So you’re looking to hang out your own shingle. Congratulations! The big question of course is how you go about differentiating your new firm from all the others, and how you do so in such a way that will bring in business clients. Here’s how you can keep from being “just another accounting firm” and how outsource accounting can help.
Inertia is going to be a big hurdle for you to overcome. When you try to talk people into leaving their current firm to join yours you’re going to get some form of “we’re happy with our current accountant” response.
It’s not necessarily because it’s true. It’s because it takes effort to switch from one firm to another, and right now your firm looks just like any other. So why would anybody bother to switch?
The opinion held by most people is that accountants are there when you need them for their seasonal tax returns, or when they’re in trouble, and that’s it. Outsource accounting is going to help you change this view about your new firm.
Positioning Yourself as “Always On”
Instead of selling your firm as something that’s only there when it’s needed, you’re going to sell yourself as an ally in helping people build their businesses. You’re not someone who just tallies receipts come tax time; instead you’re the bookkeeper who is constantly monitoring their finances and who can alert them immediately to any sort of problem before it’s too late. Outsource accounting is going to be your ally in building your business by freeing up an incredible amount of time so that you can in fact pay special attention to the books of all of your clients.
All of your seasonal returns work can be handled overseas so there’s no rush season to suffocate your ongoing bookkeeping and business building.
You’re not going to lose any time (or money) headhunting as your business expands.
And here’s your added bonus – it’s ongoing income for your new business year round.
How to Sell It
So great, outsource accounting is going to evolve you from “just an accountant” into an ongoing consultant who’s always got an eye on their clients’ books. But how do you sell yourself?
First, don’t sell your services in a manner that makes your potential clients feel dumb. They need your services not because they’re ignorant but because they’re just too busy running their business to spend all that time working on their books as well.
Second, don’t be afraid to start with niches. If you have any sort of relationship at all with, say, the restaurant industry, try focusing your first efforts there.
Ask for recommendations that specifically mention problems you’ve helped solve (as opposed to general “s/he’s a good accountant and a pleasure to work with” types of references). Other restauranteurs are going to have those same problems to overcome.
Last, outsource accounting is going to give you enough time to work social media. Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on are going to be great places for you to introduce your new firm. Don’t look for only accounting groups to join; instead find groups related to the niches you’ve targeted (like a new restaurant owner group from our example).
Interact. Be friendly. Freely offer tips and advice. Become the go-to guy or gal in that niche for accounting questions. The people in those groups will start to think of you as the expert, and being the expert means being the best.
People want the best accountants (a.k.a. financial business consultants) handling their money. Outsource accounting is going to help you fill that role.