30-Day Tax Firm Marketing Challenge: Day 21

Happy Halloween! The very fact that Americans celebrate this holiday in the way we do is truly a testament to the power of effective marketing.

We’re in the home stretch of this 30-day tax firm challenge. If you haven’t started developing new habits yet, I feel compelled to repeat: You have to pick a point in time at which you choose to start growing your practice.

This is exactly what I used to tell my 941 tax debt clients: You must pick the 15th of some month on which you start making FTDs, and continue to do so properly forever. Otherwise, there was no way to resolve their tax problem with the IRS.

The tasks for the rest of this challenge series are going to get a bit more into the weeds. They’re going to take longer, and require more effort. But at the same time, you’ll be creating things that will serve your practice for a long time, potentially even years.

Before I get into the challenges, a quick reminder about the webinar tomorrow. 10am Pacific, Your 2017 Filing Season Marketing Plan. No CPE, no replay.

To our challenges…


Online Marketing

Create your first digital lead magnet.
Estimated Time: 2-3 hours

Last week, you brainstormed a list of potential lead magnets, prioritized them based on a scoring system, and then created an outline.

Working from that outline, start creating. Whether that means you’re writing a special report, compiling research for a white paper, detailing questions and answers for an audio segment, whatever it is… It’s time to put pen to paper and start grinding out some content.

Don’t consult any grammar or public speaking guides. Don’t worry about spelling and your “umms”. Just grind it out and create it.

I can almost guarantee you that the first version is going to suck if you’ve never done this before. First is worst, but there has to be a first.

That’s what you’re doing today. Creating the first version, the first draft, the rough pile of research notes, the unintelligible jumble of Q&A.

Be OK with the first product. Nobody is ever going to see it. But you gotta make it in order to move forward.


Offline Marketing

Create your first physical lead magnet.
Estimated Time: 2-3 hours.

See above.

If you’re doing both challenges, great!

Grind it out. Work late. Ooze some blood onto this Halloween work product, because your lead magnets are worth bleeding for. 🙂


Practice Management

Evaluate the possibility of bringing in a firm partner.
Estimated Time: 1-2 hours

There are specific reasons that large accounting and law firms use a partner model. Today, I want you to evaluate whether that model might potentially be worth pursuing for your own firm.

Every large public accounting firm started out tiny. William Deloitte hung out his shingle in London in 1845 as a solo practitioner. Today, it’s the largest professional services firm on the planet.

Heck, every Fortune 500 company started small. Everybody knows the stereotypical stories of modern day tech companies that started in garages back in the 1970s and 1980s, but even AT&T was originally started by a teacher at a deaf school that was just trying to invent better ways for the deaf to communicate.

Just as you can’t be all things to all people, you can’t do everything yourself. In this challenge series, we’ve already talked about outsourcing, automating, staffing, etc. Now it’s time to start thinking about replicating yourself in order to grow your business.

Let’s take a moment to think about the most basic benefits of bringing partners into your firm:

  1. They bring capital into the business when they buy into the firm.
  2. They may bring an existing clientele with them.
  3. You have a second licensed person to help with more complex work.
  4. You have another business brain to work on business development and practice management with you.
  5. Business continuity in case somebody falls into a wood chipper or you want to ease into retirement (succession planning).

Do any of these big picture benefits sound attractive to you? Starting from this list, spend some time brainstorming additional benefits that a partner could provide.

With that list in hand, also spend some time contrasting the benefits of a partner versus simply hiring an employee. I’d make a side by side list here, comparing partner to employee.

Are there downsides to having a partner? Of course there are. You have to split profits with another person all of a sudden, you’re giving up some control, and it may suddenly become inappropriate to show up to the office dressed as Batman in March.

So make a cons list also. What do you know about yourself that might create conflict with a partner? What else are you giving up with a partner?

The smallest firm on the Inside Public Accounting Top 300 list does over $8 million a year in revenue. Are there single-owner public accounting and tax firms doing more than $8 million a year? Absolutely — they just didn’t submit an application for the Top 300 list. There are single-owner firms doing eight figures a year and growing.

But here’s the thing: These massive single-owner firms are outliers. There is obviously a ton that we can and should learn from these outliers, but they’re still outliers (read the Malcolm Gladwell book by that title for good info). At the end of the day, the most tried and true path to an 8-figure firm involves partners.

If you have no desire to grow that big, that’s fine. I don’t blame you. As an employee, I helped grow a firm from the $750k a year level to the $2.3 million per year level in just 17 months, and I wouldn’t want to do it again. It just doesn’t fit my personality or lifestyle goals.

But if you have such aspirations, and I know that many readers do, then it’s time for you to start thinking less like a self-employed person and more like an entrepreneur, and that means looking into getting partners. So crunch through the pros and cons, and give it some thought.