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New Year, New Outlook: 4 Ways to Grow Your Firm

After some much-needed time off, undoubtedly too many desserts, and never enough gifts, it’s time to get back to the day-to-day grind. But it’s also a new year, which brings to mind New Year’s resolutions such as losing weight or setting a budget.

However, for the sake of accounting, bookkeeping, and tax firms, let’s focus on plans and goals that help your teams and your clients grow and prosper. After all, the longevity of your careers is much bigger than a one-year focus or a short-term change (but those are okay, too!).

As you visualize actionable plans that make the most sense for you and your firm, we’ll offer four ways to grow. Hopefully, you can tap into some of these or be inspired to create your own list, and value and visit it regularly to carry out your plans and achieve your goals.

Work on “You”

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that our mental health has never been more important. If not for us, certainly for others around us.

Working on ourselves was on the back burner well before isolation—and still is an afterthought for many accountants.

 It’s time to change that. Working on yourself is a personal decision, and how you go about that is based on your specific wants and needs. It could be finding a better work-life balance, connecting with your team and caring for each other, exercising regularly, or meditation.

Whatever works for you, you must set aside the time it takes to carry out these strategies and activities, thinking and acting intentionally. One tip is to block time on your calendar—that’s not anything new, but it’s a great way to ensure you try to practice self-care.

Be Kind

Kindness is gaining more and more traction across accounting firms over the last few years — and for good reason!

How you treat others — and how others see you — play a massive role in motivating and keeping your team, client acquisition, client retention, and opening growth opportunities for your firm and your clients. But more than that, we should all just generally be kind(er) to each other.

So what does that mean for you? Perhaps it’s taking care of yourself, as shown above. It could also be trying to connect on a deeper level with your staff and clients. Consider setting up a team meeting or one-on-one with staff to share each other’s challenges and thoughts, providing a safe space to voice concerns or desires. Maybe it’s simply picking up the phone and calling your clients to check in on them.

Sometimes, a small gesture brings a big response. After a staff member accomplishes something, you could write them a thank you note, or praise them in the office or Zoom meeting. Everyone wants to not only be appreciated for their hard work, but also feel fulfilled and valued. On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with thanking your clients for their business and loyalty. It builds bonds and lets them know that you care about them on an individual level.

Take a Risk

Sometimes you have to be willing to go out of your comfort zone; this isn’t easy for introverts like us (well, we think we’re extroverted introverts). Chances are, you took a leap of faith to choose a career or start your practice, so taking some risks to grow shouldn’t be too averse.

Let’s face it: When it comes to business, most risks involve spending money. And while everyone’s budget and comfort level for spending varies, you don’t have to break the bank or live on the edge.

For example, you can spend a little more on marketing, diving into producing more content, optimizing your SEO, running a pay-per-click ad campaign, or boosting your social media. Whether it’s finding a company to do this or hiring someone to join the firm, it never hurts to help people to get to know your firm—and see why you’re the accountant for them.

If you’re willing to be more aggressive, you can make a splash hire to increase your talent, plan a trip or party for your team to boost morale, or simply delegate key tasks and projects to your team.

Taking some risks and trusting your team can do a long way toward growing your firm.

Highlighting Your (New?) Services

As an accounting or bookkeeping firm in the 21st century, restricting yourself to offering only traditional services holds you back from your potential, but more importantly, it limits your growth. You must set yourself apart, and that starts with you and your services.

People must first believe in you. Connecting with prospects and clients on a deeper level, getting referrals from trusted sources, promoting testimonials, and having credible marketing efforts goes a long way. But that’s only half the battle.

What you offer is also extremely vital in setting you and your firm apart. Perhaps it’s consistently striving to offer new services to keep your current clients happy and wow your prospects. Maybe it’s focusing on your best services/niches that you know will transform your clients’ businesses.

Whatever you decide, you can’t get complacent and must be willing to reinvent the wheel! These offerings may include advisory services, cash flow forecasting, wealth management, or a specific data tool or system that’s in-house. Take some time and strategize!

Put Up or Shut Up: Making Your Plans Matter

All too often, our plans and goals don’t come to fruition because we neglect them or don’t properly manage our time. There is no point in making plans if you’re not going to take the time and set up the tactics to carry them out.

Life often gets in the way, but if you come up with great plans, empower your team, and take action, you’ll be on your way to growth and happiness. Happy New Year everyone!

This article was written by Bryan Cytron and Scott Cytron.

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