Recently, one of my students – Cathy - left me this question in my Facebook group:
“I need to do more marketing but I don’t have the time. I’d love to outsource it but I don’t know how to hire someone because I don’t know all of what I need – it’s a catch-22! Plus, I don’t want a regular digital marketing agency, I would prefer my own offshore marketing employee. Any suggestions on how to get good people in that area, especially as I don’t know how to judge their work performance.”
My first response to this is to avoid the big mistake we tend to fall into when we hire people…
Michael Gerber talks about this in his book ‘The E-Myth Revisited’ – he calls it abdicating responsibility.
This is when there is a function in your business that you don’t want to get involved with because you are to busy or don’t enjoy the work. Hiring someone seems like a way to solve all those problems.
Often what ends up happening is you hire someone expensive and they don’t get the results you want because they don’t understand your business.
Every business is different – the way you win clients will be different to other businesses.
Before you hire someone to do your marketing, you need to first figure out how you win clients in your firm, what methods work for you. You need to learn marketing – there is no short cut. It’s one of the most important functions in any business.
In his book, Gerber explains that every business has 3 functions:
A lot of accounting professionals focus on the operational side and put all their efforts into being the best accountants and bookkeepers and delivering the best service thinking this will help to grow a successful business.
The reality is, anyone with the right training can do a tax return, bookkeeping and payroll. That does not differentiate your firm.
What makes you stand out is your marketing. Your messages and your promises are the most important part of your business – you cannot neglect it.
There is no short-cut, you need to learn marketing.
Once you have figured out what works, systemise it.
What systems do you use for referrals, networking events, social media, content marketing, automatic emails?
You need to have system for these processes
When you have figured out what works for your business and you have created systems for those processes, you can then hire someone and teach them those systems.
When it comes to the hiring process, I have always found it better to focus on attitude over skills.
Whilst skills are important, if you hire someone because you want them to do the work by themselves, you won’t get the results you want.
You need to bring someone in and teach them your process. You can teach skills – you can’t teach attitude.
For example, I used to run my business with just me and my partner Sarah. But back in 2019, Sarah’s daughter Emily graduated from University and I gave her some work part-time.
Emily studied English so she was good with writing but had no marketing experience at all. However, her attitude was incredible. So, I took her on full-time, I taught her our systems and I gave her the same training resources I used.
She is now out Content Marketing Manager and helps other accounting firms with their marketing as well!
The attitude is the most important thing to consider when hiring – you can teach the skills later.
Maybe you still feel you don’t have the time to do all that.
There could be a different issue here.
If you don’t have the time to invest in growing your business, you may have too many clients, you may be working too hard.
You need to cull some of your clients and get time back to work on your marketing.
Very often the real issue is your pricing is too low.
It’s pointless to put loads of effort into your marketing and winning new clients if you don’t have the right pricing structure in place first. You will just end up working harder for very little extra money.
You need to raise your prices first.
Think of it this way…
If you raise your prices by 20%, and as a result you lose 20% of your clients – you will be earning the same amount of money, but you will have freed up one day per week that you can spend focusing on learning marketing and creating systems.
If you would like to learn more about value pricing, business growth and marketing strategies, I run a free live online training session once a month with a topic chosen by you. You can attend and ask me questions. Click here to register and I will send you an invitation to the next session.
And if you would like to join a community of like-minded accounting professionals learning to value price more confidently and effectively, you can join my Facebook Support Group here.
Wishing you every success on your pricing journey.
Chartered Accountant, Public Speaker and Author of Amazon No.1 Best Seller of “Effective Pricing for Accountants”
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