To reap the biggest benefit with anything you learned or took from Intuit’s recent QuickBooks Connect event, it’s vital to implement those new ideas immediately or at least discuss them with colleagues.
The best way to learn any new concept is to teach it to others. Here are a few new ideas that I’ll be talking about with all the other accountants I know, based on what I took and learned from QB Connect.
Jason Blumer — Creative Marketing Ideas for Accountants: Growth requires a sacrifice of either money or time. Committing to growth means you’ll have to say no to something.
Marketing is putting a consistent message in front of your target market. Your target market needs to be more definite than “nice people.” What kinds of businesses do you like best to work with?
Kacee Johnson — How to Build a Marketing Plan and Execute it Year-Round: Did you know that 96% of accounting and bookkeeping firms rely on referrals for their marketing, but only 16% have a referral program?
A referral program lets your clients and your network know that you’re looking for for referrals. Mention it in your newsletter (you do have one, right?). Develop relationships with other professionals. And when someone sends a prospect your way, let that person know what ultimately comes of that connection.
How did it work out? Did they become a top client? That information will help your network send you the best leads possible.
Sandi Leyva — How to Develop, Price, and Sell Advisory Services: Doing only compliance work provides little return on investment for your clients. It does help with peace of mind, but we can help clients much more by helping them find ways to improve their revenues.
Analysis of your clients’ data in QuickBooks plus additional questions and research can help you uncover patterns. These patterns can help them target their marketing to the most lucrative customers.
If their best customers come from their country club, for example, targeting other members of that country club could help them find additional customers.
Power Panel — Creating a Million Dollar Firm, moderated by Joe Woodard: Four leaders who built powerful firms with four different approaches. Here’s a bit about each one:
Debra Kilsheimer — she is relentlessly focused on systems for efficiency, which allows her to serve many monthly bookkeeping clients. Clients who don’t fit her operations are not her clients. She has no problems firing clients who don’t respect what she offers. She simply tells them “Our business model has changed, and you’re no longer a good fit.”
Jason Blumer — he grows his firm slowly, adding clients methodically and at a higher price point. By not rushing into an engagement, he has time to demonstrate the value his firm provides. The clients who join his firm are willing to pay higher prices for better service and better value.
Jeremy Allen — he relies on four pillars to grow his practice:
- Leadership — what is our mission and vision?
- Sales and marketing — communicating the mission and vision to others
- Operations —the back office operations that enable them to get the work done efficiently
- Delivery of service — how do we provide service
Joe Carufe — they reach out to the businesses they want to work with. His team believes in the brand of his firm (Two Roads), and everyone works together to help each other to become better at what they do. The result is a perception by the customers that Two Roads is the most expensive and the best in town.
Mark Wickersham — The New Value Pricing Opportunity: The Holistic Cloud Accounting System: It’s a myth that your clients are price sensitive — how many buy coffee at Starbucks? How many own Apple products? The key is to communicate your value to your clients. The value you provide is in the service. Make it easy to integrate apps into their workflow, and many will gladly pay extra for the convenience.
Mike Michalowicz — Streamline — How to Make Your Accounting Practice Run on Automatic: Protect your Queen Bee Role. Your Queen Bee Role is the one thing that you — and only you — can do in your business. Think of a queen bee in a bee hive, whose role is to produce eggs.
Only the queen bee can do this, and the hive is organized around protecting her to enable her to keep doing this. Make your Queen Bee Role the focus of what you do every day.
If you attended, what were your takeaways from QuickBooks Connect? And what will you do to put those new ideas into action? I’ll be checking back in a few weeks to see how you’re doing.
About Liz Farr
Liz Farr, CPA, has worked in tax and accounting since 2002. Besides tax returns of all flavors, she’s worked on audits of governmental entities and not-for-profits, business valuations, and litigation support. She is also a freelance writer specializing in content marketing for accountants and bookkeepers around the world.