Creative marketing and accounting, how can they possibly go together? But they do! As a small business owner myself, prior to my accounting training I had a perception that my advisor was only someone that I would see once-a year for my taxes.
But now, after accounting education and a lifetime of running practices, I realize that accounting is simply a product that requires marketing just like anything else and one that unfortunately gets put in the “too hard” basket. As accountants, we don’t really get a lot of training and experience in that area.
Let’s take one example of the services we provide and how we can implement some marketing principles to amplify the importance of that service or product.
Bookkeeping is a vital part of the accounting cycle and one that a lot of small business owners fail to realize needs to take place before they can get the important advice from their advisor about what is going on in the life of their business and also the unavoidable process of compliance and payment of taxes.
What a lot of business owners do is essentially put the cart before the horse – they get things around the wrong way. This then makes it costly for them as the accountant or bookkeeper is backtracking and putting transactions in the general ledger often in a rush to meet compliance deadlines. The small business is presented with a large bill for important time spent and then often doesn’t see the value in investing further to get the advice that is required to allow them to make informed business decisions.
It becomes a vicious cycle, and not one that is facilitatory to a trusted advisor relationship. And let’s face it, this is the type of relationship that is most valuable to a practice, it builds asset value for us as well as maintains a healthy cashflow cycle.
It seems like it would make much more sense to take some time to educate the clients on HOW to keep their financial information in a systemized and automated process during the year. Yet a lot of small business don’t understand WHY they need to do this.
As accountants and bookkeepers providing the bookkeeping service, I believe that the road to success in educating this important function to business owners, should be very much part of our continued messaging, and form the foundation of our brand positioning statement. Connecting with your prospective clients up front with this message, sets the expectation for the types of clients you want to attract and maintain.
A brand positioning statement is a one or two sentence declaration that communicates your brand’s unique value to your customers in relation to your main competitors. It can look something like this:
“At Blue Box Accounting we take pride in educating our customers on the importance of the bookkeeping process and how you can be informed in real-time about what is happening in the life of your business. Don’t settle for a once-a-year visit with your advisor to look in the rear view mirror. We can help you look to the future.”
“Shuffling paper in a shoebox and paying a small fortune to look after your business bookkeeping is something that lots of accounting practices offer, but with Boulderstone Bookkeeping on your team, we will help you put the words behind the numbers and take the stress out of compliance deadlines. We care about not only the numbers but the lifestyle balance we help our clients achieve.”
Brand positioning is all about you positioning your product into the market segment for clients who want high quality, competitively priced services. If a smaller firm tries to compete solely on price, it may not survive as bigger firms can use their size to drive down costs.
It really is all about building the relationship and showcasing the value. So for those practices offering bookkeeping services, stand tall and think about your brand positioning and realize the value you can bring to small business owners
You can find out more on this topic at my presentation at Xerocon South on ‘What does online dating have to do with Accounting – Positioning Your Brand’ https://www.xero.com/xerocon/south/
I would love to hear your brand positioning statement in the comments below!