“Where am I going to get clients?”
It’s a question lots of tax professionals ask as they ponder starting their own tax business. Being a great tax preparer won’t get you very far if you don’t any clients to serve. However, getting started is often a lot easier than you think.
Five easy ways to start building your client list as a new preparer:
1. Start with friends and family.
What better way to spread the word about your new business than announcing your new venture to family and friends? This circle of people will likely be your biggest group of supporters and cheerleaders so start there and ask for referrals.
2. Join networking groups.
There are so many networking groups out there so join a few that are affordable and start networking. Be sure to pick a group that doesn’t already have a tax professional in it so that you have the opportunity to gain clients from within the membership and then gain referrals from there. BNI’s are generally great networking groups to join. There is also PRO, your local chamber or small local groups you may want to join.
3. Develop a referral program.
Developing a refer-a-friend program is a great way to grow your client base. A referral program will incentivize the clients you have to refer their friends, thus easily growing your client list through your current client’s network.
4. Reach out to your professional network.
Are you on LinkedIn? You should be! Announce the big news to your network and ask for referrals there. LinkedIn is a powerful online networking tool that will help you gain more exposure and stay in touch with the professionals in your network. You should also consider offering some type of incentive for your friends, family, and existing clients to promote your business posts – the exposure you get from being promoted (even just from likes and shares!) on their accounts will go a long way.
You could also reach out to your professional network via email to announce that you have opened your own practice and are taking clients. You might even consider holding an open house before tax season (if you have a brick and mortar location).
5. Offer up free tax planning or other seminars.
A great way to get new clients in the door is to hold a free seminar on year-end tax planning or other tax-savings strategies. This can help establish your credibility while giving you an introduction to people who will likely become clients. You can promote your seminar on local news sites, through friends and family, on your social media sites and also through your networking groups.
If you don’t have a place to host a seminar, consider offering to speak at another group’s event.
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Growing your tax business is all about networking and building that word of mouth buzz. Once you have your first clients, offer them great service, incentivize service, and you’re sure to continue growing from there!