Given the economic times, more Independent Professionals may consider promoting themselves as “solopreneurs.” For the record, successful solopreneurs have a plan designed to get their expertise in front of a target market. They need direction. Because, as the Cheshire Cat opined, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” A marketing checklist can help.
We worked with a CPA who came to us a year after she elected to go solo. She had leased an office and set about “marketing” her services. Subsidized by one client (a two hour round trip away), she spent $4,000.00 on a business card size ad in the local bi-weekly newspaper. She paid a developer $2,500.00 for a web site. Its menus of services were similar to those of every CPA firm within 20 miles. Neither tactic had attracted any new clients. She had no plan.
Having a basic marketing plan provides a platform, which can be improved upon as a business grows. The plan should:
- Identify a target market including your ideal customer.
- Describe a Unique Selling Proposition.
- Define a core strategy.
A common tactical error among new solopreneurs is to imitate the established pros (the competition). Since all CPAs offer similar services, I’ll just tweak my web page and add more credentials. Tweaking is not a strategy. Get a focus.
We helped the CPA regroup and focus on providing a select menu of services to other solopreneurs. If they have been in business less than five years, they need these accounting procedures. Five to ten years in business? Add these procedures. It’s a core strategy; she helps clients by streamlining the accounting process. The focus helps prospects get to know, like and trust her. This singular focus has become the keystone to her marketing plan, giving her reason to smile like that famous cat!