A Niche Focus on Franchise Accounting Led to One Firm's Growth
When Navjeet Chahal started Chahal & Associates in 2003, he was optimistic for success, but even he couldn’t predict the kind of success some firms only dream about. Since its inception, his firm has grown 20% each year.
While much of this growth can be attributed to plain, hard work, his firm’s focus on providing accounting, bookkeeping, payroll and tax planning services for hotel, restaurant, retail and automotive franchises is also a reason for success because of the unique niche. Many of his clients are household names: 7-Eleven, Maaco, Best Western and Subway, for example. He even created a vanity URL and corresponding website – franchiseaccountingservices.com – using search engine optimization to maximize his appeal to franchise owners.
“No two franchises are alike, so rather than offering a cookie-cutter approach, we tailor our accounting services to each client’s needs,” he said. “For example, some outsource all their accounting and bookkeeping tasks to us, but if they prefer to keep some functions in-house, we can set up their QuickBooks software and provide on-site training.”
His franchise clients range from all walks of life, including owners of restaurants, gas stations, hotels and auto repair shops. Yet, despite what industry he’s working in, Navjeet prides himself on offering the financial insight and advice his clients need to realize higher profits.
“We’re so confident in what we do that we offer a package of services for a flat monthly rate with a 90-day money back guarantee,” he said. “We also back up our work with exceptional customer service, answering calls on the first ring and responding to emails that same day. We want our clients to know how grateful we are to have them, how much we value their time, and also, how much we believe in our firm and its execution.”
However, there’s more to the story. Even though he has experienced growth, Navjeet wasn’t satisfied to rely on referrals to build his client base. It was time to focus on retention, too – and in 2014, he unveiled his secret weapon: Yelp.
He began using Yelp to market his firm throughout Northern California in January 2014, and in just 10 short months, acquired more than 40 reviews. Even though Yelp has filtered some of the reviews out, he currently has 16 live reviews on the website. There is a dual purpose served; Navjeet believes Yelp is great for spreading the word out about his business, but it also helps his clients’ business. He writes two to four reviews each week, helping give his clients successful evaluations.
“Before we started using Yelp, we would get a lot of emails and letters thanking us for our service – and I thought to myself that it would be great if the public knew more about how pleased our customers were with us,” he said. “So, we simply asked them to share their information on Yelp so that other people could see what kind of work we do. Since then, clients have been great in continuing to add reviews, and as a result, we are getting more clients from Yelp that are a good fit with our firm and its services.”
Navjeet’s pay-it-forward thinking carries over to why he loves what he does. He says that he just wants to see that his services truly impact his clients, and give them joy and success in their lives.
“The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the clients succeed and grow their businesses. We love hearing feedback about how our services make their lives easy and give them information to make better decisions. One of these stories came with a restaurant franchise that started from scratch a few years ago having financed their company with credit cards. Today, they have 6+ locations and more than 400 employees. We are so excited for them, and glad our services helped them realize their dreams.”