Being a successful accountant or business advisor is about more than meeting the needs of your existing clients. It’s also about having the right tools to expand your clientele and generate new business for yourself and your practice. One of the most effective ways to do that is by raising your profile in the community through networking at industry and non-profit associations.
Building a name for yourself can result in many important benefits, including:
- Attracting new clients because people have heard of you and are aware of your expertise in the industry
- Opening doors to building stronger relationships with key influencers, including referral sources
- Being perceived as an industry expert, and as a result, becoming the first person someone calls when they have a question related to your area
While raising your profile doesn’t happen overnight, here’s a number of simple, straightforward steps you can take to increase awareness of who you are and how you can promote your expertise to potential clients, business organizations and other key stakeholders.
WHERE TO START
Begin by making a networking list of who your current clients are, and who your ideal clients are. What groups and organizations do they belong to? Take a look at their LinkedIn and / or Facebook profiles, and if they have bio’s on their company websites.
Identify associations, clubs, conferences, events and other opportunities that are both relevant to your area of expertise and of interest to those you wish to have as potential clients. Make a short-list of associations, find out when and where they meet, and see if they have any events coming up which you could attend.
JOIN A PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION
Professional associations geared toward the industry of your specialty are an excellent way to target your networking initiatives. For example, if you work with auto dealers consider joining a local or provincial dealership association. This organization will likely have members you could target as potential clients.
Regardless of which industry you work in, you can always find associations relevant to your field. Joining one or more can greatly expand your network of contacts, including potential clients, referral sources, and other key influencers.
- Industry Associations
- Chambers of Commerce
- Business Improvement Associations
- Boards of Trade
JOIN A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
Non-profit organizations are always looking for responsible and qualified people to help ensure smooth operations. Given that most of those serving on a non-profit organization’s board are unpaid volunteers, they are often grateful when skilled professionals like yourself offer to share their insights and expertise.
As an experienced financial professional or business advisor, you can offer a unique skill to a non-profit’s board by filling an important position. Non-profit boards are often run by professionals in various industries and can provide another opportunity to network with like-minded individuals who are passionate about a similar cause.
Just as there are many professional associations that relate to your particular industry, you should be able to find a non-profit organization that is also related to your area of expertise. For example, if you specialize in assisting dental practitioners, consider joining an organization like “Dentists Without Borders,” a non-profit organization that provides dentistry services in developing countries. Although you may not be a dentist, as a non-profit they would likely welcome the business expertise you can provide. This will also open the doors to a network of potential clients.
Joining a professional, industry or not-for-profit association can be a rewarding experience and increase your profile in your community, BUT PLEASE only join an association if you are going to be an active contributor and not if you only go to try to squeeze business leads. Join the association, get actively involved, and others will learn about who you are and what you’re capable of. You will raise your profile in your communities and leads and referrals will start to come your way. It will take time, but it will work.
Looking for Help?
At Fixyr we believe that “one-size-fits-all” marketing is the enemy, that strategy should always come before tactics, and that the best path to success is through a results-focused marketing plan built just for you.