Scaling Your Business Using A Remote Team – with Meryl Johnston

This episode of Fractal Marketing with Gerard Doyle is “Scaling Your Business Using A Remote Team – with Meryl Johnston”. Meryl is the Founder of Bean Ninjas, a bookkeeping and financial reporting firm, and today leads an in-depth discussion on how to achieve success using a remote team that works with members from anywhere in the world.

Meryl shares the birth of Bean Ninjas, her insights on making her first hire, and the sheer hustle it took to grow the company into a 20-person strong organization. She talks about how specializing in Xero was a huge step for the business and looks back on the masterminds that helped form the company into what it is now. Meryl is a Chartered Accountant who specialises in cloud accounting software “Xero”. The business is now 4 years old and has a distributed team of 15 based in 6 countries around the world. Bean Ninjas were recently awarded the prestigious Xero Bookkeeping Partner of the Year for Australia in 2019. Prior to Bean Ninjas Meryl worked at international accounting firm BDO, ran a consulting business and taught accounting at a local University.

HIGHLIGHTS

01:31 Bean Ninjas and their early adoption of remote teams

08:07 Making the first hire and its birthing pains

12:52 Marketing: finding and maintaining new clients

16:47 Bean Ninja’s creative courses

21:26 Gaining recognition and building the community

30:03 Discussion on masterminds

34:56 Marketing advice you wish you knew back then

QUOTES

07:41 “It’s just we want everyone to be productive and successful and so we have conversations with everyone about, do you need another monitor or are you happy with work from home or do you want us to pay for a coworking space? So it’s a bit more individualized at the moment.”

09:45 “And in hindsight, I probably would hire a VA much further down the track and hire the more senior people possible to help create the processes and take ownership of departments and hiring other people rather than getting the most junior person as, well, the cheapest person that you can as the first hire.”

13:16 “And so we followed that methodology and launched in a week and got our first customer in a week. And really, we got that customer from posting in a Facebook group about our story that we were launching this new business. We had created a web site in a day and we were just having a crack. And so people kind of liked the story behind that and that’s how we got our first customer. And then it was hustle.”

21:26 “We were really proud. In 2019, Xero selected us as their Australian bookkeeping firm of the year. So out of all the bookkeeping firms in Australia, we were number one. It would’ve been very difficult to do that if we were splitting our focus across multiple pieces of software.”

30:37 “The very first mastermind I was in was for accounting firm owners who wanted to think differently and that’s where I found my first co-founder was in that mastermind. We founded Bean Ninjas together. So that was a huge benefit that we found each other… And then built enough trust through those regular calls that we felt that we would be good business owners.”

35:02 “It would be to focus more on sales. So in our early days, it was direct sales that brought in customers and I probably spent a bit too much time on brand building and content which is a long term strategy. And so I’m glad I did because all of that work that I put into content really helped but it didn’t pay off until 2 or 3 years down the track. And really, we needed to be making sales.”

RESOURCES

BeanNinjas Website

The 7 Day Startup: You Don’t Learn Until You Launch” Book by Dan Norris

Connect with Meryl on Linkedin 

Financial Planning Marketing

Financial planning is indispensable if you wish to determine your short term and long term financial goals. It doesn’t matter how committed you are to your business, finances are your top priority; if the money is not there you simply won’t succeed. Similarly, business development is the ultimate priority for any financial advisor and a flourishing business translates into a bigger bottom line. There are always however more referrals to ask for, more accounts to get and more new clients to prospect. Planners looking to increase their marketing efforts must consider implementing the best strategies that will nurture and grow their practice.

If you are a financial planner, you’d want to market yourself in the most cost-effective way possible. Whether you are an established practice or a new firm looking for a comprehensive way to get your name out there, you need stellar marketing solutions. Here’s why-

Interact with your niche market

To help develop a polished, unique and consistent way for potential clients to interact with your firm. You also have the benefit of a highly experienced, fully-staffed marketing department who will guide you and assist you in every way possible and partner with you to implement a marketing strategy aligned with your resources, ability, time, sourced from your strength and aimed directly at your prosperous future.

