Growing your accounting firm takes a lot of time and effort. Many firms forget to engage their managers and staff in the process. While we firmly believe all shareholders should each take responsibility to contribute to growing their firm, that doesn’t mean that they do it all themselves.
Engaging your managers and staff is good for several reasons. One, it teaches them that growth is important to the firm and helps establish a culture around growth. Two, it gives them the opportunity to learn how to market and sell—which should be key for anyone wanting to progress in their career. Three, it allows you to execute on key problems without everything falling on a shareholder’s plate. This doesn’t mean shareholders don’t have a role and responsibility in the process, but it refocuses their efforts from being a doer to being a coach and manager and thought leader.
Here are 6 ways to engage your managers and staff in your growth.
1. Have them help develop content
Content development is one of the easiest ways to get younger staff involved in your marketing activities. Having them write an article, or better yet re-write an article, is a great way to give them experience. It teaches them how to write non-technically and can provide you with a good source of regular content. Content development could involve everything from article/blog post writing to developing presentations or even video scripts. If you are going to do this, make sure you have a good quality-control process and ensure you have a good editor on hand. Don’t expect perfection. As with any content, you should plan to edit it.
2. Engage them in cross-selling identification activities
Your staff and managers are on the front lines with your clients. Getting them involved in identifying opportunities to do more with your clients is an easy way to have them contribute to your growth. Considering having them look for opportunities in two or three areas with the clients their work with and then reward them for notifying you of opportunities—even if they don’t go anywhere.
3. Engage them in client-service initiatives
Need to schedule a call with a client, say for a quarterly tax check-in? What about making a phone call this summer to schedule a lunch? Consider having the staff member make the initial point of contact on behalf of the shareholder to schedule and participate in the call or outing with the client.
Better yet, if you are revamping your client communications (such as the letters you send your clients with their tax return), consider including them in this process and having them help.
4. Get them out networking and attending prospect meetings
I believe shareholders should never go alone to an event or lunch. They should always have someone else from the firm with them—and not another partner in many instances unless it’s a specific sales meeting with a prospect. Instead, they should be bringing along a staff member so they can observe and begin to build their network.
Furthermore, encourage staff to attend events simply to get comfortable representing and talking about themselves and the firm. These skills will not only help one day with the firm’s growth, but with their client service abilities too.
5. Use them to improve your processes and efficiencies
My good friend Dustin Hoesteler is the king of process and efficiency. He’s a big advocate of involving staff in improvements. Your staff and managers are closest to the action in your firm and can provide really valuable input on how to make this more efficient and more profitable for your firm.
6. Contribute to your digital marketing efforts
Generally speaking, most of your staff and managers are a technology-savvy group. Engage those who have a real passion to help you with your digital marketing efforts. Consider training them and then having them work with shareholders who aren’t as comfortable with social media on improving their profiles and growing their networks on line. Better yet, have them provide ideas and input on how to better engage your communities or contribute content ideas.
Not everyone at a firm will be good at all things. That’s true for shareholders and for staff. However, you have to give them the opportunity early to try things to determine what they are good at and let them become comfortable with before they become seasoned enough to not be afraid to handle those challenges on their own