Account Director PracticeWEB
23rd Sep 2016
Some good points Glenzy
Certainly true that some firms P&L may not match the enviable appearance we see from the outside.
I'm not aware of any studies linking awards directly to financial appearance but they do contribute towards building a trusted brand.
In the case of the bar startup - I wonder if the amazing customer experience help build a loyal base of diners and drinkers, making it possible to reduce costs without losing custom later on?
Also - I have no hospitality experience, I wonder how common is a startup breaking even in its first year? I'd imagine the marketing costs, hiring and training staff, licensing etc in year one would make it fairly difficult for a new outlet to make big profits this quickly? (forgive my ignorance if this is a silly question, but genuinely curious)
21st Sep 2016
I have been on the other side of the fence, having submitted entries for awards for businesses I've been working for, so have first hand understanding of the anticipation and then the disappointment of not being shortlisted.
I've won a couple too - so know the elation the team can experience when it goes your way :)
21st Sep 2016
As a judge, I can promise you that we are rigorous when we review entries for the Practice Excellence Awards.
The kinds of things I'm looking for are:
Client focus (an ethos but also data to back it up - more than just lip service)
Planned growth - Whats the marketing plan? How are you measuring success
People focus - how are you developing talent within your practice?
Innovation - a bit more than just having bought in some cloud accounting software.
Business model - what makes the firm unique? Again, we're looking for a lot more than just saying "We're different from other accountants".
Firms are able to upload attachments when they enter, and the more you back up your story with data and other evidence, the better.
Some firms submit a lot of supporting information and the judges can spend hours discussing and debating the entries before we even get to a short list.
The team at AccoutingWEB removes anything that would enable the judges to identify a firm by its entry, so favoritism isn't possible.
I understand that it's probably frustrating that you've entered and not been shortlisted but I think your comments do a disservice to firms who've worked really hard on their entries.
I think Finola is right when she says that entering and winning awards can boost team moral and help with marketing.
11th Jul 2016
I especially like that Lambert Chapman has blog posts produced by and accredited to different people in the firm - this is great for the firm's brand and the personal brands of its staff
8th Sep 2015
Photos on the site
We've done some focus groups with business owners which does suggest that business decision makers (at least within SME), have a preference for websites which showcase the team and it's talent - including professional photography. There also was a clear preference for those sites where the photography had a consistent style across different staff members.
6th Nov 2014
You can certainly find out my name without too much trouble
5th Nov 2014
I would certainly get permission from clients before publishing any details at all. Case studies should be specific around the benefits gained or the problems solved but never reveal any confidential details.
Referrals and recommendations are of huge importance, and studies have shown that referred clients can have higher value than clients sourced by other means.
It's worth noting that while a high percentage of people value the advice of their peers when it comes to who they do business with, web presence does have an important part to play in this process as this is rarely the sole influencing factor in a purchasing decision (especially on of high value or importance). This is especially important where clients may receive several different recommendations.
11th Aug 2014
re: too expensive
We do often provide free versions of the content from our business and tax pack - we do this AW newswires and our own twitter and LinkedIn profiles.
If auto enrolment is an area of interest for you and your clients, then you can get the free version of the guide here https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/practiceweb/jul14/560922/help-your-clien...
Hope you find this useful
3rd Jun 2014
Strongly agree with your comments about pyramid type schemes - I think there is a gulf between this kind of activity and client referral which I believe is essentially earned (even if there is a reward or thank you gesture).
3rd Jun 2014
Lots of interesting points here. I think I would consider:
What kind of reward works best for MY client?What can my business afford?How does the cost of rewarding a referral compare to another lead generation method?
There's also a really interesting point around "aggressive" marketing - I think marketing should always be tasteful and appropriate and never risk being seen as aggressive. I do think though that we should not be shy about asking for a referral appropriately.
For example, if you did have a formal scheme, employing a telemarketer to phone your clients and ask them to refer business would be aggressive and inappropriate, while a footnote in a bill or P.S. in an email might seem more appropriate.
I suspect for many firms, simply discussing referrals and the associated rewards in a timely, polite and transparent way might be the most effective to "market" for referrals.