Whatever your specialty -- corporate accounting, tax preparation, financial consulting, etc. -- you need more than accounting skills to remain successful. You also require marketing savvy to keep your business prospering.
As an entrepreneur, it's crucial that you never stop marketing yourself and seeking additional business. No you don't want to overload yourself with so much work that you can't handle it all. But neither should you grow too dependent on a handful of well-paying and loyal accounts. Lose just a few of those clients, and you could be in for major revenue headaches. And it's tough to play catchup when you're desperate for income.
Regular marketing can help avoid such scary situations. That way, you'll always have new potential clients flowing through your pipeline. If you can't take on new customers now, great: refer them to a trusted colleague (with the understanding he or she will do the same for you). But if your existing business slows down, you'll know you can always expect a steady stream of phone calls, drop-in visits and e-mails from new prospects.
The more channels your marketing plan covers, the better it will work. That means you should consider everything from weekly or monthly ads in the local newspaper to offering a regularly changing assortment of free e-mail reports on your Web site. Of course, which avenues prove most successful depends on your target market. You know better than anyone which types of people and companies need your services, so brainstorm about the outlets most likely to reach them.
Following are just a few of the marketing avenues you can explore to keep your name out in front of your potential clientele:
- Local newspaper ads;
- An advice column for the local newspaper (you write it for free and receive a short blurb about your business in return);
- Yellow Pages ads;
- Banner ads on regional Web sites (local newspapers, Chambers of Commerce, etc.);
- Direct-mail card pack advertising;
- Chamber of Commerce networking;
- Area business expos and trade shows;
- Guest-speaking opportunities;
- Teaching (anything from a free, one-hour program about tax tips at the local public library to a 10-week, community college course about the essentials of small-business money-management);
- Local sponsorships (Little League, beautification projects, etc.);
- Displays and giveaways at area festivals;
- A quarterly newsletter with tax and bookkeeping tips, news and information for existing clients, prospects, walk-ins, etc.;
- An opt-in e-mail newsletter for visitors to your Web site;
- Keyword-based bids on pay-per-click search engines such as GoTo.com.