Today we’re excited to release our interview with Michelle Long where we dive into how to build a referral based cpa firm! She’s an established author (five books and counting!), sought after speaker, Founder of Long For Success LLC and Co-host of the Ultimate Accounting Vcon. [images style="1" image="http%3A%2F%2Fjetpackworkflow.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2016%2F04%2FMichelle-Long-Post-FB.png" width="1200" align="center" top_margin="0" full_width="Y"] In this interview you’ll learn: 1. How Michelle was able to raise her prices year over year (and how you can do the same) 2. Common traps new firms make when starting out 3. Examples of firms successfully niching down 4. How to strategically think about building your referral base 5. and so much more… Interview Links: http://longforsuccess.com/ http://accountingvcon.com/ http://www.linkedin.com/in/michellelongcpa Interview Summary : Many new firms want to make their prices competitive to “pay the bills”, but that is the wrong way to look at it. You must look at your firm or practice, no matter how small, as a fully fledged business. Which means, as you grow, you will encounter more expenses (staffing, rent, etc). Billing low will leave you overworked and unable to grow. Michelle values herself, her work, and her time. If potential clients see your rates as high, then those are the clients you don’t want. You want clients who see the value in your service and see that you value yourself. [Tweet "“If you build it, they will come,” as the saying goes."] Envision the type of service you would like to provide to the type of clients you desire. Set your mindset to be who you want to be: The trusted advisor. At the end of the day, it is all up to you to do what you want to do for your career and for your business. Step 1: Focus on Doing The Work You Love! Building the foundation of a thriving business is predicated on doing the work you enjoy. Sure, when you first begin it may be impractical to be too selective in doing only what you like to do. You have to pay the bills after all. You might start out as a general practitioner, but do not stop thinking about the activities you enjoy and the industries that interest you. As you grow your business capabilities and skill-sets over time, you realize how you have been gravitating towards certain types of industries or sub-sectors. Embrace it and continue boldly in that direction. The work will follow and your business will thrive. [Tweet "“You start thinking what would I like to do all day every day?” Michelle asks."] “And this took me a while. You know, I took on everything and I finally realized I absolutely hated doing taxes...And it finally dawned on me, if I’m the boss in my practice, why am I doing something I hate doing? And that’s when I decided, ‘you know what, I’m not doing taxes anymore.’ And it opened a great opportunity for me to do what I enjoy which was focusing on QuickBooks Consulting, and set up, and training.” When focusing in the direction you desire, you become that go-to-person. Then all of a sudden, you are THE expert in that area. You have the experience, and you have the credentials, and then you get to determine what kind of work you do and what clients you want. Step 2: Niching Your Business Focus As you first start out in this industry, it is understandable that you want all the clients and all the work you can get. You will take anything to kick-start your practice. But as your practice grows, Michelle asks you to consider more carefully what is the right client for you. In thinking about it, she poses these questions to you:
- Do I want this type of client?
- If so, do I want to accept them individually as a client?
- Should I charge more for my services with this client?
- Or even - should I fire this client?