Tax business owners who are just starting out often get fatigued when it comes to acquiring new clients. When asked who their ideal client is, the answer tends to be “everyone!” While it’s true that everyone has to pay taxes, casting that wide of a net is not the best practice. Here are some guidelines to follow that I’ve learned from my 30+ years as a tax business owner.
Reach out to Family and Friends
If you’ve just opened your business, start with people you know. Announce it on Facebook and LinkedIn, and reach out to family and friends who may need your services and feel comfortable going to someone they know. From there, ask for referrals. This is always the first place we suggest you start.
While it’s great to offer tax services to the general public, it may be more profitable to gain business clients with more complicated returns. Target small business that are profitable (so they will be able to pay you), but not large enough to employ their own bookkeeper. The type of business doesn’t matter much, but a sole practitioner (with no employees) might not have enough complexities to justify hiring you. However, almost all small businesses will need tax preparation services even if they don’t need bookkeeping help.
Look Our for These Industries
If you want to get more specific, the following industries generally have 1 to 10 employees and do not have a in-house professional bookkeeper.
- Fully funded startups
Offer More Than Tax Preparation
Providing accounting services (bookkeeping and payroll) is also a great way to provide value and gain year-round income. You should be Proficient in Quickbooks since it is the standard used by most small businesses, and, ideally, you should become a Quickbooks Certified ProAdvisor. Being a one-stop shop for tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services, will ensure that your clients stick with you – and not leave you for a competitor that offers a service that you do not.
As you learn and develop your skills, consider specializing in a specific area of tax law. Finding a niche market like retiree taxes, hospitality, military, C-Corp, returns for low-income taxpayers, or returns for resident aliens and then focusing your marketing efforts there, can help growth tremendously. Rather than marketing to a wide audience, focus on one specific niche and push for referrals. Learn more about that here.
Learning tax preparation is one thing. Navigating the ins and outs of being a business owner is another. If you’re looking for more guidance on building your tax practice, check out my new book, Guide to Start and Grow Your Successful Tax Business. It was recently named a 2018 Top New Product by Accounting Today.