Save time and money

You may not have the budget for full-time marketing staff- a good one-stop-shop will help you with everything from establishing a strategy for building and promoting your professional website. You can now focus on and proact what you do best while keeping new client development and business growth a priority.

Stand out from the pack

It’s a highly competitive marketplace. If you leverage the right expertise and tools, you can easily gain access to strategic, intelligible marketing plans that include compelling content to differentiate you from your competition and demonstrate the experience you bring to your clients.

How will a comprehensive marketing solution help me?

Branding

If you implement a branding strategy you can easily stand out from the stiff competition and ensure your message is not ripe with jargon. A firm message is the core differentiator for your brand. An effective marketing strategy will focus on offering an initial freebie or help you stay ahead of the curve by explaining prospects what your CFP or CFA designation means to them and how it will help them achieve results. You can additionally develop your brand by highlighting the benefits.

It will help you share your knowledge

You can hold a seminar keeping in mind your target market and share relevant information that will show participants that you have the right answers to all their financial planning challenges. You need to put your knowledge out there in order to establish credibility. A good marketing solution provider understands the significance of a website that is secure, compliant and tailored to your target audience.

Referrals

When it comes to the trust needed to handle financial affairs, nothing beats new business from clients who are referred to you by other satisfied clients. An effective marketing strategy will help you get your products and services across people and network with accountants, lawyers and other non-competing professionals who happen to appeal to the same target market.

Ultimately your services add tremendous value by eliminating uncertainty, stress or obstacles to your clients’ ambitions. They can sleep better at night knowing that their taxes and finances are in good hands. Expand your services by being top of mind for your client. Clients’ financial planning needs are rapidly changing. With rampant mistrust in the financial services industry, clients are now hunting for the objective, effective and trusted insights from their CPAs. As their highly trusted accountant, it’s time for you to step up to the opportunity.

 

 

Marketing Tips for Accountants

The only difference between high growth and average growth accounting firms lies in their marketing solutions. The former invest more strategically in groundbreaking marketing solutions and, as a result, are able to achieve extraordinary growth rate. They leverage M&A, strike the right balance between traditional and digital channels, focus on differentiation as their top marketing priority and build visibility around their subject matter experts. In short, your marketing decisions are likely to dramatically affect the profitability and overall growth of your firm.

Your business can easily emulate high performing CPA firms. Don’t you want to know what high growth firms do differently? We have a few tips to help simplify marketing for accounting firms.

Identify your target clients

Not all clients are created equal. You can categorize your existing customers and contemplate on all the factors that determine what your best customers look like. It is imperative to recognize who they are before you set out to chase after them. Monetary factors may not always place a prospect on the list. Sometimes trade-offs may be involved. It’s okay to want to do business with less profitable customers because you are not just building partnerships, but relationships. On the contrary, you also may be capable of charging a premium.

Take the demographics of your target audience into consideration while marketing and make your marketing efforts visible.

Network with Qualified and Trusted Professionals

Your competitors may have an edge when it comes to services you do not offer like recruiting needs, technology, legal representations or investment advice. Every firm has its own primary area of expertise but you must assist them with referrals’. Redefining business alliances may be a good thing – you may receive mutual referrals from them. You are at liberty to partner with general bookkeeping practices or less specialized payroll.

Invest in the right cloud-based applications

Effective and intelligible use of cloud-based applications while marketing for your accounting firm may help you reach a broader target audience effortlessly and stay ahead of the curve. They will additionally manage your campaigns, analyze your progress, automate key tasks and simplify procedures to enhance the manner in which your firm operates. These applications will make your customers lives way better, sure. But marketing your use may also be seen as a competitive advantage.

