[IMGCAP(1)]If you have stabilized your firm and have adjusted to operating in the new economy, your next move should be focused on growth. Why? The last few years, most firms have been circling their marketing and sales wagons and waiting. Circling and waiting. Circling and waiting. The time is right for those wagons to move on out!

Business owners have stabilized their organizations and are willing and interested in making changes that help to advance their success. Perhaps their CPA firm wasn’t very helpful during the recession, couldn’t advise them on how to be more efficient, or had staff that were too worried about their own jobs, which negatively affected client service. Whatever the reasons, business owners are willing to listen again and are more likely to make a change now that the storm has blown over.

However, as I am out talking to partners of firms, I am fearful that the circling of the marketing and sales wagons may continue. Partner profitability has suffered, succession and retirement plans have been altered, and top performers have left. But, gone are the days that successful firms can attack only one key problem at a time. All problems must be addressed, and addressed now, including plans for growth.

Start by assessing the potential you have within your own partner and manager group to add clients to the roster. You probably have a rainmaker or two, but beyond that, the sales and marketing ability drops off significantly. Often, this next group of people needs training, accountability, coaching and regular support to succeed. Find a coach that can unleash the existing potential of your current people and pull the trigger. (If you need a recommendation, please contact me.)

Next, take a look at the opportunity you have with current clients. Are your relationships bullet-proof? Are you getting referrals from clients like you should be, and clients they fully cross-sold with your entire suite of services? If not, put a plan in place to develop and cross-sell your top 25 or 50 clients.

How are your referral source relationships? Red hot or ice cold? Assess the potential you have in your personal and institutional relationships, and light a fire under this most coveted bucket of opportunity.

BUT, before you add any more to this gravy train of growth, marketing, sales plans and ideas, why not focus on executing these few items really well. Because if you add more to the plate and things fall apart when it comes to execution, nobody wins. It’s time to move those wagons out – good luck!

Art Kuesel, Director of Marketing Consulting Services for Koltin Consulting Group, helps CPA firms across the country hone and maximize their growth plans, build effective marketing and sales efforts, coach partners and managers to greater success and add revenue to the top line. Koltin Consulting serves CPA, law and financial advisory firms with strategic growth, M&A services, executive recruiting and management consulting services. Art can be reached at 312-245-1745 or akuesel@koltin.com.