As busy season ends, you should prepare to be busier than ever!
Does that sound crazy to you? Well, what I mean is that I hope your firm is getting ready to shift gears from a focus on tax preparation and compliance to a new focus on marketing and business development. What better time than now to dust off your pipeline report and think about aggressively developing new opportunities.
While growth should take place all year long, there are certain months that are more 'convenient' than others. Spring and early fall have traditionally been effective for more intense networking. Being "present" can mean different things for different firms based on location, size, resources and attitude. For some firms, being "present" can mean attending events, hosting events, partnering with others to present events, sponsoring events, or all of the above.
Joe Connolly, who reports for Wall Street Journal and CBS News, noted this week that business owners and professional service providers tell him that hosting events is one of the best ways to market the company - gaining face time and the opportunity to demonstrate expertise to a targeted audience.
If you have decided there is some merit to Joe's observations, here are a few tips for you:
1. Know your audience - select a specific group of business owners who are either existing clients or potential clients;
2. Choose a topic that is relevant and timely; addressing a generic topic is often not compelling enough to drive attendance. Make it important - a discussion they cannot afford to miss;
3. Plan ahead - send out save the date announcements at least two months in advance;
4. Follow four weeks later with an invitation;
5. Make personal calls to boost attendance - people will be much more likely to attend when personally invited; tell them who else is attending - offer to introduce them to people they want to know and network with;
6. Keep the program running on time - start and end promptly and deliver what you promise;
7. Follow up after the event - get feedback and use the insights when planning your next program.
If you have any other suggestions - please share them. Good luck!