With the business deadline (9/15) behind us, we’re in tax planning season.
Though the IRS (and Congress) haven’t yet definitively made a statement about it (that we know of), here at J.R. Helms & Associates, P.C. we are operating according to the fact that the filing deadline is going to be April 15th, 2021 for 2020 taxes.
But this actually has nothing to do with your taxes for this year. Because these tax returns are historical reports — nothing more. The deadline is going to be what it is.
And yes, we get fairly ninja with returns, and there are lots of things we do here that other Indianapolis tax accountants aren’t as good at, and we’re able to keep our clients’ tax burdens to their proper (read: lower) level as a result.
But the most important time of the year for tax planning is right now, Q4.
That’s because there are shifts available for certain Marion County businesses that, if you make them NOW, can dramatically lower your tax burden — both on the business side, and the personal return. And almost all of these shifts can only occur before 12/31/20. Some of them take some time and doing.
So … if you’re interested in what this can look like for you, get in touch. https://www.helmscpa.com/book-an-appointment/
Moving on … let’s talk about bringing in new business in this environment. Because it starts with this:
Identifying Your Target Prospect by John R. (Rusty) Helms
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault
As is often cited, more fortunes were made during the Great Depression than during any other time up to that point (and well beyond, even when you adjust for inflation).
I say this to point you (and myself) higher, and to lift our vision about what is possible — especially with all of the continued doom, anger and gloom in the media, and among our friends’ posts on Facebook.
(Friendly reminder: NOW is a great time to chop your social media browsing.)
The fact is, though, it’s never been easier or more cost-effective to reach the kind of people we want to reach with our message in 2020.
And when we do it right, we can all keep our costs down (while profits stay steady, or even increase). And this particular tax accountant LOVES that.
Many Indianapolis clients I see approach their marketing from the following perspective:
“I need more customers, so I will run an advertising campaign. I will then choose a good media and come up with the kind of ad which works best for that medium. This will ensure success.”
Actually, this seems to be completely backwards.
The most successful clients I work with have the following approach:
“What is my exact target market and what do they want? Next, since I know my target market and what they want, I can create a message which matches up with what they care about (not just what I provide). Lastly, the right media isn’t a big deal because I just pick the one which reaches my target prospect most effectively.”
Do you see the difference between these two approaches?
What this is really talking about is coming up with the right prospect list.
In selecting a list, you want to target people most likely to have an existent interest in what you have to offer, as well as some things in common with your present good customers.
These commonalities might be found in age, sex, occupation, income level, neighborhood or geographic area, credit card ownership, family size, magazine subscribed to, or any number of other factors. These factors are called demographics and the professional sources from whom you might rent mailing lists can be incredibly sophisticated in finding or compiling a mailing list of people who conform to your set of desired demographics.
This is ESPECIALLY true now in 2020, with the sophisticated targeting options available in Facebook, LinkedIn, Google (or other online advertising), and in direct mail list acquisition.
In business-to-business marketing the same sophistication is available. Lists of companies can be obtained by size, sales volume, asset value, number of employees, type of business, geographic area, magazines subscribed to, credit rating and other factors. Lists of executives, owners, sales managers, personnel managers, purchasing agents, stockholders, or secretaries are also readily available. You can even target ONLY employees of a particular company on Facebook.
List selection can be as simple or sophisticated as you need or want to make it. The owner of an upper class club might want to obtain a mailing list of homeowners within a 50-mile radius of his restaurant who have at least one bank credit card.
A private jet manufacturer might want the list of corporate officers and business owners with net worths in excess of $1MM, all across the country.
As a rule, the more demographic factors you can use in controlling the list for direct mail, the costlier the mailing list. But to a great degree, extra money spent in narrowing down the list to fit your desired factors is money well spent.
Ironically, in online marketing, sometimes the narrower the demographic, the CHEAPER the list becomes. And that makes this tax accountant happy for the sake of your business.
Again, all the time and money spent in this narrowing is very well spent, because you reduce the “waste factor” in your marketing when you can narrowly slice down your target to the most responsive possible.
And look — I’m not a marketing expert, per se. There are plenty of agencies and experts who can help you more directly.
But I HATE waste. It rubs against my cold, green-shaded nature. So, let’s get rid of it together, shall we?
John R. (Rusty) Helms, C.P.A., CGMA
J.R. Helms & Associates, P.C.
Feel free to forward this article to a business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance. While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for families and business owners.