For tax professionals in particular, one pro tip has the potential to alleviate stress and accelerate your business growth: that is to start a joint venture. A joint venture allows you as a tax planner to focus on your strengths by coming together with a business partner who is strong in areas where you may be weaker. This symbiotic relationship can ramp up both of your businesses and reduce the frustrations that can come with trying to “do it all.”
If you are in a stage of your business where you are looking to replace clients you are not happy with or regain lost income after changing your client criteria, creating a joint venture can be an especially strategic move. Often, an ideal partnership is between a tax planner and a financial advisor. Partnering with a financial planner can free you up to focus on building relationships with clients and developing your planning skills. Meanwhile, financial advisors may be stronger at selling and better-resourced to find new prospects—so why not leave selling to the selling experts?
What might the dynamic between a tax planner and financial planner look like? The financial advisor will often kick off the process by finding prospects from among their client base and collecting their tax returns. As the tax planner, you will review the returns and provide your tax diagnosis, estimating the potential tax savings. Then the advisor will contact the client, summarize the tax diagnosis, close the deal, and book the appointment for you to sit down with the client. The financial advisor will often sit in on the meeting and follow up by recommending relevant financial investment products that earn their fees and commissions.
A well-developed joint venture can bring innumerable benefits to your business, but today we will focus on these five:
- Building stronger client relationships
- Expanding your network to find more prospective clients
- Sharing the costs of your business
- Increasing client loyalty
- Narrowing your target market
BUILD STRONGER CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS
First, partnering with a financial planner can reinforce your relationship with your clients. There often comes a time when a tax planner discerns that their client could benefit from additional financial planning services. Now you can connect your clients with someone you trust, increasing the total value you can offer. You also have the option to offer a value-added service throughout tax season in the form of financial planning, budgeting, or insurance review services (or anything else your partner specializes in) without creating any extra work for yourself.
Similarly, the financial advisor is able to provide additional value to their client base by bringing in a tax expert (you!) to offer more comprehensive services.
EXPAND YOUR NETWORK TO FIND MORE PROSPECTS
Second, the joint venture can help you find prospective clients by drawing them in through a related field. The financial planner may already be using marketing strategies like hosting client appreciation events or sending out a newsletter to their mailing list. Both of these are opportunities to highlight your tax planning services to a whole new audience.
The endorsement of a trusted advisor can also go a long way with prospects. Some financial advisors will already have databases containing thousands of people who they can connect with on your behalf. Because the advisor has already earned trust with these clients, they can identify the best potential matches and offer to book appointments with you.
Tax planners sometimes find that their efforts to market their services fall flat because people have difficulty seeing the value in their offerings or they erroneously assume their tax needs are “already taken care of.” In these cases, a financial planner may be able to attract more clients because financial planning is a more familiar service. Once those prospects have walked through your business partner’s door, you can have a more productive conversation about the benefits of proactive tax planning.
SHARE THE COSTS OF YOUR BUSINESS
Thirdly, you and the financial planner can share the costs of running your business. This is especially true for marketing, since your partnership gives you easy access to referrals, thereby reducing marketing costs. Plus, you can share the expenses for any new initiatives. Additionally, your partner may already have events and campaigns in place that they are willing to cover the costs for—and that you can benefit from! You might also find ways to share other overhead costs.
INCREASE CLIENT LOYALTY
Fourthly, having a partnership can lead to greater client loyalty. If a client is working with two advisors who are in communication with each other and who develop comprehensive financial plans together, that client is less likely to withdraw from you. It feels like they would be walking out on a team! The client is more likely to feel well taken care of with this level of service.
NARROW YOUR TARGET MARKET
Lastly, a joint venture allows you to more highly define your target market. As you grow your business, you will undoubtedly find that some clients are high-work and low-yield, but you may find it difficult to prune for fear of reducing your overall income. When you work with a financial advisor who is doing prospecting on your behalf, this gives you the flexibility to decide what your parameters are for new clients. In fact, defining your preferred client will help the financial advisor to vet for the people who will benefit the most from tax planning—say, business owners and investors—and bring them directly to you.
If you are looking to dramatically grow your business and free up time to focus on your strengths as a tax professional, a joint venture could be the right next step for you. Learn how becoming a Certified Tax Coach and Planner can offer you the education, community and support to grow a profitable tax planning business. Join AICTP today!