A strategic alliance – which needs to be nothing more than an agreement to share referrals back and forth – is an important aspect of owning a business, and I think this is especially important for those in the accounting industry. They can help you grow your client base, help you to develop new service offerings, and expose you to new products to help not just your clients, but your own firm as well.
For instance, I have select few local CPAs to which I refer clients; whom I send the client to depends on their needs. I also have relationships with some QuickBooks add-on developers that know I have extensive experience with their applications that refer work to me, and that I regularly recommend to clients and other accounting professionals.
However, a few thoughts about forming these relationships before jumping into them:
- Make sure the “partner” has been vetted. You don’t want to recommend a product or service provider with which you’re not familiar enough to speak about in detail, or that you cannot 100% get behind. A good rule of thumb is to ask: Would I hire this person for my own business? Would I pay for this product to use in my practice?
- The relationship doesn’t always have to be within your industry. Believe it or not, one of my biggest referrers is a plumbing company that I worked for prior to starting my practice. We are both aware of each other’s level of quality and regularly refer clients back and forth.
- Don’t overlook other practitioners that do what you do. While you many think: “That ProAdvisor 6 miles away is competition”, that might not be necessary. I have a handful of what look like on the outside to be competition, but they have different specialties than we do at Kildal Services LLC.
When deciding on creating a new alliance, you want to make sure the prospect in line with your company’s core values, that they offer similar, but not identical products and/or services – the key word here is complementary. As with any new venture, determine what your goals are, plan it out and dig right in once you find that perfect match!