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CIMA Mip - Should I find a mentor paid or otherwise

I'm a CIMA MiP trying to start a practice and finding it very tough going. It seems to me some people pick up clients as easily as fruit and veg in Tesco's but unfortunately I am not one of them. I have been trying to seek advice from people and am now out Networking (which I don't find easy to do)

I hear Networking can be a slow burn but I can't really wait to see if any money starts coming in after 6 months, especially as networking at £10-15 a pop ignoring 6/12 month charges can get pretty expensive.

Going back to industry doesn't really seem like an option though I do apply for roles and I'm not really looking for a franchise as Accountancy may not be something I want to do long term or full time into the future.

Any advice would be appreciated. 

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24th May 2012 17:22

I feel for you

I find it very difficult to get new clients too, but I have other non tax income that bolsters me. 4Networking events are the slow burn ones. I find it very irritating when other accountants speak casually of signing up 3 clients a week. Just one a month would be nice!

Many people in 4N don't get business for the first 7 months, which is no good unless you have money to burn. 

You should read Mark Wickersham's book Effective Pricing for Accountants to make sure you are charging a reasonable amount when you get a sniff at a new prospect. While you're ordering that book, also order Dee Blick's Marketing on a Shoestring.

If you need a mentor, keep posting queries on Aweb and you will get some excellent answers from some really knowledgeable people. Or ask Cima if they can recommend anyone local to you.

Be clear about who you want to work for. Are you happy to work for plumbers, roofers, etc, or would you prefer a more professional type of client? You shouldn't aim to work for everyone, but rather segment the market. As someone from commerce, you will know what I mean.

Now type in something like "marketing" into the search box at the top of the page, and look through the hundreds of comments that have been made over the last year or so on Aweb. Print out the best examples, and see whether you can benefit from other peoples' experience. I know there are some fantastic postings on this subject in the archives.

I know how awful it is when the only people ringing are telesales people, but if you pick enough different marketing ideas from Dee Blick and Aweb postings, you will start to get your act together.

So that's lots of work for you to do, and the more work you do on marketing the better you'll get. I've just reminded myself that I'm not doing half of this - could be why I'm in the doldrums too.

Let us know how you get on. You can do it!

 

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By Katy D
24th May 2012 19:45

Find helpful network near you

I know the feeling, but it is early days per the last comment, use your time to research best ways to tackle your target market. Are you on LinkedIn ? - there is a good CIMA MiP Group where you may be able to find some support closer to home.  The annual CIMA MiP conference is coming up (I've not been as I'm in Scotland - but hopefully next year I'll be able to afford to go !) everyone who goes says it reinforces why they set up in practice in the first place - think there will be many people like yourself there.

Keep at it - think about what differentiates you from the usual high street offering (your a management accountant for a start - a different animal ...and not many of those practising to the pound either) so lots in your favour you just need a hand putting it together and getting out there.  Do you have a local newsletter/community website - get listed. I put fliers (card so less flimsy than paper) and put them in solicitor's offices, IFA's and shared office areas.  Introduce yourself to new businesses in the area - no-one minds when you're just being friendly.  Get noticed..do a couple of charity/not for profit freebies - word soon spreads if you're any good. Just don't give up !

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By BOD
30th May 2012 22:27

Thanks

Apologies for the delayed reply. Thank you for comments above. 4N and any other meetings look like being incredibly slow burns.

@Moonbeam I will look into those books and check out previous posts on marketing, thanks for the recommendations, whilst everyone seems to suggest that you should have a niche I'm not sure I have that luxury starting out. I can position my self as providing management accounting, value added analysis etc but that isn't the service required by your general 4N or many other network (though appreciate that networking is beyond the room) hence I need to be able offer general compliance services as well.

@Katy D - the MiP guys recommend the conference but I'm not sure if's the best thing to spend £400+ at the moment. How do you get to put flyers etc in solicitors, IFA's offices?

@Malcolm - as per my reply to Katy, have to think about the cost of conference, one thing to work on biz development as opposed to getting a biz going.

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31st May 2012 15:27

Don't give up

 

Contact Mark Allen after the Bank Holiday 

 

Contact details are on cimaglobal ewebsite 

  

 

 

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31st May 2012 15:43

 

 

Offer a "1st two months free" or "1st 3 months half price" if you are providing regular business services such as payroll or bookkeeping in addition to compliance.  You need to get clients over their fear of switching costs.

Have you tried signing upto servicestart and peopleperhour ?

Have you tried google ad words?

Its like trying to get a girl at a night club, the more girls you ask, eventually you will succeed :)

 

 

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31st May 2012 16:20

Beware Google Ad words

When I used this option last I had a steady stream of contacts from students - and nothing else. It was a very expensive waste of my time.

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31st May 2012 16:48

Set a radial?

Did you set a radial, mine is set to activate only if the user is in a 15 mile radius of my practice.  I noted that it did not offer this setting whilst i was setting it up I had to go digging for it.

 

Also they are doing a deal at the moment , £50 free for newbies (probably a months worth of clicks).  So you can try it and switch it off if your not getting anywhere.

 

 

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By Katy D
01st Jun 2012 16:30

@BOD - I approached them and asked as I was a new start up if they would mind displaying my cards on the coffee table in the waiting area....you'll find that solicitors, IFAs, insurance borkers and accountants have a useful symbiotic relationship - we can usually be of help to one another.

I also put up an ad in one of those manned car washes - where you have to sit and wait for 5 mins or so - so nothing much to look at but your advertisement.  Have to say it's worked a treat.

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