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Starting a Small Business/start accounting firm

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Question
i want to start an accounting firm with taxation, book keeping and financial planning services.
but i am not good at marketing, creating clientele.
i want advice from you regarding generating my business.

Answer
Sunny,

Your question may be better for a marketing expert rather than an attorney, but I will give you my perspective as one who has started his own law firm.

In a small professional services firm, you have to be good at marketing. Even if you had clients today, some will move or go out of business, so you need to constantly get replacements.  If you are starting with NO clients, that makes the role of marketing even more important.

Before you even launch your new firm, you need to carefully evaluate your own skills. I assume you have the accounting, tax and financial planning knowledge and skills to perform the work, but if you don't have the ability to market your firm, no one will be coming through the door to see how good you really are.

When you say "I am not good at marketing," that could mean several things.  If it simply means that you have little or no experience at marketing but you have the personality and basic skills to successfully attract clients, then you may need help creating a marketing plan and possibly training in techniques to generate leads, develop prospects and close the sales.

If you mean you are not comfortable personally marketing your own services and think that you cannot develop the one-on-one personal skills to cultivate and land new clients, you should seriously consider whether launching your own firm is a reasonable business decision.

As for specific advice for generating new business, most service businesses are still marketed primarily through networking.  That is a long process, however.  It means meeting people who either need your service or can refer someone to you who needs your service, and building their trust and confidence in your ability to deliver the services you are selling.  That takes time and a lot of effort but in the end it usually pays off the best.

To network, you need to figure out who to network with (small businesses, wealthy individuals, etc...) and then figure out how you can meet them.  What organizations are they in, what activities do they engage in, etc... Then you need to join those organizations or engage in those activities in a visible manner.  To often people think they can join an organization and attend a few events and that business will start rolling in.  The best way to develop contacts in an organization or activity is to take an active role as a member of a committee or leadership group where you meet the movers and shakers in a more personal setting.

Other methods that may work, depending on your own situation, are traditional and non-traditional sales and marketing techniques.  Direct mail to a narrowly targeted group may work.  Getting listed in printed directories or internet directories like AccountantList.info may bring in people who are specifically looking for your services in a particular geographic area.

Starting your own accounting firm can be very rewarding but as a small firm, getting the clients is at least half the battle.

Good luck.

Starting a Small Business

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David K. Staub

Expertise

I am a business and tax attorney and have spent more than 35 years assisting people in starting a wide variety of businesses. I can answer questions about the basic differences between the various entities available to new businesses, including limited liability companies, corporations, S corporations and partnerships. I can provide guidance in other areas facing start ups, such as hiring employees, signing contracts and obtaining necessary licenses. I can also direct people to sources for answers to specific legal questions which cannot be answered in a forum of this nature.

Experience

I have an extensive practice in the mergers and acquisitions area and have been involved in the tax and legal issues on hundreds of business transactions.

Website
Staub Anderson LLC
Illinois business attorneys

Practice Areas
Business Organizations
-Corporations

-LLCs
-Partnerships

-Joint ventures
Mergers & Acquisitions
-Buying/selling business
Securities Law
Tax Law
Technology Law
-Software licenses
-Development agreements

Trademarks

Organizations
Illinois State Bar Association; Chicago Bar Association (former Chairman of the Corporation & Business Law Committee and former Chairman of the Mergers and Acquisitions Subcommittee; former Executive Committee member, Federal Tax Committee and Chairman of subcommittee on general tax issues); Keystone Foundation (Trustee); Association for Corporate Growth; Midwest Entrepreneur Forum; Midwest Association of Alpha Delta Phi

Publications
Commerce Magazine; YLS Journal; ISBA Section of Taxation Newsletter

Education/Credentials
Harvard Law School, J.D., 1977; University of Illinois, B.S. in Accounting, with highest honors, 1974

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