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5 Ways Accountants Can Market Themselves on a Shoestring Budget

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There is no shortcut or easy way to get you more clients. But simple marketing techniques could help you stay ahead of your competitors and earn new clients.

There could be nothing like an economic downfall that would remind CPAs and accountants that marketing too is an essential part of doing business.

For sales people, the task is easier; they can run ads, cold call or beat the bushes for referrals. But it’s not possible for CPAs and accountants to go door to door. So how can they attract new clients?

Here are five tired and true marketing strategies that can help market your firm on a shoestring budget.

Regular Blogging Can Help Emphasize Your Niche

Many CPAs and accountants may find it awkward about writing a blog. After all, they are the numbers people who are more involved in handling complicated budgets. But by not having a blog, you are missing out on a lot of opportunities.

Maintaining a regular blog is a struggle for everyone, but it’s especially difficult for accountants with their smaller budgets. They might not afford to have a dedicated copywriter.

Your staff is a wonderful place to start with. Leveraging your employees is perhaps one of the most effective ways to generate high quality content regularly.

Let’s be real – the only reason holding them back to blog is the nagging feeling that this is what they are getting paid for. Good content will not come for free, so offer them gift cards when someone contributes to the blog.

Quick Tip: You can’t make accounting fun, but can make it bearable by writing.

Ask For Referrals, Don’t Wait For Them

This would be one of the most common pieces of advice you would find for accountants. That’s because this is one of the best piece of advice there is. This business model has worked successfully for years.

Most accountants and CPAs are “shy” when it comes to asking for new business. After all, they tend to never learn how to market themselves. But accountants have to do it because they understand how important it is. This is something similar to changing baby’s nappies. Zero fun but has to be done.

Quick Tip: One true secret to get more referrals – Just ask. And don’t wait for next six months after your project is completed. Your existing client could be the fastest route to your next client.

Get Social, Gain Opportunity

Accountants are rapidly embracing the latest technologies to manage their financial activities. Yet, they seem to have not fully embraced the technologies for promoting their services. This could be because of people’s preconceptions of accountancy as a dry profession.

You’re probably ignoring social media because you think it’s a fad. Well, it’s time to stop ignoring social media. It’s not what you think about it. Social media is not just pictures of what you had for dinner or getting in touch with old classmates.

Social media has a business purpose too. These sites are free resources and work best to get the word out. For accountants, LinkedIn is one of the most important sites to be on. It offers an unprecedented access to a wide audience of new clients.

Quick Tip: Gimmicky slogans are now replaced by developing relationships with others, demonstrating your expertise.

A Website That Attracts More Clients

In today’s market, you have to put together a marketing plan and seek out clients proactively. And it starts with online presence. Clients are turning to the web to gauge legitimacy of a company and will require that your practice has a website as a prerequisite to working with you.

Accountants are busy professionals who don’t have much time to waste, particularly in the tax season when most CPAs burn the candles at both ends of the day.

No matter how busy accountants are, they cannot ignore the need to make rain. Consider your website as a sales team that works 24/7/365. They can easily convert idle browsers into leads without lifting a finger.

Quick Tip: A website can be considered as a constant window that allows prospects to explore business any time.

Don’t Market Yourself as an Accountant

One common mistake made by most accountants when it comes to marketing – they sell themselves as accountants. But wait, “I am an accountant”, we can hear the protests. Yes, you’re right. You are an accountant but the bad news is that the majority of your prospects don’t want an accountant. They want the best solution for their problems, a solution that only an accountant can provide.

Most businesses look at things in three ways: is it necessary, how much will it make me or save me?

Companies need you because they have a hole in their business and it would be your job to fill that hole.  This is the golden rule in marketing. You don’t sell features, sell benefits. So, give them what you can offer them, what sets you apart and your range of services.

Quick Tip: You focus on being an accountant while your prospects would focus on what business needs from an accountant.

Wrapping It Up

These are few sound tips to keep your marketing program rolling even during busy season. What is important is that prospects find your name when they are searching for the services they need.

Many accountants, especially those starting out, don’t have lots to spend on marketing. While the old saying – you need to spend money to make money – is true. If you believe in your services, you should be 100% interested to invest in getting your services into the world.

Marketing for accountants could sound easier in theory. It won’t take too long to figure out that it isn’t a piece of cake. Tax season can put all the tasks on hold. But remember that your competitors are always working. If you are not able to find potential clients, someone else will.

Keep your marketing engine revving with new leads.

written by Renuka Rana of Ace Cloud Hosting

Callum Connects

Benedict Heng, Founder of Mr. Farmer

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Benedict Heng is bringing back the ‘kampong’ days of having the Ho Liao (good ingredients) for Ho Jiak (good tasting) food.

What’s your story?
I’m Ben from Mr. Farmer. Mr. Farmer is an online grocer dedicated to supplying the freshest produce to our customers. We believe in sustainable and ethical farming. Since a young age, I have always been an avid food lover (especially meats), developing a strong interest in all things delicious. That is why I ventured into the F&B industry, working as a junior cook for 3 years.

Midway through my career, I made a move to the finance industry to pursue monetary rewards. I dove into high-risk investments and I made lots of money from these investments. However, the good fortune did not last long and all these came crashing down when I suffered a tremendous loss. This coincided with the time that I had just started my own family and it was a huge blow to me both materially and mentally. It was this crash that made me realize that this life wasn’t for me. I went on a hiatus and eventually, it was only through the strong support from my family that I managed to tide over this tough episode.

