I was impressed with the story of Tom Panos who is the leading Real Estate coach in Australia and New Zealand. The then seventeen years old Tom was unwell for a week so he decided to see a doctor. After checking his tongue and listening to his chest, the doctor handed Tom a prescription written “Amoxillin 2 times per day until finish”. On the way toward the door, Tom was thinking “I waited for one and a half hours to see this man and he spent only five minutes and gets paid”. Tom turned around and said to the doctor “you have got a very good job”. “Young man, what you have seen is only a part of a job. The other job is finding the patients”, the doctor responded to Tom. I have found the idea is so true and applicable to all industries (including us accountants). Every job has got two jobs, the job itself and finding the people to do the job for. Who are our clients and how can we find them?
According to the ATO 97 per cent of business owners lodge their tax returns through tax agents. There are always things that keep business owners up at night such as cash flow, employment, regulations and compliance. For small business owners, the day to day can be particularly stressful. When they have a problem, who do they go? It will not be lawyers, financial planners or finance brokers, but their trusty accountant. Accountants are more trusted than anyone else because we know the data more than our client’s, know our clients’ specific issues, and are not salespeople. It is interestingly that surveys show most small business owners do not know accountants offer something beyond the tax and accounting services.
So, how could we gain new business clients? By being proactive in business development and having an effective marketing strategy. Let’s start with the 5Ps: product, place, promotion, price and profit. Are the traditional marketing strategies sufficient? There is another “P” should be added to the list. It is “Purple Cow” (from the marketing book, “The Purple Cow”, by Seth Godin). You would see the purple cow first among well-bred brown cows. It is because the purple cow is different to all other cows. A message here for us is “Unless we become a purple cow, we become invisible”. In new world, if we want to play it safe, we become a risky business. It is time to differentiate ourselves to win the audience. You have to be remarkable.
There has never been a better time for us to become trusted advisers to Australia’s small business. We need to think like a client in order to provide the best services. Let’s build the relationship with clients instead of concentrating on compliance and legislative matters. It is now time to move from compliance to reliance. Besides tax and accounting services, we offer risk management, employment, growth, ownership structure, product improvements, improving internal process, billing and the list goes on. There is always opportunity to do better, always something more that can be done.
By Phuong Dang, Success Tax Professionals Maroubra, NSW