This week I am sharing with you 15 of the key points I referenced during a recent conversation with an accountant who wanted to know what they should be doing in year 3 of their newish practice.
The accountant had booked a one-off focused mentoring call, having started their practice just before the pandemic. They feel they have only done ‘ok’ over the last two years. I thought they were being a little hard on themselves and I was also impressed that they had reached out for some help before things went too far wrong.
Essentially they wanted to know what should they do now to ensure business success in the future and to help them plan for the future? What should they review and how should they approach such review? What questions should they ask themselves?
15 headline tips
After our call I sent a follow up email to remind the accountant of my advice – which centred around the following 15 tips and tricks:
- Start by celebrating your successes. Review what worked well and also what lessons you can learn from whatever didn’t go as you’d hoped.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t achieve your initial ambitions. But do look back and think about what you could do differently in the future.
- It sounds as if you started out more in hope than with any real plan; now is the time to start being more strategic, especially as regards the impact of MTD.
- Review the time you spend networking on and offline and which groups are proving to be the best use of your time.
- As you now have a good base of clients, focus your marketing messages, social media and LinkedIn activity so as to get more of the clients you most enjoy working with.
- Review your approach to quoting fees and billing clients. Plan how you will increase the silly low fees you are charging some of your earliest clients – the ones you took on right at the beginning and before you realised how much work would really be involved.
- Identify the gaps in your ‘tech stack’ – what further software and tech support would make life easier for you and enable you to deliver better client service
- Update your Linkedin profile so that it better reflects your style and approach as compared with when you started. Focus it on the people you most want to influence.
- Check that the wording on your website reflects the practice you have become rather than what you first hoped to be when you started out. Add a short personal profile and current photo. You absolutely do NOT need to develop a more sophisticated website.
- What will you do differently to maintain your drive and motivation to build on what you’ve achieved so far?
- Review your CPD records and ensure you are making time to regularly keep up to date with all relevant technical changes and developments
- Set yourself some informed targets for the next 12 months. How many more clients do you want? What work do you want to be engaged to do? What average level of fees do you want to be charging? What will be your minimum fee quotes?
- Be firm as regards how many hours you work each day/week. If you need support consider outsourcing unless you know someone locally who has the skills, time and experience to help for a reasonable fee.
- Thinking about the conversations you’ve had with clients, consider what key business skills you would benefit from enhancing over the coming year.
- I appreciate that you initially felt that you could not afford to invest in a mentor or practice coach. Now that things are progressing nicely perhaps you should revisit your decision. I would say this wouldn’t I, but experience suggests that making an investment now will enable you to achieve more in the coming year than if you continue trying to do everything alone and learning only from your mistakes (many of which you now know you could easily avoid)?
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