for Your Services?” This is “must reading” for every freelance accountant.

Outsourcing your Bookkeeping

Editor’s Note
It’s unusual to find outside articles devoted to the needs of the freelance accountant. But, with the author’s approval, I am sending one to you in it’s entirety. It’s written by freelancing accountant, Thomas M. Begley, to business owners explaining the advantages of outsourcing their accounting. Although a bit lengthy I think you’ll find his insights helpful in selling your services to business owners and valuable as you develop promotional materials.

Enjoy!

“Outsourcing your bookkeeping. — How to move a non revenue task to your accountant and save money.”
By Thomas M. Begley

Small business owners and professionals are discovering that outsourcing your bookkeeping saves payroll, overhead cost and it’s a giant step in freeing up valuable time. For many owners, just the effort of hiring, training and managing a bookkeeper can take as much as 5 hours a week and if you’re doing the books yourself the numbers are even worse. As a business owner your time is best spent doing what you do well — working with customers.

There is a common misconception that an owner will lose control if they outsource the bookkeeping. In a properly designed system a local accountant only takes over the process of tracking transactions such as sales, accounts payable and balancing the books, but only the business owner makes management decisions. Using on line bill paying, the owner is the final word on who gets paid and when.

If you have great books or pretty sloppy books for the most part your customers never know. A generally accepted rule in business is to focus resources on tasks that add value to the customer relationship. Time spent on bookkeeping problems add little or no value to your customer relationship. Yet, books that are inaccurate or do not reflect the true health of your business provide no clue to managing your business. Being clueless at any level about where you are making money or who is a good customer is not being in control. Cash flow is never a problem in business it is a symptom of other problems, an outsourced bookkeeper can provide the answers and you will end up with more control of your business.

By outsourcing you solve the problem of hiring. Good bookkeepers with knowledge of accounting software are hard to hire, expensive to keep and in some cases difficult to manage. Your accountant controls the hiring process and your work is shared with a team so that if one person leaves you will not suffer an interruption of service. Because of new technology advances you now have the same alternative as Fortune 500 firms. Thirty five percent of Americas largest businesses outsource their bookkeeping.

New technology makes this possible. The acceptance of the ASP (application service provider) technology allows the outsourced bookkeeper to ‘reach’ into your network and do the accounting tasks from their office. The owner uses the ASP to look at their books at any time from any connected laptop or computer. This allows the business owner to review in real time the progress of their operation at home or on the road. Some owners log onto their ASP and review the business health and progress daily rather then waiting a month for financials.

In most cases outsourcing will save you money as well. The most common pricing structure for outsourced bookkeeping is to charge 10% to 20% less than the current bookkeepers salary. Not only do you save on salary but also you have no overhead, management, hiring or training cost when using an outsourced service. The overall annual savings can be up to 50%.

The reason an accountant is able to take over an existing process and deliver it back more cheaply is due to leverage, the most common of which is economy of scale. If the supplier does not have to significantly alter the way its current business function is set up and standardization has occurred, the opportunity for both supplier and buyer to benefit is great.

Technological advances have taken the cycle times in a business from several months to several hours, and our competitors no longer have geological restrictions or the hindrance of large bureaucracies. To remain competitive, it is imperative that a company rethinks its strategies, take a hard look at where they are creating value for their customers, then focus on those processes. The most successful businesses of today have gone to outsourcing and now have time and money to spend on differentiating themselves in the marketplace.

The most common reasons management chooses to outsource certain business processes are to reduce operating costs, improve company focus, improve quality, free up capital, increase capabilities not otherwise available and to reduce cycle time. If a buyer cannot receive an improved economic position as a result, then it should not outsource.

The decision to outsource can be an easy one. If there is a company or individual that can do it better, faster, and cheaper than you, then you do not want to keep the work in house. Outsourcing has become an accepted business tool worldwide. By turning over business processes to companies that consider these tasks their core competency, organizations now have the ability to become more profitable, more efficient and far more competitive by focusing on the tasks that are most important.

About the author: Tom Begley has been a practicing CPA in the Akron area for 26 years. His firm is an affiliate of Bridge21, a national network of 150+ accounting firms dedicated to helping clients increase profits through the correct use of technology. Thomas M. Begley Associates currently offers clients a wide range of outsourcing options varying from on-site services to outsourced

Other Articles about starting your business:

Selling:

Selling the benefits of your bookkeeping service

Make your first impression count

Five Tips to Strengthen Your Client Presentations

Outsourcing your bookkeeping

Marketing:

Finding Clients near home

Find leads at networking events

Promote your website

The best marketing strategy: word of mouth

Get a new client every week

Trade shows can be a gold mine!

Contact Accounting and Tax Clients Frequently

Let’s face it – you are never going to lose a client, or a prospective client for that matter, from too much contact as long as the contact is relevant to their business.

Keep In Touch to Keep Your Profitable Clients

One of the most frequently heard complaints from small business owners is the fact that they never hear from their accountant and that it’s always left up to them to initiate any contact.

So, if you want to shine among your peers, know that you will definitely stand out from your colleagues and competitors if you can get the contact formula right. Well, actually there is no set formula for all accounting and tax services. The desirable level of contact is in the eyes and ears of the client.

How and When To Make Contact

So when do you make contact and in what form? In recent articles I’ve given you some of the same advice listed below, just written in a different context. The following list ties it all together nicely. The redundancy also demonstrates how important this contact is to building and maintaining a successful practice of satisfied clients (aka: references).

Data Base of Clients

Use your client data base for details of birthdays, anniversaries, etc. and make sure that you send out birthday cards to your clients. Your own business card should be attached to the card you’re sending.

Know Your Clients’ Area of Expertise

Buy every local newspaper you can get your hands on and look for any news which may interest your clients or prospective clients. Copy them and mail or fax them again with a business card attached if you’re mailing. It’s important that you have a good grasp of their business to be able to achieve this.

Cheer Client Successes

Mail out congratulatory cards when you become aware of the success of your clients or prospective clients.

Be Unique

Give thought to mailing out cards which make you appear different to everyone else, for example "Welcome to Summer"and "Welcome to Bastille Day – You’re Really Storming the Market" cards. You can count on the fact that no-one else will do this.

Keep In Touch By Phone

Plan to telephone one client each day just to shoot the breeze about their business. Once you have done this a couple of times you won’t feel awkward and it will become second nature. You may discover a need for your services, that you didn’t know existed, from these calls.

Welcome Client Feedback

Make sure your clients and prospective clients know that the contact is not a one-way street and that they can give you a call whenever they have a problem, or even better an opportunity, which they need some advice about.

Wrapping It All Up

In conclusion, it’s imperative that you have regular contact with your clients and prospective clients without being "in their faces" – too much unnecessary contact can become a nuisance to the very people whom you’re trying to impress.

Implementing Your Marketing Plan

All of these strategies are inexpensive ones to implement. Why not start the ball rolling today with an implementation plan? The effect on your business will be significant and profitable!

Master Marketing Skills

In the course of a week, you run into potentially hundreds of small business owners that struggle to do their own books. They need the kind of service taught in the Professional Bookkeeper™ program. With its emphasis upon real-world small business accounting and bookkeeping, you will have an incredible edge when it comes to servicing their business that is taught nowhere else. The Professional Bookkeeper™ program teaches you how to find paying clients and to service their accounts efficiently, all while keeping your clients pleased with your unique talents.

Learn How the Marketing Method Taught in the Professional Bookkeeper™ Program Gets You Clients Fast!

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