Build your client base through micro-marketing

Micro-marketing essentially refers to business development through networking. The idea is to identify a target market and then build a list of contacts that you would like to do business with from your chosen market sector.

The next task is to develop a “pitch”. This pitch is a framework outlining what your product or service is, what benefits your clients receive from buying your product or service and any advantages that your product or service has over your competitors. Make sure you write it down, refine it, rehearse it and memorise it. Now you are prepared to go micro-marketing.

Using your list of targets you can now develop opportunities by connecting with them through channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Alternatively you can simply phone and invite them out to lunch. Before you meet your target client, make sure to do your research. Visit their website and view their social media profiles in order to gain an understanding of what their product or service requirements might be.

Once you meet the potential client you can chose how best to deliver your prepared pitch. Depending on the situation, it may be best not to “hard sell” the potential client. Instead, make your pitch, don’t push for an answer and then follow up with a call or an email a couple of days after the meeting in order to close the sale.

Your micro marketing activities can be tracked on a simple spreadsheet or, if you have one, your firm’s database or CRM system. You should aim to follow up with your new contact on a regular basis – often the best way to do this is via e-marketing (such as monthly e-newsletters, etc). In order to develop and maintain the relationship with your new client, aim to meet them again on a fairly regular basis – they may even reward you with some referral business.

Planning for the reduction in the top tax rate from 50% to 45%

It may seem early to consider this, in view of the reduction not taking effect until the 2013/14 tax year, but that depends on your circumstances.

The scope for deferring income and/or accelerating expenditure can require a long lead-in time. In addition, if profits of a sole trader or partner are based on an accounting period ending near the start of the tax year, the options need to be looked at now. A year end of 30 April means that the year to 30/4/12 is taxed in 2012/13 with a top rate of 50%, whereas the accounting year starting on 1 May 2012 is taxed in 2013/14 with a top rate of 45%.

Changing your accounting date may create advantages – it all depends on the profit pattern, both actual and likely, and we will be pleased to undertake a fresh exercise for you on this.

HMRC estimate that, based on their assumptions of the income shifted from 2010/11 to 2009/10, to avoid the 50% charge, income of £6.25 billion is likely to be shifted from 2012/13 to 2013/14. Let us see the scope for you!