Many accountants treat growth as something that happens naturally, and are often amazed at what they actually achieve at the end of the year. Whilst growth does occur due to natural market forces, there are some less obvious reasons that operating without a plan is detrimental to the practice.
Let’s look under the bonnet to see what is really happening…
Without a practice-wide plan, growth remains the sole responsibility of the partner/s.
No plan means that no one else can or will take ownership of getting more work in the door. A plan however, clearly articulates how each team member can contribute to growth.
No plan means that not even the partner, has a real idea of activities required to achieve goals.
You’ve heard this before: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” – Benjamin Franklin.
If the partner doesn’t even know what the strategies nor the activities are to achieve set growth expectation, growth will consistently fail to be achieved. Spending the time to create a plan is like drawing up blueprints for your dream house, the more time spent in planning, the clearer all parties are about exactly what is required to achieve the end result.
Components of an Effective Growth Plan
Let me first explain what an effective growth plan is not.
Growth plans are not financial budgets with a % increase or an adhoc figure plucked from the sky. eg. “I think we can do $500,000 extra this year based on our capacity”
Effective growth plans are well thought out and carefully constructed. They cover off the right strategies and set out activities required to reach the desired goal. Often the exact financial goal is set once the rest of the plan has been detailed.
Checklist for your Growth Plan
Client opportunities, (see my ‘Farming for Client Growth Template’, click here to download)
Products & packages to be developed, including
System & Tools
Activity Forecasting; and
Strategies to roll out offerings.
Understanding the need for a plan, even reading the requirements is easy, but I know just how complex the actual process is. It took me six years to get this right. But now, the firms who have engaged me, are doing it in less than 18 months.
Be honest… how do you want to drive your dream car?
When it comes down to it, adhoc growth plans are like my dream car (the Jaguar XKR) running on two cylinders when it has eight. Sure, it moves along and ultimately gets me to where I am going, but arguably in the least effective and slowest way. And honestly, knowing the potential and lost opportunities makes this method painful!
Take action right now…
“The first man gets the oyster, the second man gets the shell” – Andrew Carnegie
You’ve invested the time to read this, and now is the best time to spend a couple of moments taking the next step.
You can get started on the checklist above right now, schedule in a time with your partners (or yourself!) to start mapping out your service offering.