Why you should make time for practice developmentby
Philip Fisher suggests that this is the time to begin development of a new sales and marketing strategy.
Over the last three months, most of us have probably either been trying to keep our heads above water in business terms or plugging away at existing projects.
In addition, the majority of practices have probably been wrestling with the details of furlough, worrying about how to pay the rent on the empty property and trying to ensure that distanced communications are effective.
A fair proportion might also have been considering staffing needs going forwards and determining the best way to tell unlucky colleagues that they are going to face redundancy.
At the other end of the business, there has been a need to prop up rocky clients, talk business strategy in this strange new world with others and try to negotiate fee payments and schedules from those who really can’t afford them.
All of this makes sense in the unprecedented economic climate caused by a pandemic and a government that is, perhaps predictably and justifiably, struggling to come to terms with all of the implications.
This writer would be pleasantly surprised to discover that more than a handful of readers have got round to considering how on earth anyone can manage to market a practice and its wonderful services at the moment.
The impediments might be seen as the business equivalent to a lofty mountain range. It is impossible to arrange face-to-face meetings in an office or pub, seminars are ruled out completely, while even a jolly at Ascot, the test match or the footie has disappeared without a trace.
In the straitened times, mailings whether on paper or through the ether will almost certainly be sent to instant oblivion, while cold calling deserves to be met with a barrage of probably foul-mouthed insults since the vast majority of prospective and existing clients will not be in a fortunate position as we accountants, who should at least have a base level of income to tide us over in the short term.
However, as we should all be aware, the way in which you can maintain a business and ideally nurture it and help it to grow is through marketing and sales initiatives.
It is almost inevitable that some clients are going to disappear, either because they sink without trace after months of zero income with expenses still racking up or simply can no longer afford the fees that we wish to charge.
Regrettably, some of those whose practices are primarily based on support for elderly high net worth individuals may also have seen coronavirus stealing away lives and livelihoods.
After three months locked away, the chances are that your day-to-day work has been brought under control and there could well be some free time available.
If that is the case, then maybe you should turn your attention to the development of a marketing and sales strategy that might succeed either in the short term or more probably once we reach “the new normal”.
Ideas about potential strategies will need to wait for another article but one immediate thought is to consider the prospect of expanding or entering into the business support and insolvency market, which must surely thrive over the next few months and years.