Every bookkeeper/accountant has at least one client horror story. In some ways, it’s a rite of passage. When starting a business, your gut tells you to work with anyone that's willing to pay (in fact, it's common practice!). But the reality is, much like romantic relationships, some people just aren't a good match. And when you don't vet clients like you do potential partners, you're bound to run into a hiccup or two...or three.
In this blog post, we'll give you helpful tips to pick great clients for your cloud accounting or bookkeeping practice.
How to Define Your Ideal Client
When defining your ideal client, it's best to look at business and personal characteristics separately.
1) What industry vertical do you want to specialize in?
Tip: Take stock of your existing client base and identify the clients you enjoy working with most. If you start to notice a pattern (for example; all your best clients are in eCommerce), focus on that niche.
2) What is your ideal client's business size?
Tip: Is your goal to grow quickly, or to achieve work life harmony? If the former, the sky's the limit! If the latter, proceed with caution.
3) What is their current process and workflow?
Tip: Are you a cloud accountant or bookkeeper? If so, try to work with clients that have adopted the cloud (or are willing to make the change). If not, you may find yourself chasing after paper documents in the middle of your summer vacation!
4) What is your pricing model? What is their budget?
Tip: You're a trusted advisor. You help clients demystify the complexities of their finances. If you want to charge fixed fees, make sure to work with clients that are willing, and can afford to work with you.
1) What is their communication style:
Tip: Trust your gut. If a potential client hasn't been respectful or clear throughout the sales process, they won't be after you bring them on.
2) What is their willingness and ability to adapt?
Tip: To provide the best solution, you're constantly adopting new technologies and processes. If your potential client isn't open to change, they might not be the right fit for your practice.
Now that you’ve defined your ideal client, how do you attract them?
How to Attract Your Ideal Client
For this section, we’re going to take inspiration from our recent blog post: How your accounting firm can be everywhere, charge more and build momentum. It’s all about your niche! Once you’ve identified your ideal bookkeeping client (size and industry), start to use your expertise within that segment as a competitive advantage. Focusing your marketing and sales efforts on your ideal client's niche will help you more easily attract new business.
1) It’s easier to stand out
Differentiation in the accounting and bookkeeping industry is hard. In a perfect world, firms would differentiate themselves based on the services they provide. But the reality is, most offer the same things, like accounts payable, accounts receivable, financial reporting, reconciliation, audit proofing, etc. One way to stand out is to prove to potential clients that you understand their specific business, goals, and challenges. Use your experience with clients in industry xyz as a way to build trust. You’ll quickly notice that focusing on a niche will help you rise above the competition.
2) It’s easier to market your firm
The biggest benefit to targeting your ideal client's niche, is that it simplifies your marketing message and strategy. Whether you’re updating your website, writing a blog post, or interacting on social media, make sure to speak directly to your niche, their goals, and challenges. This will help position your practice as the expert within industry xyz. And once you’re seen as an expert, your ideal client will start looking for you! This doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s achievable when you become hyper-focused.
As Jennifer Moore, founder of Moore Details, Intuit Firm of the Future Finalist and Hubdoc Top 50 Cloud Accountant, will tell you – picking the right clients is key to your firm's long term success. Whether you want to be the next cloud accounting giant, or you just want to run a business that allows you to spend more time with family. Working with the right clients will get you there.
Watch our webinar with Jennifer Moore to get advanced tips on how to define, qualify and attract the right clients to grow your firm!