Since starting my practice over 20 years ago, I've consistently followed a very basic business development strategy. In the hopes that you may benefit from what has worked well for me, here are some suggestions to consider:
- First, select service offerings based on your personal skill-set strengths and weaknesses. Begin with services needed by all companies (such as basic bookkeeping, cash-flow forecasting, tax planning and compliance, etc.), then develop niche-oriented capabilities (such as litigation support, industry specialization, business plan writing, etc.).
- Once you've identified the types of work you want to pursue, concisely summarize these service capabilities in a one-page "Menu of Services." Use this, along with a well-written biography and a professionally-designed website, to keep yourself and your market aware of who you are and what you have to offer.
- Consistently market your services primarily to those who can refer business to you. Most of my assignments stem directly from referrals from other CPA firms. Depending on your particular practice, you may target other persons of influence, such as lawyers, bankers, consulting firms, and industry leaders.
- Commit yourself to excellence and quality in all you do. Deliver top-quality professional service on each assignment. As you develop a strong reputation for providing cost-effective and client-centered assistance, your referral-base will widen.
- Be persistent, and think long-term. Stick to the above basics, continually refining your firm identity and improving your marketing pieces and referral sources. Adopt a continuous-learning mindset, and use each client assignment along with self-study courses, research, seminars, and other means of developing your knowledge, talents, and skills.