[IMGCAP(1)] You’ve suggested that your clients meet with you to discuss last minute tax planning strategies and to plan ahead for the coming year, but have you taken your own advice and thought about what next year will look like for you in terms of business development and marketing?


Just like you tell your clients, the little time you invest now can make a significant difference in the future.  And, there needs to be two components of your time investment. First, you have to build a plan and second you need to execute on the plan. The plan sets the direction - but the execution gets you there. 


I’ve seen some of our industries’ most strategic and brilliant business development and marketing plans sit dormant on a shelf.  I’ve seen random acts of execution struggling to gain momentum. But when these two come together magic truly happens – in the form of results!


You don’t need a plan the size of a binder to be successful, though. A simple well-thought out plan complete with a revenue goal, strategies to achieve the goal, and action items to execute on are really all you need to be successful. But even a simple plan is useless without consistent execution!


Start with your revenue goal.  Is it $50,000 of new tax compliance business? Ten percent growth of your valuation practice? Three new biotech clients worth $25,000 each? It’s always a good idea to focus your growth efforts in areas that you already have some traction, it makes them significantly easier to achieve compared to starting a new niche service offering or practice area.


Then, put a few blanket strategies in place that will guide your efforts. Assuming that we’ve chosen to pursue the goal of three new biotech clients worth $25,000 each, one strategy would be to build a stronger referral network, capable of referring you larger biotech clients. Another strategy would be to become more involved in one or two biotech associations in the area.  And a third strategy would be to go direct to your prospect list with a lead generation campaign.


Finally, your actions. Essentially you need to build out a “to-do” list under each one of your strategies.  Your “build a stronger referral network” action items might include asking all current referral sources if they could introduce you to anyone in their networks who serves the biotech industry. It might also include cross-referencing a list of all financiers and law firms who have expertise in the biotech industry.  In addition, you can include your current biotech clients in your efforts to expand your referral network by asking them for introductions to potential clients, or referral sources who serve the biotech industry.


Now, you’ve got a good goal, solid strategies, and bite-sized action pieces. You are ready to go. Help yourself to execute by setting goals for yourself in terms of how many marketing activities you are going to do per week. Whether it is having lunch with two current or potential referral sources per week, attending one biotech association meeting or function per month, stick with it. Enlist the help of your marketing director or a consultant to execute on a lead generation campaign. Share your goals and plans with someone else and ask them to hold you accountable.


Planning is key, focus is required, and execution is just plain critical to your success.  So, why not influence the forecast for the coming year by becoming more effective at execution – and watch your results add up.


Art Kuesel is a Director of Consulting Services for PDI Global, Inc. and works exclusively with CPA, law, and financial services firms across the country meeting their most significant marketing and business development challenges. He currently works one-on one with more than 30 CPA firm partners in a coaching capacity helping them build, sustain, and enhance their personal marketing efforts. He also enjoys gourmet cooking and travel with his wife, Colleen.