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How to grow your practice when you are the business

Working solo as a health professional, consultant, bookkeeper, broker or lawyer can be tough.

Here are a few ways you can take your business to the next level and grow your practice and team to be more than just you.

Reward referrals

Happy customers are your best form of PR. Why not implement a scheme that rewards clients that refer new business on to you? For example, if you are an accountant who gains a new client based on a referral you could offer the referrer and the new client a form of thanks. This could be a one-off discount or credit, such as $100 off their next invoice. The incentive may inspire satisfied clients to refer your practice to others.

Promote your point of difference

What makes your business unique? Identify your point of difference and use it to win over new clients. For example, if you are an IT consultant who understands the start up space well, or has solid experience in a specialist industry, leverage it to grow your business in those areas. Make sure you include your point of difference on your website, in all your promotions, even in your email signature.

Reposition your practice

Is it time to freshen up how you present your brand to the market? If you have a few years of experience behind you and you feel like your practice is ready to move up a level, it may be time to reposition yourself. Refresh your branding (i.e. your website and marketing collateral) to reflect some of the achievements and experiences you have gained since opening. This could include new certifications, clients you have worked with, testimonials and awards.

It would also be beneficial to increase your rates. Do some industry research to benchmark where your current rates and experience sit. Use the changes in branding and rates as a reason to meet with current clients to chat about your practice’s current position and offering and their needs. This may help drive new business and make your clients aware of how your practice has evolved.

Form partnerships

If you have worked with peer businesses in the past whose work you respect, consider approaching them to form referral partnerships. For example, if you’re a lawyer who has developed work relationships with HR or business consultants, consider creating informal agreements to refer business on to each other when opportunities arise with related clients.  If you’re a marketing consultant, talk to your freelance designer about whether any of their other clients need marketing help, and consider referring your other clients to that designer.

Aim higher

If you want to grow your practice, perhaps it’s time to pursue bigger clients. If you’re confident you have the skills and expertise to meet their needs, go for it. For example, if you’re a bookkeeper who currently works mostly with sole traders, start pitching your practice to small businesses or medium-size enterprises.

Expand your skills

If there are extra qualifications that could help grow your practice’s service offerings and profits it may be worth investing the time and cost in attaining them. You could offer current clients more and gain new clients as a result. For example, a finance broker could add commercial lending expertise to their personal lending portfolio. A dentist can add in-chair teeth whitening, a marketing consultant can add content marketing or SEO expertise to their range of skills.

Hire some help

If you are spending many many hours trying to learn about Google Adwords campaigns, for example, and an expert could achieve a result in 1-2 hours, it may be time to hire help. Whether it’s expert or administrative support, or the assistance of a junior staff member, look at your needs, your budget and the type of job. Is it one-off or a regular task? Use contractors or agencies for one-off tasks and consider permanent part time staff for ongoing work, unless you can fund a fulltime employee. You can then redirect your time into growing your practice in other ways.

Want to grow your practice? Contact Prospa to learn how we can help with a small business loan to get you there.

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The information in this post is provided for general information only and does not take into account your personal situation. Nothing contained in this post constitutes advice or an endorsement or recommendation of any kind by Prospa. Any links to third party websites are strictly for informational purposes only. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from financial, legal and taxation advisors. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information as at the date of publication, Prospa, its officers, employees and agents disclaim all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded), for any error, inaccuracy, or omission from the information for any reason, including due to the passage of time, or any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.

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