In my work as a consultant helping other CPAs learn to market their practices, one objection I hear often is “But Salim, I just barely have enough time to do the work to deliver my services to my clients.  I simply can’t spare a lot of time to think about marketing.”

My first answer is that if you want to grow your practice, you don’t have any choice:  you simply must make time for marketing.

My second answer is that I know you’re busy.  But, as we all know, having time for high-priority tasks is a matter of managing your time.  Here are some time management techniques that have worked well for me in my practice:

1) Don’t be a slave to the phone.  I don’t answer the phone.  I have administrative staff who do that.  They screen my calls and either take a message or transfer them to voice mail.  I block time on my calendar to return phone calls from 12:30-1:00 pm and 4:30-5:00 pm every day.  My clients know that I will respond to their calls during these times.  I also encourage them to send me an email for faster response.  The benefit of emails is that I can forward them to the appropriate person who can handle that email.  Most questions from my clients, my staff can handle.  That frees me up a lot. I believe that if you apply this one strategy in your practice, you will easily free up several hours in the week just with proper handling of the phone.

2) Make and use to-do-lists.  It is very important to maintain those. A daily to do list, a weekly to do list, a monthly to do list and a yearly to do list. That is crucial for maximum time productivity. I have been using these for several years and all my staff members use them too.

3) Manage your time in blocks.  In other words, cluster your client appointments. Many CPAs make the mistake of scheduling their appointments whenever the client is available, as opposed to thinking about when it would be BEST to schedule their appointments for efficiency and time off.

What I do for myself is to identify the things that are important that I accomplish and those are blocked on my calendar.

Let me give you a few examples:

  • If I have my quarterly meetings with my business clients, those are first blocked off, back to back.
  • Any client projects that I am working on get blocked off.
  • Staff meetings get blocked off.
  • Time assigned to marketing and meeting with prospects gets blocked off.

Try that and you’ll probably find, like me, that there is little time or space left free.  That leads to the conclusion that we have to conserve time that is normally wasted, which is why I believe firmly in this next practice.

Each of my projects and activities has an amount of time assigned to it. So, for example, for my staff meetings I will assign 20 minutes and I want to be done by then…that means we have to be efficient and to the point.

Allocating time towards marketing the services your CPA firm provides is one of your most important responsibilities. If you follow the regimen I have prescribed in this article, you will find yourself with several hours you previously didn’t think you had.

Salim Omar, CPA is a best selling author, thought leader and mentor for CPA firms. He is considered by many as THE “CPA Practice Coach” because he owns and runs a successful CPA practice so he understands what it takes to create and sustain a thriving firm. To learn how you you can transform your practice, go to www.CPAmarketingGenius.com.