by Tony Vidler
Just about every professional says they want to be growing their business….they want fresh ideas; the business satisfaction of solving new problems for new people; they want to do something NEW.
When you ask whether they want new business or whether they want new clients, there is usually a delicate pause….followed by “BOTH Please“.
Are you sure that’s what you really want?
With a little more thought the conclusion is often reached that the objective is not necessarily to have more clients as such. The objective usually ends up being something like “I want a bigger presence in the market“….or…. “I want my customers to value me more and give US more of their business instead of giving some to XYZ company“….or….”I just want more revenue and/or profitability while working with about the same number of clients“.
None of those objectives need to consist of getting more clients for the practice.
It may do of course, and if that is the right way forward then thinking strategically about how you are going to approach that issue is the first step. Getting more clients is much easier if you develop a succinct objective that identifies who you are going after, and why. Virtually every professional practice has limitations on its marketing budget, available time and staff resources, and constraints on how much can be handled rapidly in the way of on-boarding new business or new clients.
To work out where to focus your energy and limited resources think about what you have in the way of products or services to begin with. Realistically assess what it is you can do, and do well. Then consider whether you are really after new clients, or just wish to do better with the clients that you have. This helps determine the real objective in growing the firm:
Once the true objective is clear determining the tactics which will be used to achieve it becomes an issue of
“which is most likely to work for us, and do we have the competency or budget to execute well?“.
Some tactics will work well in pursuing one objective, while not being so effective when pursuing a different one. If for example you are trying to “cross-sell more to existing clients” then it makes little sense to put enormous effort into paid advertising to strangers, does it?
Some examples of tactics that tend to work well in the pursuit of the different objectives are:
Grow Market Share
This is an abbreviated list of possible tactics to support any of those objectives for growing a practice of course, but working out what will work best for your firm really does begin with being really sure about what it is that you want.
Get clear about how you define “growing” before throwing effort into tactics which will achieve the wrong results….or no results.