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By Kreston CEO, Liza Robbins.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about what accountancy firms have to do to thrive in an increasingly competitive market.
Kreston Menon, in the United Arab Emirates, has done more than thrive.
In the space of just 25 years, it has grown from two people in a small office, to more than 250 staff members across 9 offices.
It is the fifth largest accounting firm in the UAE.
And it is no exaggeration to say that Kreston Menon is a household name.
For the last six years running, it has been granted the status of Superbrand – an official designation by an independent authority in London, which recognises outstanding brands.
This success is no accident. It is the result of a deliberate growth strategy.
Since its beginning, Kreston Menon has carefully positioned itself as a partner to the UAE business community and to wider society.
“Every business has prime commercial considerations, but we want to make a difference to society and to our country,” Sudhir Kumar, Kreston Menon’s head of Corporate Communications, told me.
Kreston Menon shows social responsibility, for example suppporting the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children, which battles domestic violence, child abuse and human trafficking. It sponsors promising athletes, contributes financial to people who are affected by natural disasters and supports schools for special needs children.
So it was only natural that when the government launched an initative to turn Dubai into a disability-friendly city, it reached out to Kreston Menon to help raise awareness. The company filled its corporate calendar with pictures of competitors in the Paralympics, and distributed 50,000 copies.
Not only does this kind of partnership give Kreston Menon local credibility, but when the calendar reaches people, “they can see that we are not just about commerial activity, and our name enters hearts and minds,” says Sudhir.
At the same time, Kreston Menon networks hard with leaders in business, government and the social arena.
“Over a period of time we’ve got to know all the key businesspeople,” says Sudhir. “We work with all the embassies, consulates, business councils and chambers of commerce. We interact with them and do work for them – it might even be pro bono at first, but this later transforms into a commercial relationship.
“We go out of our way to be helpful!”
To cement these relationships, and help anchor Kreston Menon as a leading voice, it sends out a print newsletter every quarter to 50,000 contacts, in English and in Arabic. As well as business prospects, this includes decision-makers and influencers.
“We do not talk about ourselves in the newsletter,” says Sudhir.“It is about sharing our knowledge with the market. We analyse any subject that might be of interest to local business.”
The result of all this activity is that Kreston Menon has become an influencer itself – leading to explosive growth.
So what can other Kreston firms learn?
Clearly, Kreston Menon’s strategy of networking with local embassies and consulates is not transferrable to every firm.
But you can still make sure that you are positioned uniquely, compared to your competitors.
“It’s a crowded market,” says Sudhir. “How to you stand out will depend on the variables in your locale, but you must make sure you come across as different.”
You can still find the enablers in your own market, build relationships with them and work with them.
And you can still communicate with them instensely, and strive to be helpful to them.
“Have dialoge with them on topics that are key to them, not to you, so you are in tune with them,” adds Sudhir. “And show an impact and empathy to society around you, and to your local business community – wherever you are.”
Could this strategy work for you? Is this something you have tried?
Get in touch and let me know!
By Kreston CEO, Liza Robbins. Since I became CEO last year, I have been visiting Kreston firms across the world.
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