Before entering the vet niche, we conducted an evaluation of our staff to identify the collaborative skill set. We have seasoned CPAs, accountants, and bookkeepers—all highly capable of performing the work. As a team, we have developed and implemented systems dedicated to the success of our veterinary clients. Although the vet industry is fairly sophisticated in terms of accounting needs, I was confident that our team could handle daily work and problem solve without hands on management,” Hanner stated.
Hanner explained that his firm’s process is solid. “With an exceptionally capable and self-sufficient team in place; the firm runs like a well-oiled machine.”
Having a dedicated team to run the day to day also allows Hanner to focus on higher-level strategy—that is, bringing in new business and growing the firm. In other words, to quote business sage Michael Gerber, Hanner is free to “work on his business, not in it.”
Getting Out from Under the Fear Factor
Offering expert niche services enables firms to apply value pricing and charge a premium for services that are of higher value to clients.
“We put a lot of time and money into learning the niche. We also had to customize a services package and provide a dedicated team, so I had to rethink our pricing. We simply weren’t charging enough to make a profit. Of course, raising pricing brings with it the fear of losing clients,” Hanner explained.
Hanner admitted that in the back of his mind was a nagging fear of losing clients. And the thought of losing a big client was even scarier. At the end of the day, however, he realized that with niche expertise, his firm would continue to bring in new clients, which decreased some of the pressure.
“I set my fees with confidence. I know we provide premium services. So, if I have a prospect or client that doesn’t want to pay, I explain that they are free to go elsewhere...in a very friendly manner of course,” Hanner stated.
Getting out from under the fear factor marked a turning point for Glenn Hanner. Over the past five years the firm reports a steady, healthy growth.
“It all fell into place nicely,” Hanner recalled. “When we first decided to enter the vet industry, we updated our website with niche-specific info and started to market locally. Within only a few days I got a call from Bank of America’s veterinary practice solutions division. They are now a primary source of referrals for our firm, along with all the associations we participate in.”
The firm’s transition into the vet niche certainly didn’t happen overnight. Hanner and his team dedicated a lot of time and energy to learning the industry and getting in with the appropriate organizations. Fast-forward to today and Hanner finds his firm in the vanguard of those serving the veterinary market. In fact, some might say that Hanner & Associates is leading the pack.
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Stats at a Glance
- Year founded: 1986
- Total employees: 15 F/T,
- Home base: Bedford, TX
- Firm description: Full-service tax and accounting firm focused on small businesses
- Technology of Choice: Thomson Reuters Suite, Bill.com, Right Networks, SurePrep
About the Author
Kristy Short, Ed.D, is partner and Chief Marketing Officer in RootWorks LLC (RootWorks.com) and rwc360, LLC (rwc360.com)—firms dedicated to providing practice management education, branding, marketing, and public relations services to the accounting profession. She is also a professor of English and marketing. Reach her at email@example.com.