As accountants, we are always suggesting ways in which you could improve your turnover and profits.
One of the major ways you can do this is by really building your business profile both locally and nationally. Even an online business can benefit from doing this. As a business, we have worked hard to elevate our business in our local area of Dunstable and Luton, throughout the county of Bedfordshire and nationally. Here are some ideas of some of the things you can do to make your business more prominent. We have shared some of the things we have implemented which have worked for us.
Being part of networking groups and attending events regularly has been beneficial. We have been able to build our brand in this area and we are a known face at events.
For the past 3 years, Suzanne Spicer has been part of the Women in Business (WIBN) Network. This is a networking group for women which meets for a monthly lunch and has one person per business type per group. The advantage is she is the only accountant in the room and has been able to gain referrals from other members for the practice. She is also a member of The Athena Network which works on the same principles.
Spicer and Co are also a member of the Bedfordshire Chamber Of Commerce. This helps support our business in the Bedfordshire area and we have made some meaningful connections through their events.
Our business development director Steve Spicer attends a wide range of events from local lunches to events in London. Business development is his role. He loves to engage with new clients by building relationships. Attending events has helped to build our brand with the local community.
Where can you find networking events near you?
You can find out about events in your area by checking Google, Find Networking events, Meet Up or Eventbrite. There will be breakfast meetings, coffee morning events, lunch and evening events so decide the time that suits you best and your budget. Also, consider the amount of time you can commit.
Networking is about building relationships. You need to attend regularly to build your business name in your area. Arranging 121’s is really important as this is where you can learn so much about the other person and their business.
Being part of a networking group builds vital support around your business and means you have people to call on when you need help. Over a period of time people get to know you, they then might refer customers to you who need your business.
Start your own event
You might decide to start your own networking event or maybe a professional group that targets your client base or industry.
You will need to source a suitable venue and then market the event. There might be costs involved so consider partnering with other businesses in your area to reduce the costs and share the workload.
Speaking at Networking Events
Suzanne has spoken at an event organised by Metro Bank. These events provide you with an opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise. Talk to networking event organisers and try and secure a slot. This isn’t about promoting your business but demonstrating what you know about your industry.
We love attending business exhibitions. This allows us to showcase our business and connect with new potential clients. We often see people we know as well and it’s a great chance to catch up. With a mix of networking, guest speakers and other exhibitors these events are a great way of meeting several new people in one place in one day!
Check out The 3 Counties Expo which covers Herts, Beds and Bucks. Make a point of researching regional expos, industry-specific expos and London shows. Entry is usually free for visitors. Check them out and decide which ones will work best for your business.
This gives your business a chance to shine! There are local awards, industry awards and national awards. Over the past few years, we have entered them all and been a finalist and a winner!
Awards give your business credibility as they are independently judged. Most awards have a gala final which means you are creating more awareness and publicity about your business.
In 2018 we were a finalist in The British Accountancy Marketing Awards and The Accountancy Excellence Awards. We also won SME Bedfordshire Awards – Dunstable Business of the Year 2018
Whether you are a finalist or a winner awards do help raise your profile. Awards give you lots of PR opportunities plus it is also great for staff morale!
Join your industry or governing body
Suzanne Spicer is a member of the Practice Committee of The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Being part of your industry body gives you a voice. It is another way to raise your business profile.
Work through this list and add your ideas into your business plan. Just promoting your business on social media isn’t enough to increase your profits. It is important to get out there and build a network, meet people face to face and be part of the local community.