Growing Your Firm: The Accountant’s Playbook
You want to grow your firm, right?
When you started your own accounting firm, you had big dreams of only working with the clients you wanted to work with and help them grow their own businesses. And any time you had a taste of growing a relationship with a client in a corporate setting, it tapped into your entrepreneurial side and left you wanting more. Going on your own, you had to be your own boss, build and grow your own team, and ultimately call your own shots.
But sometimes the day-to-day operations of working at any job (even at your own firm) can cloud long-term vision with distractions and noise. From workflow management, expenses, and sales calls, you’re doing it all and then some. And even though you may have a team of great employees to help, you may still have trouble letting go of some aspects of your business.
We’re here to tell you that’s totally normal, but you need to learn to delegate tasks to your team members to be able to double your revenue in a set period of time consistently and continue to grow your business for years to come.
In this article, we unpack why you need to make your business growth strategy a priority, what types of growth strategies to consider for your business model, and then a list of each piece of the winning growth strategy puzzle you’ll need to implement for your accounting firm to grow its revenue and achieve its growth goals.
3 Reasons Your Firm Needs a Business Growth Strategy
A business growth strategy is defined by planning your business model around where you intend to take your business in the future. If you’d like to have a boutique CPA firm for small businesses and entrepreneurs, your strategy for getting to that ideal state would look vastly different than an accountant looking to own a mid-sized firm with larger clients. However, no matter your intended end goal, having a broad growth strategy and a plan to achieve those goals through smaller milestones will help your firm realize its success in concrete, real terms.
Growing your firm gives you a singular goal to work toward in all of your team’s activities. When a new idea or opportunity doesn’t align with your intended goal, you can eliminate it and move forward only on items to achieve your vision. Companies with a stated purpose are more successful than those without.
By focusing on an ideal state in all of your firm growth decisions, your operational decisions become clearer. For example, you may read about a trending industry in a nearby town or city that might align with your niche. If it would help you achieve an overall goal of expanding into new markets, you can allocate resources and decisions toward that end goal. In the same way, if you want to remain a single-office shop, that trending news story is nothing more than networking banter.
The public loves a good success story. And B2B organizations in particular should include stories in their marketing. So when you set goals for yourself and your business — and you meet them — be sure to share those stories. It feels really good, but it can also help you grow further and continue the momentum. So by setting goals for growth and continually measuring against them, you’ll know when you hit those goals and can share the great news in your marketing.
That’s right. Growing your business is serious and difficult, but it can also be just plain fun. You decided to open your own firm because you loved the challenge, wanted to take a risk, and most likely didn’t want to just work a 9-to-5 for a big firm and call it a lifetime. Keeping growth goals at the center of your business keeps that entrepreneurial mindset ticking, no matter how long you’ve been working for yourself. Because let’s face it; work becomes work. But you can stand to have fun at work, right?
What Are the 4 Types of Growth Strategy?
When it comes to a growth strategy that works for your particular firm, there are a few ways to go. Each strategy to grow a company can be categorized into four different types, mainly based on your particular business model and strengths of your firm.
1. Market Penetration
Maybe you’ve heard of niching down to achieve optimal growth. This business model
hinges on the types of clients for which your firm plans to specialize. To determine a niche or grow within a niche market, harness the power of storytelling. In your marketing strategy, share case studies and success stories related to clients in your desired industry or needing a certain level of service offering from their accounting firm. Market penetration pairs perfectly with marketing growth strategies to expand your clientele, team, and ultimately your firm.
2. Product Development
As a services organization, it’s often difficult to describe your product in concrete
terms. To utilize this strategy, your “product” consists of your unique clientele and work history, your team’s years of expertise and combined experience, or your unique process of completing work. To grow your business based on unique service offerings, investing in tools to increase productivity or automate tasks for your team is just one way to implement this kind of growth strategy.
3. Market Expansion
Expanding into new markets is an obvious strategy to grow your business. Either
through satellite offices or franchise models, accounting firms can benefit from market growth strategies and expansion when you have clients in multiple locations or can expand through networking, existing services that translate well to a locale, or with strategic partnerships. This strategy involves significant capital investment.
If you’re an entrepreneur that held a side hustle while working full-time, you know the importance of diversifying income streams. In the same way, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket with your business. Diversification can mean offering a variety of types and levels of service packages, expanding in new markets or industries, or finding new ways to offer your services and products and supplement cash flow. One example to earn additional cash flow is to host seminars for area businesses on basic accounting principles, hosting networking events for CPAs, or publishing books on your methods and business practices.
Components of a Winning Strategy to Grow Your Firm
At Jetpack Workflow, we get asked how-to grow an accounting firm from our own clients so frequently we created a podcast of the same name. The Growing Your Firm Podcast is a great way to keep the idea of growing your company on your mind throughout the work week.
Each week, we meet with a accounting firm owner, bookkeeper, or other industry expert in the accounting field to give CPAs the tools they need to stay on top of trends, best practices, and gain valuable insights from their peers in a time-effective manner. And over the course of 200 episodes since 2014, we have a pretty solid understanding of what makes a winning growth strategy for CPA firms.
So here’s what you need to do to set your growth strategy, implement it within your firm, and reap the benefits:
Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals [Infographic]
A goal without a plan is just a wish. So, make sure you follow the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting method to ensure you and your team can accomplish what you intend and grow your business in a tangible way. These goals should essentially be set up as tasks in a project management tool, so there needs to be specific work to be done, resources to complete the work, and a deadline to ensure completion.
For those of you that haven’t heard of S.M.A.R.T. Goals or those that need a quick refresher, here are the details to save or share with your team:
Involving Other Members of Your Team in Growth Strategy
You can’t do it alone, as much as you’d like to believe it. Involving key stakeholders in these important growth goals can help them feel invested and motivated in their work, as well as giving you some much-needed time to focus on your specific tasks and strengths.
If you have a team member that has experience in an area, such as marketing, allow them to hone that skill even if it isn’t a part of their day job. Side projects can help team members feel as if their work makes a difference and can reap dividends in better work and retaining top talent.
Encourage a Growth Culture
Once you’ve set the stage for a goal-oriented firm and involved team members in the process, it’s important to also trickle down this growth mindset to other team members and areas of your organization. In smaller businesses especially, employees wear many hats. But without adding more to their plate, it’s about infusing growth into the way you do business and work that creates that culture. For example, ensuring that team members have goals for their professional development related to firm growth can help everyone contribute to the end goal and feel included.
Business Growth Strategy Made Simpler with a Workflow Software
By having an overarching growth strategy built into your business model and day-to-day operations, you can meet incremental goals and incorporate them into a growth culture for your firm. In the same way a software tool can help you manage client work more efficiently, so can a proper business growth strategy make your firm more effective.
Try Jetpack Workflow for free for 14 days and take your accounting firm to the next level through enhanced productivity and efficiency. Making day-to-day work more predictable allows you to focus on achieving your firm’s growth goals.