CPA Practice Advisor

JUL 2018

Today's Technology for Tomorrow's Firm.

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JULY 2018 ■ www.CPAPracticeAdvisor.com 15 BUILDING YOUR NICHE PRACTICE theme, such as sending joint cream with a mailer “Work with a CPA who understands your pain points. Payroll, QuickBooks, accounting, taxes, retirement, health care, expense tracking, equipment and inventory tracking, employee classification, and more. Call us today!” Leverage text messaging campaigns to share important tax updates, payment schedules, and meetings with clients. Conduct email research for HVAC contractors in your area. You can do this with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Search using Google’s Advanced Search Operator Function. Once you have an email list, send an opt-in email to your list with a reason why they should opt into your text messages or email. Review your website HVAC services page to ensure you’re using long-tail keywords (phrases instead of a single term) and voice-based search terms, like “Who are HVAC accountants in my area?” Create a unique HVAC landing page on your site that offers up to three service benefits, a short form to draw in leads, links to your privacy policy and terms and conditions, plus a relevant image. Once created, point your online ad campaigns and some social media posts to the page. Consider a social media, paid promotional campaign or a short video ad with viral potential for Facebook or Instagram. Use humor to grab attention if your brand personality permits it. Host a summer “cool down” or winter “heat up” event with some of your other clients that offer a variety of services for HVAC contractors and business owners, such as insurance providers, lending institutions, spa services, work boot vendors, and more. You might even consider working with a travel agent to host a cool summer getaway or fun-in-the-sun winter trip contest. Speak at HVAC conferences. But rather than focusing on your services, focus on their pain points. Tell a story about a contractor’s paint point and how you helped that contractor to overcome it. At the end of the conference, be sure to have your case study available for download, easy reading, or video. Bonus Tip: Consider writing guest blog posts (generally unpaid) in HVAC publications, such as The ACHR News, National HVAC and Refrigeration Insider Online, HVACR Business, Supply House Times, Engineered Systems Magazine, or Contractor Magazine. Ultimately, your goal should be to create content one time and repurpose it for existing clients and leads whenever possible. Remember to keep their pain points and your solutions in mind for any content you generate. It will make the marketing effort easier, less time consuming, and a better return on investment. ■ pursue this,” he said. He has the following advice for accountants or firms considering developing an industry niche: Commit to investing a specific amount of time in the market niche or at least in researching it. “Learn everything you can about that industry,” said Bohinc, who actually holds plumbing and HVAC contractors’ licenses in Ohio. ”If you’re already working with manufacturers, you can build with that and go farther, but you have to invest the time” to research and grow, he said. He recommends setting a time period – six months, nine months or a year – to research and really go after a specific industry. With the resources available on the Internet, it’s fairly easy to find some industry financial analysis, and trade associations can be a huge help, according to Bohinc. “See what information they have,” he said. From the size of the industry to contact lists to opportunities to network, trade associations often have resources to help you grow your industry niche. The American Society of Association Executives has a search engine to help you find the relevant associations. This kind of research helps with business development in your niche. It also helps you become even more of an expert whom clients will see as a trusted advisor. Use industry data. Some trade groups for industries are better than others at providing statistical data, and government bodies also may have detailed information on some industries. But it’s important to look for industry data that can help your clients know how they are doing. Bohinc has a weekly conference call with a group of clients in the same industry that are all trying to grow and improve. He uses the time to review the companies’ recent financial metrics, to compare them and to foster discussions that help the companies learn from each other and improve. Comparing client data with peers in the same state or region or the entire industry can be helpful, Bohinc said. Be smart about how much of your business you concentrate in one industry. “You need to be cautious of not putting all of your eggs in one basket,” Bohinc said. For example, if you had been concentrating only on the building and new construction industry several years ago, you would have faced major problems as the housing market crashed. Look at sub-niches or related industries that may have different drivers to provide some diversity to your business. Limiting how much of your business is tied to one industry helps manage your risk. It should also ensure you’re not so focused on one industry or sub-industry that you miss opportunities to tap into new types of businesses or industries. “It’s OK to market to your industry niche, to have a section of your webpage devoted to it, but don’t make it all about that, because you may find yourself with not enough business or you could get pigeon-holed,” Bohinc said. Don’t shortchange yourself on pricing. Use sound business-management practices you’d offer a client when you’re setting your rates for the specialized business, taking into account the specific services you’ll offer, their costs, your breakeven point and your margin goals. Bohinc said you shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking you will make up in volume any discounting you provide. “You certainly can premium price your services in that niche,” he said. ■ RESOURCES FOR THE CONTRACTOR ACCOUNTANT • 6 Common Accounting Mistakes Contractors Make: https://bit.ly/2ur9IAz • Ten Job Costing Tips for Contractors : https://bit.ly/2L9nUcd • Accounting for Contractors: Basic Guide for New Contracting Companies: https://bit.ly/2NKYvUy • HVAC Accounting Tips: How to Balance the Books: https://bit.ly/2LaUneE

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