Log in to TaxPlanIQ and experience intelligent tax consultation right at your fingertips Start a Free trial now!
Working Backwards to Develop Your Ideal Tax Planning Client
July 28, 2022 •TaxPlanIQ Support team
You start a firm, set your services, decide your fees, and (finally) find clients. Right?
Linear progression is predictable, balanced, and easy to calculate — which is something every accountant appreciates.
An amount of cash comes in, another amount goes out and this gives you cash flow. Set a budget and then analyze expenses to see how close you were.
But when it comes to your business, particularly attracting clients that you love and who stay forever, it's best to begin with the desired result. And really, it's not too different than the advice we'd give clients.
"Set a goal, and work towards it."
If a business wants positive cash flow, set a cash reserve goal and then work backwards to improve accounts receivable, generate more revenue, and reign in those expenses.
The same is true for building that roster of ideal clients.
Start with the Goal and Work Backwards
The goal here (as communicated in the title) is to find and work with ideal clients. For that, you’ll have to identify them in a fairly specific manner. Developing a full buyer persona is helpful for detailed marketing strategies, but you can get started by answering a few simple questions.
Who are they?
The “who” is separated into two parts, the entity you’ll serve and the person/people who pay your firm.
In terms of entity, it could be dentists, lawyers, bigger firms who want to outsource their tax planning, or even individuals with a high net worth. This is known as niching down, because each of these mentioned verticals (and all the others) have nuances that help you:
- Market better: “We only work with dentists, so we know your business model, which helps us do your accounting better.”
- Get results better: Since you do know their market, you know what they want and how to deliver.
- Earn better: These clients want more than bookkeeping and tax, including things like advisory or fractional CFO work.
- A better firm (firm better?): With so many similar clients, your processes, workflows, and systems will be down pat—leading to greater efficiency and team fulfillment.
Let’s say a firm chooses dentists. That’s the entity, but who’s the person. It depends.
If a firm chooses to target dentists with up to two offices, you’re likely dealing with the dentist directly. However, once you get to a certain number of offices and revenue—there’s likely someone else paying the bills and holding the purse strings.
See the difference and importance of knowing? If you’re calling dentists, at best you’ll get a, “talk to so-and-so, they handle all of that.” At worst, you’ll get nothing.
Key point: Set the who, both in terms of the market/vertical and who’s involved in making the decision on an accounting solution.
Where are they?
Yes, yes. We live in a global community with video chat, fast flights, and multiple forms of constant communication. And part of the benefit of choosing a vertical is because you have an increased range of the entire country as your lead pool.
But the “where” doesn’t have to be geographical. (Although, in a world where every firm is “digital,” physically meeting with clients will eventually become a value point soon, if it hasn’t already.)
In the last point, we mentioned the number of offices for a dentist. If your target is to earn five figures (annually) from a client, one office may not be your target dentist.
Your firm offers dental businesses with between $2 million and $10 million in annual revenue, and at least three offices [insert specific service(s) here].
Key point: Revenue, number of locations, employee size are all great “where” questions to include in your search for the ideal client.
What do they need?
The who and where questions help make this one clear. Obviously, this “what” is in terms of your accounting services.
Keeping the dental train alive, those multi-office, multi-million dollar companies have unique issues that other (small and larger) dentists don’t have. Maybe:
- They’ve remained as an LLC, but haven’t become an S-Corp (potentially costing a ton of overpaid taxes).
- The main dentist is getting older and wants to put together a succession plan and/or exit strategy.
- They need a controller or CFO-level of care, but don’t want the payroll expense (fractional CFO, here they come).
Of course, any of the what is contingent upon you answering the “who” and “where” questions.
Answer the Questions, and Write Down the Answers
Whatever you find out, write it down. Then, put it all into a succinct sentence or statement.
Example: “[Firm name] helps dental businesses with multiple offices develop a tax strategy that allows them to keep more of their income and grow a sustainable, long lasting practice.
After you have this clear statement of the ideal client you’re looking for, it’s time to develop those services those clients need. Want a little more help building out your value pricing system?
Download our Value Pricing Workbook, specifically to help tax planners!