Last week’s TA#53 was all about how to shift your mindset to a strategic approach during busy times of heavy compliance work. This week I want to illustrate the opportunities even deeper by taking you through an example.
Simply, when dealing with a client it is highly beneficial to maintain a strategic focus, making it easier to identify possible improvements to your delivery or identify value add opportunities.
For several years our industry has faced threats in the form of Outsourcing and Cloud Software as Service (eg. Xero). Both forces act to disrupt the old way of doing business, but, as I will point out, they also offer opportunities to expand our offerings.
In a nutshell, I’m going to argue that these disruptive technologies and circumstances call for strategic responses that can, over the long term, actually be great for our businesses and our clients.
Value Add in the car industry
The car industry has often been forced to act strategically to market disruptions.
Do you remember when air conditioning was an optional extra? (It may be hard to recall the time because it’s long become standard.) Same goes for power steering, auto gearboxes, sound systems, sports options, etc. These are all enhancements from the standard delivery.
This happened when cheaper products came into the market. eg. When Hyundai entered the market they made previously optional extras, standard. Suddenly the same priced car was offering leather seats, air conditioning, etc. In fact in some cases these new standard feature models were even cheaper than their competitor’s equivalents.
Entry of Hyundai forced the rest of the market to respond. Whilst the initial response one was reactive (offering massive sales that only served to devalue their products), a successful proactive approach actually standardised the optional extras, and introduced sports and luxury models to the range as well.
The latter response effectively slowed market share loss; and provided a new, strategic response to this unforeseen market occurrence.
In some cases the cars haven’t increased in price for these inclusions (just added additional value to be more competitive), and in other cases like the sports option, it’s provided different product ‘levels’ within standard product delivery.
Now let’s apply this back to accounting.
How the Virtual CFO Product comes of Strategic Thinking
Say a client calls on you to go in and deal with cash flow problems.
You can deal with the problem two ways. A) as a project or B) by looking at the longer term benefits of positioning them into a product such as the Virtual CFO.
In the initial client meeting aim to identify ways to add significant value to the client without creating too much more work for the team to deliver. This might be included as additional value add service/s or as a tweak to existing service delivery.
These products can also be pitched at delivering different service levels. For example: Medium & Large Standard CFO (about the numbers), Strategic CFO (about strategy) and Small Business Standard CFO (the base model product).
Each of these products are like the standard, sports and luxury models in any given car range.
The car industry has not only responded, but thrived, following disruptions that at first threatened the viability of established brands.
Get help with your strategic overview, even at your busiest
I know it can be easy to theorise about how to remain strategic at your busiest times and create products from these opportunities. I also know that it can be much harder to make that a reality.
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