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The Top 3 Firm Growth Strategies

Jason Blumer on Firm Growth

As a firm, there are often new tweaks and efficiencies that can be implemented that make significant changes to how you operate. And, if these new growth strategies work, you’ll find you’re creating a more enjoyable and profitable business model for your firm.

These ideas are simple and allow the firm to experiment in safe ways to see how their clients will respond to these changes. Here are three simple ways you can tweak your firm's business model and take these strategies even further.

1. Onboard business clients with a “Kickoff” meeting

It’s almost magical—beginning a new business client relationship with a "Kickoff” meeting. This builds a huge level of trust and brings a little bit of your firm’s 'back office' to the forefront for your client to see. Most of what we do as firms are hidden and this simple meeting can create a deeper perception of trust and care for your new clients.

The goal is to make your work transparent. In our firm, we use this meeting for three purposes:

  • To tell the client about how we operate
  • To meet the key people who will be serving the client
  • To go over the contract with them again

Our firm is virtual, so we hold our “Kickoff” meetings over GoToMeeting or Zoom. You could also do them in person, or even over the phone.

How to take this idea further? Once a lead reaches out to your firm to say they are interested in working with you, send them a step by step list of your onboarding process. In our firm, when a lead fills out our online form, we send them an automatic email describing what the next steps are in our onboarding process. This ends with the “Kickoff” meeting. Preparing them with this list helps the client know what’s coming, feel more comfortable, and see exactly how we'll take care of them.

2. Draft your prices

When a firm is committing to deeper levels of care for their clients, they can ask the client to do things that help the firm's business model become more profitable and easier to operate. We have been drafting clients for many years with Bill.com, and it allows us to essentially spend zero time on our billing each month. Since we price every contract up front (and don't track time) we simply set up our invoices with clients as “recurring” in Bill.com. They draft automatically without us doing anything.

How to take this idea further? You can require drafting with your clients. This seems like a huge barrier to surmount, but it is surprising when you tell a client that "we require ongoing monthly services to be paid as a bank or credit card draft"—most clients tend to accept your requirement and just carry on. If you want to experiment with this, start with new clients first.

3. Offer to take over paying your client's bills

There are many services you can offer to clients that they don't even ask you for. For example, paying a client's bills for them is easy with Bill.com. It also helps the client in other ways by turning their AP process into a digital workflow (that's some of the language we use when we sell this service in our firm).

You can tell the client that one goal of your firm is to help the client stop shuffling paper and to stop manually running an AP process. The AP process is a hindrance to almost every client in the US. Your client may even hire people to perform this process internally. Oftentimes, many clients don't even know to ask you to perform this service for them. So, offer it already as part of your services. And if you aren't sure how to do it, then practice—move your firm's AP process over to Bill.com first.

How to take this idea further? Offer this service at three different levels and give your client the opportunity to pick which option works best for them:

  • Level 1: Implement Bill.com at the highest level—teach the client how they'll be involved, and have your firm pay their bills and manage their cash. At the highest level, you'll do everything for the client.
  • Level 2:  Implement Bill.com at the middle level—teach the client how to use the product, and then let the client pay their own bills and manage the flow of documents themselves. You can still manage the inbox for a client at this level which will take the shuffle of paperwork off the client's plate.
  • Level 3: Implement Bill.com at the lowest level—teach your client how to simply use Bill.com and then set them loose to run the whole system themselves.

There are many ways to grow a more enjoyable firm, and the growth strategies above are just a few! Bill.com is a platform that can let a firm experiment in many creative ways with their business model. Just like running any business, experimentation is what allows a company to become more and more valuable to the clients they serve.

Take advantage of a platform like Bill.com and step into your client's operations more intimately.

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October 18, 2017
Jason Blumer
CPA, Blumer & Associates
Jason Blumer, CPA, has more than two decades of accounting experience. In addition to leading his own firm, Blumer & Associates, he is also the founder of the Thriveal CPA Network. Jason has been honored as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting (Accounting Today) for five years running.