Individual Marketing Plans: The Permission You Need to Start Small

By Michelle Golden - If you've never had a formal, written Individual Marketing Plan (IMP) --or just never had success completing one, try this:

Just Set Small Goals!

1. Don't set goals that are too big even if you feel very enthusiastic about them.

It's great to be eager, but it is far more important that the plan is realistic so there won't be unnecessary barriers to achieving it.

Start off slowly.

If, for instance, you're thinking, "I'll meet with one client or prospect per week for lunch," well, while that only means 4 per month, realize that this is a huge goal if there are currently zero taking place on a regular basis.

You probably won't hit this lofty goal, then you'll feel guilty and dump the whole plan. I see it all the time. It's too much habit to change all at once.

Instead, just start with a smaller goal of 1 or 2 per month.

2. Build slowly so you can get into a routine of scheduling and developing conversation so these lunches are as productive as possible.

Starting with a small goal makes a lot more sense when you realize what is involved in accomplishing your goal: effective communications with people who have the influence to use your services.

Fact is, the time commitment isn't just the lunch. The devil is in the details. The goal includes personally scheduling the lunch and -- if you do the meeting right -- 20-30 minutes reacquainting yourself with the client's file and reading the latest First Research profile on their industry before your meeting.

The QUALITY is far more important than the quantity of your marketing efforts. Don't skip this PREP-WORK.

After maintaining your pace for a couple months, then try adding another.

Yeah, it's simple psychology, but by setting yourself up for some small "wins," you'll end up feeling much better about your planning time and marketing effort.

3. This is so important...make sure you identify, up-front, exactly who you'll call and when.

Don't just plan "go to lunch with one client per month" and file that away. What is it that you can put into your Outlook?

"Call some client sometime this month"??

When, exactly, do you think you'll get around to thinking about who it makes the most sense to ask? Well, you won't.

Each month comes and goes because it takes too much time and energy to think about it on the fly.

So, what do you do? Procrastinate. You'll think about it later, right? Wrong.

Don't feel bad. We all do it.

Define your plan thoroughly the day you make it. Think through the details of the goal on the front-end! Decide who will be Jan, Feb, etc. Even go so far as to put their phone number on the plan itself. Then you'll have no reason to procrastinate.

Try it, it works.

(Originally posted on Golden Practices.)

This blog

by Michelle Golden - Michelle is a change-agent in the accounting profession. She helps firms address the stuff that holds them back from progress in business development and operational improvements. She’s also on the forefront of social media marketing. 

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.

48614

Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.

81864

Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.

53781

Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

97171
Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.
24552

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".

61148

William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.

86968

Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (www.ubcc.com), a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.

28485

Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of TaxMama.com, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.

69919

Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

38186
Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website: www.leveragestateandlocaltax.com
109957
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.
29957

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

58139
Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
31975
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.
36589

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.

108765

The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.

37860

FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.

119938

Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.

67267

Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

43640
Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.
71351

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of Yellowbook-CPE.com a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.

98280

AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish AccountingWEB.co.uk share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.

58866