Who is your IDEAL™ client?

I genuinely hope that you took the time yesterday to make that hit list and start ridding yourself of the clients that are time vampires and non-paying leeches.

Today, let’s move on to a happier topic: Replacing them with better clients.

In fact, replacing them with the best clients. IDEAL™ clients.

You already know that you can’t be all things to all people, it’s a cliche we all hear, all the time. But when it comes to marketing, it’s a cliche that you must embrace. In order for your marketing to be effective, it has to be targeted at specific people in order to elicit a specific response.

Your marketing messages will work best when you have targeted offers that are tailored to specific audiences. For example, it makes absolutely zero sense to market bookkeeping services to people that don’t own businesses. You can’t sell tax prep to people with no filing requirement. Taxpayers that full pay on time don’t need tax resolution. Etc.

For today, I want you to take a critical look inside your business. Turn off your phone. Close the door. Shut down Facebook. Tuck away the newspaper. Grab a pen and paper, and write out some actual answers to some serious questions:

  • What are the real names of my 10-20 favorite clients?
  • What specific things do I like about working with these clients?
  • What are the names of my least favorite clients?
  • What services do I genuinely love providing to my clients?
  • What services do I despise doing?
  • What activities in my business give me the most joy?
  • What activities in my practice make me cringe the most?
  • What outcomes do I truly like achieving for clients?
  • Why am I in business for myself instead of working for somebody else?

These questions are by no means exhaustive and all inclusive. Chances are, when you actually do this, you’ll think of additional questions. Don’t try to self-filter or rationalize any answers you come up with, just write down what comes to mind. There are no rules here, and nobody will ever see this list. It’s just for you.

Spend at least 15 minutes on this. Minimum. If it takes you an hour, even better.

If you take this exercise seriously, it will start to reveal some very important truths. We’ll be exploring many of these truths in the August issue of “The Profitable Accountant”, which will be focused on servicing niche audiences … Continue reading

Not all clients are created equal

Let’s face a harsh reality: Some clients suck.

Some clients waste too much of your time. Some people don’t follow your advice. Some people don’t pay you in a timely manner.

Two truths that might sting a little, either for you or for them:

1). If you have these clients, it’s YOUR fault. Yes, you. You let them into your business, and worse, you allow them to stay.

2). You can and should outright fire these clients. Make a list, send them a nice letter about your business changing direction, and cut them loose.

Today, I want to invite you to take a stand.

I want to empower you, to give you permission, to fire your crappy clients.

Here’s an exercise for you to do. You have time to be reading this email right now, so you have time to do this exercise. Drop everything else you’re doing, take 10 minutes to do this. Yes, I’m serious.

1. Grab a pen and paper.
2. Write down the names, off the top of your head, of your 5 most frustrating clients. You know who they are without looking them.
3. Open your A/R aging report. Write down the names of the 5 people that owe you the most money and/or are the farthest behind.
4. Look at your email inbox. Do you have any clients that have sent you multiple emails that you haven’t read yet because you know they’re going to be a time suck? Have you snoozed any emails from clients because you don’t want to deal with them? Write them down, too.

You now have your list. This is your PITA list. The problem children.

Now FIRE them. All of them. Get them out of your life.

Revoke POAs and send case termination letters. Send them any paid-for work product and return original documents. Suspend any recurring ACH or credit card billing. Send final invoices. For the accounts receivable, send demand letters, and then turn them over to your attorney or hire a collection agency or write them off. Send them all letters saying you’re “changing direction in your business” (it’s a great phrase) and refer them to a local competitor that you don’t particularly care for.

Make them go away. Make them somebody else’s headache, not yours.

The firing and closeout process may take a few days. Shuffle around client appointments if you have to. Miss tonight’s recital if you have to. … Continue reading

Do this right now for a more profitable tax firm

There is a weird, parallel universe in which I half-heartedly live.

It’s a world that I dip in and out of. A place I don’t really belong in, but that I occasionally extract good ideas from.

It’s the world of “gurus”, “information marketers”, “authors”, “coaches”, and other words that I would also place in quotation marks.

One of the most common refrains in that universe is that, in order to be successful, you must give people the HOW but not the WHAT.

In other words, you have to tease everybody with the big secret, but not *actually* reveal how to execute upon it until they’re giving you bazillions of dollars.

Ugh.

I’ve never been able to embrace that. Just can’t do it.

Sure, I can write sales copy. And yes, I obviously sell courses, seminars, books, group coaching, etc.

But deep down inside, I’ll never stray that far from my nuclear power roots. That Standard Operating Procedure piece of me will just never go away.

Why am I bringing this up? Because a newsletter for authors/speakers that I was reading yesterday was, for the millionth time, reminding members to “sell not tell”, extol the sizzle but not provide the steak.

So, what I’m supposed to be doing in this email is giving you a bunch of hints at the thing I think you should right now to be more profitable. Maybe say something like, “Sean did this one thing, and he made an extra $150,000!”

While that would be a true statement, Sean DID do this one thing and made an extra six figures, but I’m not going to foreshadow it and then leave you hanging. Nope, not how I roll. I’m here to give you the actionable advice. “Pragmatic” is the word I use way too much to describe how I prefer to operate.

So what is the super-secret, super-special, super-awesome magic sauce? What is the thing you should do RIGHT NOW in order to have a more profitable tax firm?

It’s really, really simple, actually. Ready for it?

Do this: Create recurring appointments on your calendar of at least 30 minutes as dedicated marketing time.

That’s it.

This is the first step towards becoming a greater you. This is the giant leap towards incredible financial success in your business.

If you literally make no other changes in how you run your business, do this. Set aside dedicated, calendared appointment time with yourself. A … Continue reading