How This Firm Owner Went from 0-70 Clients in 10 months
- Starting Raw Accounting
- Client Acquisition
- Networking on LinkedIn
- Raw Accounting’s Client Conversion Rate
- What’s Next for Raw Accounting?
Meet Luke J. Fletcher
Luke J. Fletcher is the Founder of Raw Accounting and an ICAEW chartered accountant. Having already worked for two of the UK’s largest accounting firms, Luke decided to follow his passion for small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) and set up his own firm just 10 months ago. Raw Accounting has a clear vision, to help small businesses unlock their full potential. Luke says that Raw is all about simplicity, cutting out the jargon, and doing things with energy.
Starting Raw Accounting
Since starting Raw Accounting, Luke has already acquired 70 clients. But why did Luke start his firm in the first place? “I was following that normal accountancy trajectory to partnership, and that being the thing that everyone aims for. I sat there and asked myself, ‘Is this really what I want? Is this where I see myself going?’” The answer was no. He wanted to set up his own firm and “put his own stamp on it.”
Whenever you set up your own firm, you need to fast track to find clients. David asked Luke whether he brought over clients, bought clients from another firm, or he had to start from the ground up. “It was zero clients, but I was always, right from the start, very keen to make sure that the right systems were in place.” So once he had the right systems in place, he started searching for clients and quickly found them.
With his firm’s business growth,, David wanted to know what size team Luke was running. “At the moment, it’s just myself and then I have one part-time person who exclusively works with the payroll. But other than that, it’s just me servicing the 70 clients at this stage.” You might expect that Luke is working round the clock, even overtime, but that wouldn’t be quite right. Luke says his hours are still plenty manageable—even describing his hours as well below the U.S. average.
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Currently, he has 70 clients. On day one of Raw Accounting, he had none. So where did he begin? “The very first step I took was telling everyone I knew, from personal connections, previous network connections.” As Luke began telling people about his firm, people began to slowly trickle in, recognizing a need for the services he was offering.
The majority of the conversations Luke was having were on LinkedIn, where the largest part of Luke’s network was housed. “Day one, I was on LinkedIn and other social channels saying, ‘Look, this is what I’m doing.’” While personal connections (friends, family, close colleagues, etc.) are all well and good, Luke found that his network on LinkedIn had a much larger impact as a whole. Another aspect of his startup post that helped bring in clients was not specifying a niche at first. “I know there are many schools of thought. When you have zero clients and, obviously with zero clients comes zero income… I’ve got a mortgage to pay,” you are much more willing to have a broad array of clients. Luke did say that over time they would refine that client list to be more niche, but for now, he’s focusing on SMEs.
He may have had no clients to speak of on day one, but what about month one? “Month one, it was one client but a significantly sized business.” Though the SME category is fairly broad, those businesses are typically family-run and owner-managed, so the tax implications from one business to another are fairly similar.
Networking on LinkedIn
“LinkedIn really has been a good source of business for me. It’s not just about what you’re putting out; it’s about connection. It’s about commenting, sharing, and engaging with the community. If you’re doing it for your own purpose, then it’s seen through quite quickly.” Luke’s strategy is actually pretty straightforward: build relationships, engage with your connections’ content, and foster trust. The idea is to create meaningful connections and conversations.
But how did Luke have such success on LinkedIn? Luke says that there is honestly no “special sauce” to what he does. He maintains a consistent posting schedule and doesn’t post more than once per day. “I think it all comes down to being authentic.” Authenticity lends itself well to being genuinely interested. Luke says that if you’re commenting on someone’s post, and you’re really engaging with the content, LinkedIn is much more likely to highlight that comment as the top comment on that post, which means it will be the comment everyone will see in their feed with that post.
Part of his client acquisition process involved some direct marketing, both on LinkedIn and otherwise. LinkedIn can be a good source of direct outreach marketing because some of your connections undoubtedly need the services you’re offering. “We’ve all seen how recruiters used to use LinkedIn. A recruiter would send a post, and they’re maybe doing that to hundreds of people on a daily basis. Most of them aren’t landing. Most people are happy… then one, bam. It lands.” Luke isn’t saying to send hundreds of LinkedIn requests and messages on a daily basis. What he’s saying is that you need to be intentional in sending messages and connecting with people.
Raw Accounting’s Client Conversion Rate
David asked Luke how many sales calls and pitches he made in relation to how many clients he onboarded. “I couldn’t tell you the number of messages and email conversations I’ve had. What I would say is, when you get someone face-to-face and have a conversation and you show genuine interest in their business, I’ve found that conversions tend to be pretty high,” explained Luke. The most important thing is building that personal relationship with your clients and prospective clients. Luke calls his clients on a monthly basis, even when he has no real reason to, in order to touch base with them, discover their pain points, and discover their concerns. Eighty percent of those initial conversations turned into current clients.
What’s Next for Raw Accounting?
“The challenge for me now is increasingly my time being that I’m fully occupied at servicing the clients.” Luke wants to focus on growing the business and continuing to improve services for his clients. The next stage is bringing on support and hiring people that fit with Raw Accounting. The issue there is that he provides his services virtually which is a new landscape he’s having to navigate. Do they stay remote and expand their service offerings out or do they set up more traditionally with an office space and offer more local support?
We covered a ton of great information in the podcast. If you’re after more detailed information, be sure to check out the full episode! If you’d like to connect with Luke to thank him or discuss the next stage of his business, you can connect with him on LinkedIn or through the Raw Accounting website.