*Classic Hagerty*: Revealing yourself

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“When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.”
-Helen Keller

I’m currently driving westward with my family to our new home in the Kansas City area. After 15 years in Charlottesville, VA, we’re embarking on a new adventure! I’ve got 5 staff members in the KC area (including my right-hand, Troy Lakey), as well as a church community we’ve admired from afar for years.
I’ve been blessed with a business which “runs on auto-pilot” without my daily involvement (well, I’ve spent years building it to that point–but that’s a subject for another day), and one of our business advantages is an email marketing system which runs daily, sending information and personal notes to clients in my “absence”.
[If I may, I highly recommend you get started with something similar for your firm.]
Well, today, I’m highlighting one of my most popular messages, because it’s even more pertinent now than the day in which it was written…
+++ Client Story of the Week +++
“I am very pleased with the results that I have been seeing from
using the weekly email newsletter.  I have had very positive feedback
from my clients.  The ones that have commented have all enjoyed
receiving the newsletter.  I know that it is helping to retain some
clients that might not have returned this year for their work. And,
there have been quite a few clients that have actually brought in
additional work as a result.”
Sam Wells, CPA
San Antonio, TX
Get started with the service Sam uses…

A Face To The Name

Ok, I’ll admit it: I’m a bit of a political junkie.
I grew up in Washington, DC where my dad worked in the Ford White House, and was a lobbyist for decades–a very entrepreneurial one at that, instrumental in the ’86 capital gains tax cut fight, etc.
Now, as a business owner and entrepreneur myself, I still pay attention to politics and to the drift of the nation with a great deal of interest–and to understand what your clients are thinking about. And there’s alot of talk these days about the uncertain direction of our nation.
One of the political commentators I read (though I don’t always agree with her analysis) is Peggy Noonan–a former Reagan speechwriter, she’s now a commentator on MSNBC and writes a weekly column in the Wall Street Journal. She’s a great writer–elegaic, and she’s not afraid to let her personality shine through.
(Incidentally–isn’t that the mark of great writing, especially sales writing? We tend to gravitate and read people who stand for something, and do it with their own unique style…not the bland crap that puts us all to sleep. There’s a lesson there for you and your business, if you see it.)
But my point isn’t just about her style–it’s about what she said in her column from today. Noonan describes the deep uncertainty which many of your clients, and, perhaps, you are feeling about the economy and our country. The Dow is sinking, nobody’s sure about the “stimulus” yet…but it seems to be more than that.
[Her column is here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123508142847026881.html ]
However, at the end of the piece, she says something which I believe is deeply true–and strikes a note of hope for you, the independent small business owner.
Noonan writes: “Dynamism has been leached from our system for now, but not from the human brain or heart. Just as our political regeneration will happen locally, in counties and states that learn how to control themselves and demonstrate how to govern effectively in a time of limits, so will our economic regeneration. That will begin in someone’s garage, somebody’s kitchen, as it did in the case of Messrs. Jobs and Wozniak.

The comeback will be from the ground up and will start with innovation. No one trusts big anymore. In the future everything will be local. That’s where the magic will be. And no amount of pessimism will stop it once it starts.”
Did you catch that? “No one trusts big anymore.
There’s a lot to consider there, but here’s my primary point: Are you “big” to your clients? Or, are you a tax or accounting professional with a “face”…a personality and a relationship?
advisory firms that neglect their relationships with their clients… *hoping* that clients will remain loyal to a business which presents itself as a *big* “company” (instead of a place with real people and personality) won’t survive this recession.
It’s a by-product of the Internet age…and you’ve gotta pay mind to it. Don’t get seduced by the siren-call of “professionalism” in communication. That’s another word for “boring” and will put your clients to sleep.
Give your clients a “face”…and you’ll be left standing–and thriving–when the dust of this economy settles, while your bland, “professional” competitors will never know what hit ’em.
But you’ll know.
Kick some butt out there!

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