Capstone Marketing Blog, Vision

Your First Step to Firm Growth

We can agree that we’ve been operating in a tough economy the past few years. This has caused many CPA firms to refocus their marketing efforts, recognizing the need to retain current clients and obtain new business.  Yet, there continues to be many CPAs that do not have a vision for their firms.

According to a Franklin Covey and Harris Interactive Survey (March 2004) of 11,045 adult U.S. workers, only 48 percent of workers say their organization has a clear strategic direction and only 37 percent say they understand the reason for that strategic direction.  Only 44 percent of those polled say their organization has clearly communicated its most important goals.  In a separate study conducted by Franklin Covey, only 15% of workers could actually identify their organization’s top three goals.

Your first step to firm growth is to determine your firm’s vision, where you want to be in the future.

Your firm’s vision is an internal document that tells everyone in the firm what you would like to become.  The vision for your firm is critical to the goal setting process.  Where do you see your firm in three years? In five years?  In ten years?  It is also critical for getting your staff engaged in your firm.  What does this vision mean to them?  How will they participate in the future of the firm?  Don’t create the vision in a vacuum.  Make sure that you get your staff and other key personnel involved in the creation process.  Finally, you need to address what must happen in order for your firm to make your vision a reality.

Implementing a weak vision is better than not implementing a great vision.  A vision without implementation is simply a vision – that is why you need to create a vision team.  Don’t go off to the mountain by yourself and bring back the vision.  Your staff won’t be committed to it.

Here are questions to ask your vision team: Imagine that it’s exactly X years from today:

1.       Describe your firm (include # people, net revenue, # offices, be specific).
2.       Describe your products and services.
3.       What distinguishes your firm from the competition?
4.       What is the most significant internal marketing change that has occurred?
5.       How are partners and staff behaving differently regarding the firm’s marketing program?

Ask each person to write down his or her own responses to the questions.  Ask people not to speak to each other during this writing phase.  Then, ask everyone to get a partner.  Each person will take a few minutes to share their vision.  Ask everyone to find a new partner and repeat the process.  Encourage people to “steal” any good ideas they got from their last partner and incorporate these into their own vision.  You can keep switching partners until everyone has spoken to everyone else. Finally, ask people to return to their original seats and begin facilitating a discussion to pull the ideas together.

Setting Revenue Goals
The following chart will assist you in figuring your revenue goal.  Project each year to reach the revenue goal established in your vision.

Current recurring fees:
Less lost revenue/non-recurring work

New client revenue:
Revenue from current clients: 
Overall Goal:

Average fee per client:
# New clients needed to achieve revenue goal
# Opportunities needed to obtain (close) the number of new clients indicated above