Liquidity is vital to a small business’s success. Studies regularly find that poor financial management is the leading cause of business failure, second to incompetent management. More and more businesses are realizing the impact that competent accounting can have on their company, and I’m often asked to help new small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) find a CPA. However, while helping my clients, I’ve come to realize how few accountants really know how to work with an SMB and how to help SMB clients. They may meet up at the end of the year to go over the business’s books and start preparing returns, but a lot of small business owners are looking for more than just a one-time run-through of their books from their accountant. So, if you really want to step up your game and attract more SMBs to your firm, consider the following four tips.
1) Research New Technology
According to a 2013 study sponsored by online marketing firm Yodle, only 51% of small businesses surveyed use accounting software. That’s absolutely nuts – accounting software is one of the easiest and quickest ways to simplify both your life and the lives of your small business clients. A lot of software suites are cloud based and provide real-time access to the business’s records, which streamlines the whole bookkeeping and financial management process.
This software also makes it easy for your clients to review and ask questions about their finances outside of a set meeting time. The easier it is for your clients to keep up with their bookkeeping and reach you, the happier they’ll be. That means referrals, long-term business, and a much more successful firm.
2) Go Beyond Simply Filing Taxes
Small business owners are always going to shop around to get the most bang for their buck, so if all you do is file taxes and calculate estimated payments, potential clients are going to skip right over you.
Expand your business as well as your revenue stream by offering additional services to new and regular clients. Bookkeeping, investment management, and business audits are all within the scope of your training as a CPA. After all, these are all services small business owners are going to need, so why send them to another CPA?
3) Leverage Social Media and Marketing
Though few would admit it, finances worry a lot of small business owners. The National Federation of Independent Businesses regularly finds that taxes are one of their top concerns. Making yourself available online is one of the best ways to cultivate your relationship with your clients. Social media platforms are easy enough to learn how to use, and your clients will appreciate being able to get in touch with you quickly.
Good communication doesn’t have to mean having a long, in-person meeting. Through a blog, website, LinkedIn, even Twitter, you can talk to and advise existing and potential clients. In fact, blogging and cross-blogging are some of the quickest ways to establish yourself as an expert in your field and will help your inbound marketing – potential clients will actually start seeking you out. The larger your influence, the more business you’ll have.
4) Build Relationships of Trust
Above all, the SMB owners I talk to tell me that when they’re looking for an accountant, they want someone they can trust. So if you want to bring in more small business clients and keep them on a long-term basis, you have to go above and beyond to show them you’re trustworthy and skilled at what you do. It’s not just about doing the bare minimum when working with an entrepreneur – you also need to be his or her business advisor and financial confidant. Filing a couple of forms by April 15 just won’t cut it.
Making yourself available, building trust, knowing your industry, and recommending solutions and technology that will make your clients’ lives easier will ensure plenty of long-term business.