I went back to help the family business and this was how Mr Farmer came about. My family has been in the food industry for many decades and one thing they noticed from years of experience is that sustainable farming practices are not as developed as in Europe. This is why through Mr Farmer, we hope that we can provide the best quality products to families out there who want the best ingredients for their loved ones.

What excites you most about your industry?
Delicious and wholesome food excites me. I believe food is a critical component of life and it brings people together. The opportunity to serve the community with fresh produce for a healthy life, that brings me joy.

I feel that there is still so much more we can do to improve the quality of food and bring it to the masses. One of the key components of ensuring greater quality of food is to support ethical and sustainable farming. Due to commercialization and urbanization, most farming practices these days are no longer the way they were in the old “kampong” times. Shortcuts are taken, standards are compromised, all in the name of profit. At Mr. Farmer, profit is important too but we want to focus on the concept of One Welfare – sustainable farming directly impacts our health. Our vision is to bring back the ‘kampong’ days of having the Ho Liao (good ingredients) for Ho Jiak (good tasting) food.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore. I call Singapore my home as it’s where my family and close friends are. I also travel frequently to Malaysia and APAC for work.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
It’s definitely Singapore. There is just so much this tiny city can offer! Singapore has been globally recognized for its top-notch business environment providing its residents with developed infrastructure, political stability and excellent connectivity. These factors have given us an outstanding support system for businesses to strive.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Surround yourself with people that inspire you, challenge you to rise higher, make you better and, keep them in your life.

Who inspires you?
I draw inspiration from my uncle, who is the head of both the family and business. He takes care of our family matters at home and manages hundreds of employees at work. Handling both the family and business side of things can be tricky, but he has shown me that success can be sustainable and done with a conscience. His guiding philosophy of handling business and family is simply, to have a big heart.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Even just one day of separation from the day the meat is slaughtered, makes a world of difference to its flavour.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I have come to learn that awareness is the beginning of everything. If I had my time again, I would have probably spent more time figuring out who I truly am and with that self-awareness, begun to lead my life with more purpose and meaning.

How do you unwind?
I like to spend my free time sipping white coffee at my favourite coffee place. I enjoy taking in the surrounding sights and letting my mind wander freely. It allows me to unwind and gain clarity at the same time. It also helps me organize my thoughts to prepare for the week ahead.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
It would be Bangkok as the people there are genuinely friendly and hospitable. They say people are what defines the city and I couldn’t agree more with this. I also enjoy the ‘laid back’ vibe of Bangkok. Not to mention Bangkok has all the good food and awesome shopping choices too!

Everyone in business should read this book:
“Spin selling” by Neil Reckham. It’s an amazing book that teaches you a process designed to help you successfully sell your products and services to business buyers.

Shameless plug for your business:
We at Mr. Farmer have the best tasting meats in Singapore, do a blind test and you will know why it’s Michelin chefs’ preferred choice. Not only are we very confident about the taste, we are also proud to say that all our products are chemical, hormone and antibiotic free. We also focus a lot on supporting ethical and sustainable farming practices believing in the ‘One Welfare’ concept. Do check us out if you enjoy good quality food like us!

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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Callum Connects

Zac Chua, Founder & CEO of The Kettle Gourmet

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Zac Chua’s popcorn business validated itself straight away and fast tracked him to the startup world. Zac now employs 11 people and shifts 500 bags of popcorn daily.

What’s your story?
It’s a crazy one. It was an accidental startup. If you think about it, no university graduate would ever dream of becoming a popcorn seller. We crashed our first tech event to validate our idea and it took off from there. I bought a logo for $7 from a designers marketplace, printed some cheap name cards, and built a 1 page landing page. Sales started pouring in and eventually, we were serving B2B clients (corporate pantries) and we have never looked back. Today we move about 500 bags daily, we have 11 employees and we are growing. Talk about a validation that worked in our favour.

What excites you most about your industry?
It’s food! Everybody loves food! In Singapore the F&B scene is brutally competitive and it spurs me on to fight and compete for market share and to prove to myself that I can do it. It keeps me going and I won’t stop until we become the market leader.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Singapore, and have traveled to most of Southeast Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore! Even though Singapore has a high cost of living, the Government is actually very supportive of startups. They provide grants for us to tap into, and the technological infrastructure makes it possible for us to compete on a global scale. I believe if you can succeed in your business in Singapore, you can succeed in most of Southeast Asia.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
You only need to be right once, and the rest is history.

Who inspires you?
My father, who was a VC. In fact he was the one who gave me the best piece of advice which I shared above. Having one successful exit, he showed me that it’s okay to fail a million times – all it takes is just one time for you to win in business and in life.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The power of compounding.

  • Mary and John are the same age.
  • Mary saves $2k annually from the age of 19-25 – so she puts $14k into her portfolio
  • John saves $2k annually from the age of 26-65 – so he puts $80k into his portfolio, but 7 years after Mary.
  • If both are able to generate 10% per annum, who would have more at age 65?
  • John of course! But how much more?
  • Mary will have $944,641 whilst John will have $973,704
  • Think about it! Mary puts in only $14k but John delays for 7 years and puts in $80k.

CRAZY RIGHT!?!?

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing, my mistakes taught me how to become a better me. But if I really must choose, I’d say take more time to find the right business partner.

How do you unwind?
Poker, Mahjong and Dota 2.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Vietnam! Things are cheap, people are warm and friendly, and their coffee fills up my life. I would love to retire there if possible.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The richest man in Babylon

Shameless plug for your business:
We don’t need a plug. Just try our competitors and you’ll understand why!

How can people connect with you?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chuazongyou
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zacchua

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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