This is the third article in a 3-part series from Monika Miles.
I’m excited to be back in this third installment about Rainmaking, or building your client pipeline. We previously talked about how to think differently about the Rainmaking process, and then how to find the time to actually do it. This month, we’ll talk about a few small things you can do differently this year that will likely yield big results for you in 2018!
We’ve all heard the quote attributed to Albert Einstein that “insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Yet, often we find ourselves doing just that. And it occasionally takes something to remind us to make some calculated changes that may lead to something better. I admit that I’m largely a creature of habit as well. But I also know that when I’ve opened myself up to trying something new, I’m usually glad that I did!
So, what does that have to do with Rainmaking and building your business? As accountants and tax preparers, you’re in a service related business and you likely have to generate revenue for your firm. You know that having a steady pipeline of potential projects and referral sources is a great way to systematically grow your business. Sometimes, just tweaking a few things in your plan and carrying them out throughout the year can pay big dividends. Here are some suggestions for changes you might implement this year to achieve better results.
Make a written plan. I know – that seems almost too simple. Yet, many people don’t do it. It’s said that people who write down their plans are 9 times as likely to achieve the goals they set out to achieve than those who don’t. That’s quite a difference. Draft your plan with measurable milestones and goals. Don’t be afraid to set stretch goals. But also be realistic. If the plan is too crazy and you can’t possibly achieve the goals, you’ll get discouraged.
Review your plan frequently. Even people who write down a plan and have good intentions about following it often don’t review it during the year. If you wait until the end of the year to be accountable to yourself (or others) about your progress toward the goal, you will likely find yourself surprised – and not in the good way! I recommend to review your plan at least monthly. If you’ve set measurable goals, you should be able to break them down into monthly (and even weekly) goals or milestones. As you review them monthly, you can celebrate successes, evaluate areas for improvement, and adjust the goals as needed.
Take on one new marketing outreach tool. Have you been thinking about adding a blog to your repertoire? Make this the year. And don’t feel like you have to start out blogging weekly. Start with once per month. (Experts will recommend that you do it at least once per week, but if that is too daunting, you can do less.) What about freshening up your website? Or revamping your e-newsletter? How about your social media presence? When was the last time you updated your Linked-In profile or posted an article to that site? Make sure to add your new marketing tool to your plan and then take realistic steps toward getting started.
Consider a mastermind group or a coach. Whether through a formal or informal setting, there is strength in numbers. If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur, it’s often lonely at the top and difficult to know where to go for advice or idea sharing. A coach or trusted network can often help you get out of your own way. When we get stuck, it’s often because we fail to delegate, or get overwhelmed with client work. Then the pipeline building, networking and future revenue generating activities cease. It becomes a cycle that’s difficult to break. A coach or peer group is often able to objectively help you take a look in the mirror and get you going in the right direction again. I’ve worked with a coach for several years, and it has been an investment that has really paid off.
Invest in education. This could come in many forms. You might consider attending sales training classes, or reading a couple business books about referral strategies or closing the deal. It might include attending a conference or even taking yourself on a retreat that includes some training and some relaxation. The truth is that we all are continuing to learn as technologies speed up around us. It’s important to remember that sometimes we need to work ON our businesses rather than just IN them!
And finally, don’t forget to celebrate the accomplishments along the way. Start by giving yourself kudos for finishing up 2017. And then periodically celebrate your victories throughout the year. Treat yourself to that nice bottle of wine, or a dinner date with your spouse or significant other. Buy those fabulous designer shoes (or whatever equivalent that is for you) when you hit that Q1 revenue goal you set, particularly if it was a stretch goal! Make it fun. Remember – with a clear vision, purpose and a great attitude, you can set yourself up to achieve whatever you’re striving for. Best of luck to you for a prosperous 2018! Let me know if I can help at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.jumpstartrain.com.
About the Author
Monika Miles is President of Miles Consulting Group, Inc. – a professional service firm in San Jose, California specializing in multi-state tax solutions (sales tax and income tax) and addressing state and local tax issues such as nexus and product taxability for clients doing business across state lines. In addition to her technical tax practice, Monika also helps other professionals to grow their pipelines and enhance their practice development activities through a program called Jumpstart Your Rainmaking. For more tips on Rainmaking, building a plan, and keeping yourself accountable, check out her upcoming 3 part webinar series – Jumpstart Your Rainmaking. To learn more, contact us today at www.MilesConsultingGroup.com and www.jumpstartrain.com.