Are you the kind of person who leaves making new business connections largely to chance? Don't sell yourself short. Learn how to network & build your practice!
2 min read
Networking is not something that comes naturally to many people, but it’s a necessary part of running and growing a small business, and CPA practices are no exception.
If you’re the kind of person who leaves making new business connections largely to chance, you’re selling yourself short. By doing a little strategic planning as you would with any marketing effort, you’ll find your networking can yield much more fruitful connections that will greatly enhance your accounting practice.
Follow the four simple steps below to take your networking to the next level.
One of the main things to realize about networking is that results don’t happen overnight. Stay realistic and expect that any significant business goal is going to take at least a few months to accomplish. Set yourself two main goals that you want to reach in the next 3 to 6 months, along with two secondary goals for the next 6 to 12 months.
To achieve these goals, you need to identify not only the companies that can help you but the individual people at those companies. Narrow your focus and figure out who is responsible for key decisions at each company you’re targeting: purchasing, business development, partnering, and so on. Some great places to look for this information are the company’s press releases and LinkedIn. You can also check the speaker rosters at industry events.
By strategic contacts, we mean people who can help you gain access to your targets. Think of them as stepping stones. You may feel as if working these connections is akin to “using” people. Don’t. It’s what networking is all about, and everyone does it.
Fortunately, social media sites have made it a lot easier than it used to be. There’s no need to cold-call or “cold-email” someone anymore. Identifying the strategic contacts that can introduce you to your targets is often a matter of just a few clicks.
LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature is a great way to compile a list of these contacts. By scrolling through your search results and delving into the contacts of the people that come up, you will most likely find out about other companies and connections you weren’t aware of that may end up being valuable to you.
Tip: Don’t use LinkedIn to send messages to your strategic contacts; use direct email instead. People in well-connected positions get deluged by recruiters via LinkedIn, so your InMail message may get lumped in with their “slush” pile.
Once you’ve got that list together, start reaching out. Your email to a strategic contact doesn’t have to take a huge amount of time or effort, but it should involve two carefully considered parts.
As with any type of marketing, the most effective method is usually to give some value before you ask for any. So your first email should provide some sort of value to your contact, no matter how small. This might be as simple as sending the link to an industry-relevant article you think might interest them, offering an introduction to someone else in the industry, or even just checking in with a friendly note.
This initial message re-establishes contact and sets the stage for the second part of your email.
Once a little time has gone by, send a follow-up email (in the same thread as the previous message) asking for an intro to your target contact. This message should consist of two simple sentences:
That’s it! By having a plan and executing it, you can be proactive about your networking and turn those contacts into real business connections that help you grow your accounting practice. It’s these small but strategic efforts that can make a big difference in any small business – including yours.
Stay up to date with all things Canopy. Join our email list for offers, and industry leading articles and content.
Explore more of our recent Articles, User Stories, and Ebooks.
2 min read
5 min read
Canopy takes the headaches out of client management by offering a way to keep client info organized.
I love how easy it is to setup a new client in this software. Once set up, it's one click to get IRS transcripts downloaded for my review. This saves me at least an hour each week in comparison to the software I used to use.
This makes workflow for tax resolution manageable. This business is a bunch of hurry up and wait. This system helps to refresh my memory while transitioning to different clients.
The ability to securely share documents with clients as well as complete POAs from client contact data already in Canopy. The ability to route workflow between team members with color coded statuses allows us to work efficiently.
Cool features, outstanding customer service, constantly updating to make it better. I love that I can upload files easily to a secure client portal and we don't have to email files anymore. Absolutely can't imagine not having this software.
It's safe and secure. Clients are able to upload documents and the documents are saved their portal which as a result, keeps us better organized. The task feature keeps us organized and we know exactly the status of each client.
Submit this form, and we will be in touch soon to give you a custom demo.
Set a time for one of our product specialists to give you a guided tour practice.