Identify your ideal clients

Emma Slack explains how to do it.


Feeling overwhelmed yet?

If you haven’t reached that point already, the Chancellor’s recent statement might just have tipped you over the edge. With yet more changes around tax, VAT and the new Job Support Scheme, there’ll be plenty to do over the next few weeks and months.

But, while you understandably want to help all of your clients, make sure you aren’t working for nothing. Focus on doing the right things for the right clients at the right time.

Here’s how:

Who are your ideal clients?

Create a detailed profile of your ideal client so you know one when you see one! Everyone has their own specific criteria but, if you’re starting from scratch, think about size of business, the industry sector, your minimum fee, payment terms, whether they’re set up for cloud accounting etc. Once you know what your ideal client looks like, you can make an informed decision about who to take on. There’s a helpful AVN resource on this – see the end of this article for more details.

Grade your clients

Assess each one of your clients in relation to your ideal client profile. Grade them as A (meets all your criteria), B (not quite there but has potential to be an A), C (less than half of your criteria and unlikely to improve) and D (meets very few of your criteria and no potential to move forward). It will really help you to prioritise your clients. Again, there’s an AVN resources that simplifies the grading process – more details at the end.

The 80/20 principle

The 80/20 principle, in case you don’t know, states that 80% of results come from 20% of input. In this case, we’re talking about 80% of your profits coming from 20% of your clients. Once you’ve graded your clients it’s easy to see where your profits are generated – and chances are it’s from the As and Bs.

Prioritise your As and Bs

Now you know who your ideal clients are – your As and Bs – you can give them your full attention. If you get a request from a C or D client, don’t jump to do the work. You don’t have to fob them off with excuses, just be straight – ‘We won’t be able to start this for you for another 6 weeks.’ If they go elsewhere, fine; that leaves you with more time for your As and Bs.

AVN members can use the Ideal Client Profile and Grade Your Client resources in System Builder – or ask your Practice Growth Expert for help.

For those of you who aren’t AVN members, we’ve added these resources to the AVN Know How Hub. Join for as little as £1 (which goes to charity) to access this knowledge base for accountants, helping you and your clients to survive and thrive in these uncertain times.



Photo by Marten Newhall on Unsplash