I offer a free template for a 2022 Practice Growth and Management Calendar that includes suggestions for each month on what to do and a space to write down what you plan to do this month. Five areas are covered:
- Individual growth;
- Customer service solutions;
- Staff development;
- Business development; and,
- Firm procedures.
There is also a section to add whatever you want. The template is in a Word file so that it can be edited according to your needs. Just email me at [email protected] and put “Calendar” as the subject and I will send you the template.
The following is my suggested 12 month schedule:
Increase all your fees by 5% at all levels, or whatever percentage is convenient for you, but increase your fees. However, do not include customers who are struggling to survive.
I know you are busy, but there are many ways to have customer contact without seeing or talking to customers. One way is to mail or email a letter to your customers welcoming them through 2022. Be brief and give them an update on your business.
Remind customers that they can call you anytime with any tax, financial, or business questions or concerns.
All year, send customers a birthday card or email on their birthday.
Plan a retreat for July or August.
Tell your staff that errors on returns will no longer be tolerated (and think so). Staff should check and recheck their work before handing it in for review.
Book your after-tax vacation now if you haven’t already, and hopefully you can take it. You can also block time for vacations other than travel and take time off.
Send clients a postcard or email with a short note stating that you are open to all clients’ business and financial needs, in addition to their taxes, and they are welcome to call you with any questions or other matters. which they wish to discuss.
Ask for references. The important thing with this contact is to indicate your availability.
Close on weekends after March 15th. This way your staff can catch their breath, catch up on family chores, and have a “full” weekend to relax. Whether your staff is working virtually or in your office, they could use the free time.
You can skip marketing activities in March: Customers might think that if you had time to send them a marketing pitch, you’re not too busy, so why would they get their feedback at the last minute?
File your own return on time without extension!
Close the day after tax season ends; this year it will offer staff a three-day weekend.
Plan a lunch, two hours maximum, on April 22 for a look back at tax season while everything is fresh in everyone’s mind. A virtual lunch is okay, and if so, give your staff a voucher to buy themselves and their families a nice lunch.
At the end of April, send clients a letter (similar to the one you sent in January) with an update on how you’ve been doing during tax season and thanking them for being your clients. and friends and their references
Send your clients an email with one of my “tax season checklists” that you can adapt from my Word file that I distribute at the end of each January. Two that come to mind are “Getting Rid of the Clutter of Tax Preparation” and “Ways to Reduce Tax Preparation Fees”.
Take your well-deserved vacation.
Send a postcard to your customers and your prospect list if you take a vacation to an exotic location. You can have them printed before leaving with a nice message, and also have them pre-addressed. When you arrive, buy local stamps and mail them.
Offsite partner meetings should start to be scheduled monthly, or if you are a solo, then with yourself and key personnel as appropriate.
Start reviewing your clients’ tax returns and any notes you’ve made about additional services they might need. Try my 1 / 20th rule, which involves providing additional services to 5% of your retail tax clients each year.
Continue with the monthly meetings of your partners.
Try to take off every Friday from now until at least Labor Day. If you’re that busy, work harder and longer the other four days, but take Friday off.
Send a July 4th card or email to your customers. If you want to be a little cheesy, take a photo of you and your staff, each holding a flag or wearing a flag t-shirt.
Visit, meet, or schedule a Zoom-style meeting with every business client you haven’t been with since April. Meet them and show your availability. If you’ve reduced the number of in-person meetings, make up for it with twice as many virtual meetings or phone calls, but shorter.
Take advantage of the summer to connect by writing a letter describing your vacation (or a partner’s) in an exotic location if you haven’t sent a postcard (see May). You can also write a letter describing one of your hobbies or a charity project that you or any of your partners or staff have been involved in. Personalize it and share your experiences. Connect. To share. Show availability.
Hope you have planned a summer retreat.
Continue your customer appointments and 1 / 20th calls.
Start with extended returns so that September and the first half of October aren’t that strenuous.
Try to schedule CPEs.
It’s a busy month of work, but don’t interrupt your monthly partner or owner meetings.
You should ask for referrals from every customer you interact with.
Towards the end of the month, restart your CPE.
Call tax clients to find out about changes to them during the year that could have tax consequences. Anything that has happened that can be worked on before the end of the year will take that job from the busiest part of tax season to a less hectic November or December. Make that call! You can also send a letter asking clients if they need year-end tax planning, saying you should be notified of anything that happened during the year that should be reported in. their 2022 statement and that should be worked on now. Better yet, make the call or do both.
Don’t skip your partners’ meeting. I won’t call you back.
Make the calls you didn’t make in the last month.
Now is the right time for a second vacation. Why not?
Start your planning for tax season now.
Send a Thanksgiving card with a message that says you’ve made a contribution on behalf of your customers to the local pantry or similar organization.
Be a realistic businessman. Has your business done its best this year? Are your staff growing as best they can? Do you follow your customers? Are your customers following your growth and your increased, improved and expanded capabilities? If the latter hasn’t happened, figure out why and make it happen next year.
Review your customers and determine if any work has been done that has not been billed. Was it out of reach or was it done inefficiently or should it not have been done at all?
Invoice for any additional work you have done.
Plan time budgets for next year.
Review your job scheduling procedures and remove non-essential services.
Send a desk or wall calendar to your clients and contacts. It should be something beautiful and tasteful. If it ends up on a wall, you’ve just acquired a 12-month “poster board” for very little cost.
Send an email or postal letter asking clients for referrals. A colleague of mine mails a $ 100 gift certificate to be applied against a client’s tax filing fee for each new client he recommends. He received more than 150 new customers thanks to this tactic.
Mail or email a list of recordings that can be deleted and those that need to be kept.
Happy holidays and new year! Restart this calendar for next year.
If you’ve done business with me before, you know that I always deliver something extra.
There are many ways to stay in touch with customers on a regular and discreet basis that demonstrate your availability beyond what has been suggested in this timeline. Find your own methods and follow them.
During the year, you can send out newspaper clippings or reprints of articles, or send a book or subscribe to a magazine.
Make frequent “just to check in” calls to see how your clients are doing and if there are any major changes in their lives that they might need financial or tax assistance.
Note that I did not refer to any form of social media. This should already be fully incorporated into any regular diet.
Use the above as a starting point to develop your monthly customer contact calendar for the next year.
Do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected] with your questions about the management of your practice or about assignments that you may not be able to perform.