Never stop using creative content

Good content takes you far, there is no way around it. Explore innovative marketing ideas that start an accounting blog, create educational videos, appealing infographics, webinars etc. When it comes to content, the possibilities are endless, so pick whichever conveys your message the best. Tailor your website or blog so that they are local search friendly and make your write-ups local specific by addressing glaring issues related to accounting and finance in your community. Dedicating a part of your marketing efforts to offer to your community can positively impact your brand. You may also want to analyze how visitors get to your site, tweak it accordingly for optimal performance and repeat until you are satisfied with the outcome.

Sometimes it can be very difficult for accounting firms to rise above the noise of others vying for client attention, making it more relevant and important than ever for firms to effectively focus on intelligible marketing strategies that will create more personalized experiences for their audience. Marketing for accountants ultimately boils down to one very simple rule- be consistent. The impact of these tips and other strategies may not always be measured easily or recognized immediately but they are bound to make a significant difference over time.

Marketing for Accountants

Thanks to rampant globalization, a growing economy and a complete tax environment, accounting services are in high demand. Regardless of the size and type of business, marketing has emerged to be the “go-to” way to win prospects and nurture every small and large company. Marketing for accountants is as crucial for your firm if not more as it is for most experts out there. What can you do to retain clients and win new ones? Make sure your firm is at the top of its game while taking new industry trends and ideas for business development into account.

Carving out a niche, developing a good referral program, establishing an online presence through effective social media marketing and creating a diligent marketing strategy are useful tactics that may help you win clients for your accounting business. Your accounting firm can easily be a robust, high growth business. State of the art marketing solutions for accountants understands the significance of developing your position as an industry expert, establishing a strong online presence while ensuring that you consistently assess your efforts against your investment.

What is accounting marketing?

We are witnessing the evolution of accounting marketing from a relationship-driven, geographically limited discipline to a skill and expertise based multifaceted strategy that leverages the latest technology and techniques to target specific customers. This approach is very impactful when it comes to a firm’s visibility, reputation, service offerings, new client acquisition, client retention, recruiting and pricing.

Marketing is however not the same as sales. The latter is the process offering a specific set of tailored services to address a specific prospect’s needs and convincing them to make the purchase while marketing is the process of generating awareness for the services offered by the firm and encouraging qualified prospects to reach out in case they wish to be furnished with more relevant information.

Devising your Marketing Strategy

First, you need to know who you are talking to, following which you can feed that precious insight into your carefully drawn marketing strategy. Take your time and invest judiciously when it comes to defining marketing goals and the methods you’ll use to accomplish them. Whether you are just getting started or you have spent a formidable budget on marketing each year, ensure you have a properly researched and well-documented marketing strategy before you to keep you grounded and motivated.

A formal marketing plan for your accounting business is the best way to organize your efforts and ensure they are channelized into something productive. A plan should briefly touch upon- business targets, vision, and mission, overarching goals, your unique selling points (USPs), a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis.

How will a marketing channel help your firm?

It’s time for you to incorporate some inbound marketing tactics. It’s important to understand what kind of information your clients are seeking and how you can best deliver it, in a cost-effective, time-saving manner. There are a number of marketing tactics at your disposal- referral programs, social media, email marketing, content marketing and thought leadership. Determining the right tactic depends on your company’s audience, budget, resources, etc.

Finally, do not undermine the significance of compelling content, website design and development, online marketing graphic design, and video production. Come up with innovative and convenient ways to introduce your firm and everything it stands for.  Combine interviews, client testimonials and introduce key members of your team. Your customers need to believe in you and your service before they make a purchase. Make that happen with a stellar marketing strategy.

Marketing for accountants needs to be simplified and strategized. Building an accounting company is not an easy task. There are plenty of wrong ways to market a CPA firm. Making your first steps in marketing can be challenging and overwhelming but this is the only way to ensure recurring client relationships. Throughout all marketing activities, however, use analytics to guide you towards better decisions and the best results.