7 ‘Big Rocks’: The modern accountant’s guide to growing a valuable and scalable firm

By Posted in - Public Blog on June 14th, 2018 0 Comments

marketing strategy for accountants

Are you struggling to make your firm stand out?

Forget trying to be different. It’s useless as a strategy. There is a better way to get noticed.

It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee.

Rather than being deluded about differentiation and wasting time with “unique selling propositions”, a more useful marketing concept is positioning.

Every business owner needs to understand the concept of positioning because it is a fundamental strategy. We teach accountants and entrepreneurs how to apply positioning to their business strategy at our Masterclass events and in the Modern Marketing ImpleMENTOR.

Positioning isn’t about saying ‘we’re better than…’ or ‘we’re the best at…’. It’s about taking a unique position in the market that inherently makes you different. Not by claiming you’re different, but simply by being different due to your market positioning.

If you want to stand out, do this instead…

Start thinking about a unique segment of the market you can claim through a niche marketing strategy. Focus on a combination of specific attributes. It might be a particular demographic, psychographic (how they think), industry, or occupation. We’ll go into more depth on this at Masterclass. You can also explore positioning as one of The 7 ‘Big Rocks’ of Strategy for Accountants in a web event—where we previewed the content for our next Masterclass. You can find the recording here.

As Shaun Stubley of Air Accounting said last time we ran this Masterclass topic: “At Masterclass you receive 6 months value for 2 days of your time.”

Nobody wants to hear that tired old spiel about how you’re “the best”, “most trusted”, “highly experienced professional”.

No one cares if you say that you provide “better value” or “better quality services”.

Any firm can say that and none of them can prove it. In fact most of them do say that—and then they wonder why they don’t stand out. Ironic!

Steps to make your accounting firm stand out in the marketplace:

  1. Give up the deluded pursuit of a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for your accounting firm. Instead, pursue a focus strategy to achieve clear positioning in the market.
  2. Get advice on how to define your focus strategy, buyer personas (ideal client profiles), desired positioning and clear marketing message based on that strategy.
  3. Base every decision, hire, business process, and piece of marketing content on your defined strategy.
  4. Have the courage to remain true to your defined strategy. If you’re not saying ‘no’ to opportunities on a regular basis, you probably have no strategy. Or you lack the courage to stick to it.

How do we know this approach really works?

Because we have advised firms across Australia—and around the world—on how to achieve this for the past 8 years. The firm’s who stand out and become real ‘rockstars’ of the accounting profession have executed those steps.

But defining your focus strategy, buyer personas, and crafting an effective value proposition is only a small part of your overall strategy. They require focus, thought, and often feedback coupled with refinement to get right.

When it comes to learning how to develop your strategy, getting the time to think and work ‘ON’ your business—with helpful feedback and guidance in a supportive environment—there’s no better place than Masterclass.

Steph Hinds of Growthwise had this to say about The 7 Big Rocks of Strategy for Accountants: “Go! Use the time to really work on what you want to achieve over the next 12 months. You come out of the structured 2 day workshop with an action list to refer back to. What you get at the end is a great blueprint to implement.”

Do you wonder how the award-winning ‘rockstar’ firms get so much attention?

Notice that the same handful of firms are featured on blogs and podcasts? The ones asked to write guest blog posts, and win major accounting industry awards.

That’s because there’s another benefit to specialisation. Specialisation doesn’t only allow you to better market and grow your firm by attracting ideal clients. It also offers an operational advantage. By focusing on a particular specialty, you become very, very, good at it. And being great at what you do will set you apart from every other firm that is merely ‘good’.

One quick example…

Our Modern Marketing Academy’s first graduate (and serial Masterclass attendee)—Steph Hinds of Growthwise—has since doubled her firm’s revenue for five years running. And she attributes much of that growth to us helping her choose two clear market niches. It allowed her to develop extremely clear market positioning and cut-through “wow” messaging based on the specificity of that strategy.

It all starts—and ends—with strategy

Growthwise is now dominating their chosen niches, and their growth continues unabated.

But their initial strategy wasn’t working for them—it was the same ‘strategy’ most accounting firms have. That is to say—trying to be all things to all people.

I can still remember the image from their homepage when they first came to us. A doctor, mechanic, truck driver and white-collar professional all standing side by side. The implied message of that image? “We’ll take anyone”.

