The Change Implementation Series
I know just how hard it is knowing where to begin on your change journey, so I’ve written this series around the six starting points that I use to make implementation easier for my clients. Couple of weeks ago I introduced the series in TA75 – The Kick-start Change Implementation Plan. This article is part 5 of a 7 part series on kick-starting your own change implementation plan.
Part 4: How to Leverage your Existing Knowledge to Maximum Advantage
Many firms struggle with VAS, with both the design and implementation of their service offerings. This week I’m covering some basic rules of thumb to follow to make the process much easier.
Many of the firms I work with find their progress stalled by similar barriers…
1. Does VAS just seem too hard?
This could be because you are approaching it as an ad-hoc project…
- Ad-hoc projects just make the partner and the best people busier as they are the only ones who can do the work.
- Each new project requires starting from scratch or even worse, previous client developed tools get copied and tweaked resulting in more mistakes.
- Scoping is often poor and unclear, (Common problem with projects, read more in ‘TA48 Are Projects Killing Your Business?’). This leads to overruns and scope creep, making it hard to recover and therefore the write-offs are high.
2. Are you trying to find external tools and suppliers to provide a ready-made system?
- This approach means that the tool becomes the focus rather than the outcomes. This makes it much harder to sell.
- Ask yourself: ‘Does the tool closely apply to your clients’ needs and demographics?’
- Another issue occurs when no one takes the time to do the training. Thus the tool sits unused on the shelf. Additional training can be hard to fit in when the practice and its people are already “too busy”.
3. Do you think you’re missing the skills to deliver VAS?
- Are you making it bigger than it is?
- Do you undervalue your own skills and those within your team?
- Are you not listening to your clients and what they want from you??
Time and time again I am able to work with firms to utilise their existing skills and in-house resources to develop and implement VAS services that deliver real solutions to their clients. Often it’s just a case of making the time to focus on the bigger picture and knowing where to look.
4. Are you trying to create some mythical service offering that clients can’t buy and accountants can’t sell?
Many Accountants try to start with a high almighty service offering that is actually impossible to sell, much less deliver.
- I worked with a firm who had lots of rural clients and had identified a great opportunity to roll out a product. They spent four days designing a deluxe service that was perfect for their rural client base. Unfortunately, the newly designed product had overlooked their wider client demographic and spending behaviour. The new product would cost $10,000, whereas the current client average fee was between $3-5k.
- Designing the ‘perfect’ product is not the entire answer. The service offering must also account for your client’s budget and other constraints.
5. Are you trying to be too generic or copy someone else’s formula?
Try looking instead for specialisations that others are not providing or are specific to your own client demographics and/or location.
- Copying everyone else is a recipe for complacency.
- It undervalues what you do for your clients, and
- It’s NOT listening to what your clients really need.
These mistakes can be reduced to three main complaints:
- We don’t have the right skills
- We don’t have the right clients
- We don’t have the right people
The Key to successful VAS
1. Start with what you already know.
Many firms find themselves questioning whether they have the right people and resources to create and deliver VAS. My answer is almost always that they already have everything they need.
2. Start small.
Begin with the tools, resources and people that you already have.
A mistake that accountants make is thinking that VAS services need to be huge, deluxe offerings. This slows design and implementation, makes sales difficult and cripples delivery.
3. Start with what you have already done.
Look at what you have already completed for clients and build on this over time.
How I started with VAS
Back when we started VAS, we thought we didn’t have the right tools and resources either. My first VAS was a business development program at $3,000/month. In hindsight, what I delivered didn’t produce enough results for my clients. I simply started too big and failed because I didn’t have the confidence to sell to other clients.
Our first true product was Management by Numbers. This monitoring style service was sold to over 100 clients ranging from $6,000 to $24,000 depending on the size of the client and the complexity of their needs.
How to get 3-6 VAS that your clients can buy, tomorrow…
The process I use with firms identifies 3-6 VAS you can do for your clients, tomorrow.
That means 3-6 products that are deliverable, and that your clients will buy because they are built around your existing client base and deliver real outcomes and solutions.
This is made possible because of the system I use to help firms create their most profitable and easiest to sell service offering…
If you’re interested in personalised consulting on VAS in your firm, book an initial consult now…
[or copy and paste this link into your browser >> http://www.timetrade.com/book/6SWV1]
VAS Workshop this May
Alternatively, if you want the education and have a go at doing it yourself, then join other like- minded accountants who are already heading this pathway. A firm from Wagga has sold $100,000 since doing this workshop.
PGF May specifically addresses :
- how to leverage your existing skills and create VAS repeatable process
- how to make the most of your existing clients, and have them buy more services
- how to design packages and products
To learn more, view page HERE.
A Six Step Series on Implementing Your Plan for Change
This series addressed how to confidently begin implementing your change growth plan.
- Five ways to say ‘No’ that will free up time to do higher end work and increase your profitability – TA76
- Build confidence to implement by getting clear on what you really want – TA77
- Four ways to declutter your mind and clear your desk for maximum focus – TA78
- Lead with confidence by leveraging existing knowledge – TA79
- How to get early wins by uncovering opportunities within your existing client base – TA80
- Four ways to gain and build strong momentum – TA81
Next week we continue with “5. How to Get Early Wins by Uncovering Opportunities within your Existing Database”.
- How Accountants can be presume too much about their clients (and stunt progress from the very beginning)
- The correct approach to designing VAS for your clients
- The six step process to follow for successfully rolling out new VAS services to your clients
- Plus more real life, practical examples of Accountants who have designed, implemented and successfully made the step from compliance to VAS firms.
As always, if there is a specific barrier holding up your firm’s implementation or you want help building your confidence to implement your plans, you’re welcome to comment below or book a time using the link below the comment box.
Please also feel free to share this article with your leadership team and networks.
Andrew Robertson | TwentySix Group