While there’s something to be learned in peer groups, the investment in time and money far exceeded the value to my businesses.
Process consulting for me is like forcing one size to fit all. My success comes from my differentiation, which is the opposite of what process consultants want you to believe.
My 1-to-1 consulting practice allows me to provide advice and support—practical company wide support, as well as emotional, psychological, moral support–to business owners. All of the time and all the money they spend gets them my undivided attention, advice and creativity that fit specifically with their business.
If you and your team are 1-to-1 learners, my consulting practice could be the perfect fit for you and your company. I welcome a discovery conversation to get started.
Contact me and let’s discuss how Refresh, Refine or Reimagine will transform your business.
Create Dramatic Growth
The CPA, Jerry, tried hard to imagine the year when he would not worry about his declining cash balance every summer and would have more time to spend with his young son as he grew. But Jerry had a hard time imagining how he could create this kind of dramatic growth for his CPA firm.
When I first talked with Jerry, his immediate frustration was with the summer-long ebb of revenue. Primarily a tax return firm, it was busy from Jan through April, then again in the early fall when extensions were due. They had some recurring revenue from bookkeeping and payroll services, but it was nothing compared to the tax related revenue.
It would have been possible to suggest that Jerry needed a Refresh—solve the problem of low summer revenue—or a Refine project, wherein we would set a major goal and work only on that. I believed that he had two key ingredients that made his firm ripe for a full-scale Reimagine effort— nothing less than dramatically changing his whole firm to generate much more revenue annually, and to free him from the tyranny of billable hours.
What were the two key ingredients? 1) Many long-standing clients and 2) a strong stream of referrals from those clients and other referral partners.
After 25 years, Jerry was cautious about reimagining his business operations. I started by asking him “What does success look like to you now and in 5 years?” He replied “steady, abundant monthly revenue and freedom to take time off to spend time with my son. He’ll only be a child for a few years.”
I then asked “What would have to be true for you to achieve this success?” That leads to many answers involving the full range of firm management and operations. Once each is listed, I ask “What do we have to do to make this come true?” And that’s where the reimagining starts building.
We wrote a 12 month plan to enable him and his team to roll out the changes that would make things true in an orderly manner. All of his staff were involved from the beginning because everyone has a part to play in reimagining. Jerry also invited about two dozen of his best clients to tell him what else they’d love to buy from him. They brought up services Jerry never would have thought of himself. It turns out that reimagining can be expanded when you ask your best buyers for their help.
By the 6 month point all of the Best Buyer clients and many of his Enthusiastic Fans had been visited. One of the biggest changes was the introduction of a comprehensive Annual Services Plan for a fixed fee, payable in monthly installments. This would replace the individual products and services the firm had been selling for years, on an hourly basis. About 5% of clients chose to find another tax man. The 95% who embraced it were thrilled to consolidate all their financial oversight and management, both personal and business, into one clear Plan. Jerry and his staff augmented their technology to ensure smooth, secure and timely data transmissions.
To be sure, there were plenty of internal changes and a few upheavals as the firm reinvented itself. Throughout it all, Jerry remained fixed on the goals: abundant steady revenue and more free time. He learned that his clients were rooting for him and felt excited being part of this big change.
Jerry wanted to celebrate the successful transformation of his company and held a big reception about one year after the launch of the “new” business model. He asked his guests to bring someone they knew who might like to explore becoming a client of the firm. The response was overwhelmingly positive and Jerry gained many new clients. He often says he had no idea how many people hated paying for professional services by the hour. They simply want results and will pay a trustworthy person what it costs.
What About Your Company?
Do you think your company is ready to be reimagined? The best way to know is to assess what’s missing from what you have now. Do you suffer from revenue fluctuations? Feel tethered to your desk? Don’t have enough time to do the parts of your work that you’re best at and that you love? See the writing on the wall and want to create a new future? Want the business to run itself so you’re free to pursue another interest, whether that’s another business, or a philanthropic cause or spending more time with your family?
You do not have to have the picture clearly in mind before we talk. If you have a niggling feeling, a bit of dissatisfaction or disenchantment, make an appointment to talk to me. All my work is customized to the specific client. We’ll do discovery and then we’ll agree on next steps, if any. Give me call 703-790-1424