As a marketing strategist, that image screamed, “We have no strategy”.

Steph openly admits that was actually the case back then. She describes the clarity she gained from us helping her define her focus strategy as, “the difference between night and day”. Steph cites it as a catalyst for their business growth.

Do you want a structure for how to craft a winning marketing strategy for your firm?

Being a generalist while insisting your accounting firm has something unique to offer is a guaranteed formula for being unremarkable. It kills your referral rate, and drastically limits the growth potential of your firm.

No-one is remembered for being a generalist. Think about the last legendary utility player in any football code.

Who was it again?

But if you specialise, then you’ll be the first firm people think of when a medical professional, or an innovative startup—or whoever you choose to target—is in need of an accountant or advisor.

If you’re worried that niching means missing out on potential clients and limiting rather than increasing your firm’s growth, you’ll want to hear why the opposite is actually true.

Do you have clarity on how to create a cut-through strategy to grow your firm?

Often we think that buying something—a piece of equipment, tool or technology—is the missing link, the solution.

This is often referred to as the Bright Shiny Object Syndrome: Where that new thing—that bright, shiny object—has an allure that draws you to it and actually distracts you from more important and strategic matters.

In business, the modern-day equivalent of the Bright Shiny Object is “the app”. The next piece of cloud-based software that will be “the missing piece of the puzzle for your business’ efficiency and success”.

It never is.

You might get that warm and fuzzy feeling—that sense of enthusiasm that what you’re purchasing is the solution. That everything will start to improve now.

But the act of purchasing changes nothing. You must be the change agent.

As a business owner and entrepreneur, one of your highest order skills is change management: The ability to bring about change in yourself and others.

But where do you start? What actions do you need to take to bring about change in your business?

Those are recurring questions we get at PARADOX. That’s why we decided our next Masterclass should focus on developing your firm’s core strategy. A strategy that not just makes your marketing a breeze, but actually helps you create change in your business to streamline and enhance your operations and your services.

Robert Moore of MSI Taylor Business Services had this to say last time we ran a Masterclass on 7 Big Rocks of Strategy for Accountants: “Structured learning from multiple mediums helps keep the education enjoyable, while hands on exercises give you a start on your marketing plan.”

It’s a hands-on workshop in the truest sense of the word.

Ever wondered why 4 of the last 6 Accounting Xero Partners of the Year in Australia all attend PARADOX Masterclasses and seek strategic advice from PARADOX?

Great businesses don’t happen by accident

Growthwise, Consolid8, Zerobooks, Change Accountants… Each firm put in a great deal of work to grow, develop their strategy, test and refine it, and improve to get to where they are today.

But what about you? Your firm? Are you ready for change?

Do you want to learn the foundations of a great strategy that helps you to work smarter not harder?.

Are you open to learning a whole new perspective on how to strategically grow your accounting or advisory firm? Do you embrace innovation and contrarian thinking?

Then you cannot afford to miss our special Masterclass preview. Watch the recording to get a taste of the strategic insights and practical steps you’ll find at Masterclass.

Now… imagine yourself one year from now…

You have a crystal clear strategy in place—you can not only answer those earlier questions, but you’re putting the strategies to standout and grow into practice. You have a sense of clarity, confidence, and momentum. You’d be—as PARADOX member Matt Sharwood of ADVISE Accountants & Advisors said to me recently—at a point where you can say, “we’re growing, and we’re not even trying”. (Here’s the video of our recent interview with Matt Sharwood)

Take a moment and reflect on that phrase:

    • we’re growing, and
    • we’re not even trying

That’s what focus and momentum feels like.

Results flow. The struggle recedes. Business becomes a game.

A game that’s fun. And a game that you’re winning. (And let’s face it, winning is fun.)

That’s the journey I invite you to take with us.

Start that journey by watching our free web event recording. You’ll get a glimpse of what Masterclass is all about. You’ll also find a few practical steps that you can put into practice right away.

If you’re already curious about Masterclass, time is running out to secure your tickets. You can do that and learn more about the upcoming 7 ‘Big Rocks’ of Strategy for Accountants Masterclass here.

Nikolas Ahkin from FBZ Accountants said last time we ran this topic: “Implement just one idea from Masterclass and it can make a world of difference to your business and your clients.”

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