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Deeper Weekend 2014

Posts Categorized:

Management and Operations

Choose your favorite writer

  • Greg Kyte
    Greg Kyte
  • Jason Blumer
    Jason Blumer
  • Jon Lokhorst
    Jon Lokhorst
  • Melinda Guillemette
    Melinda Guillemette
  • Toni Cameron

Transcript:

In the CPA firm world, there’s a disparity between two things. So my partner and I, we work a lot with CPA firms, with firms trying to grow, so we know them and accounting firm owners really care about their clients. That is just something that’s about these entrepreneurs, these service-based entrepreneurs, that serve in the accounting world. I think it’s just the types of people that become accountants, that run firms, I don’t know, but they really do care about their clients.

But here’s the thing we hear and I know other firms hear often when they get a new client, they always say, “That last firm never cared about me. They didn’t follow up, they didn’t lead me. I would’ve given them more money. They didn’t tell me new things I could purchase from them.” We hear this disparity often where we know accounting firm owners care about their clients, but yet when you hear clients change firms, they describe something that sounds the opposite where the other firm didn’t care about them. There’s this disparity and what is that?

Well, there are some client management strategies called onboarding where you can actually bring a client along to understand how to work within your firm. A lot of times the difference in disparities is really a lack of education. It’s a client not fully understanding what that firm intends to do for them and how it doesn’t match what the client wants them to do. There’s this disparity often in the knowledge or education in the service being provided. accounting firm owners think caring looks one way because they do it for all their clients whereas a client is looking for very specific care in another way. It takes education through an onboarding process for a firm to tell a client exactly what they’re buying, what they’re going to get, what they’re not going to get, what they can do, what that client can not do, these kinds of things help a client understand, “Oh, this is the kind of care I’m paying for,” and that clarity alone really keeps a client coming back to a firm over and over and over.

And they do. They start to understand. You allow the client to be a better partner of yours when you educate them on what the scope is that they do get or don’t get and then they’ll stay with you. Often a client will say, “Hey, I know this is not in scope, but I want to give you more money to do a new thing for me.” That’s when that client’s become a great partner, when they understand how they’re meant to inform you as their firm how to help that client grow.
But how do you lead these client management strategies? Well, that’s up to the firm. It’s the firm’s responsibility to build an onboarding process, to bring a client into their firm in a way that helps them understand how they’re going to be cared for. If that’s something you struggle with, we help firms with things like that in Thriveal. Hit us up at [email protected] and we’ll walk you through the complexities of how to figure this out. Thanks so much. Take care.

Transcript:

Hello, firm entrepreneur. What do you do when you have to pivot? Maybe you’ve been thrown off in the year 2020 and 2021. We have pivoted like crazy, just like everybody else. And how do you do pivots? Pivots can really throw you.

So what’s a pivot? That’s when you’re just walking along in your firm, running your firm, doing what you normally do, and some grenade is thrown in by the Congress, or a pandemic, or people, or whatever it may be, and it kind of blows up your plans. And so what do you do when you have to pivot? Well, the best thing for us in our firm that’s helped us when we’re pivoting is that we already had a plan. And sometimes, we can’t even tell. But that’s more helpful than we realize. And so anybody that watches what we do, or listens to some of the things we teach, calendar work blocking is a huge part of how we plan our future. And we really believe in it. It really does help us. It’s sustained us for managing and planning our work for years and years.

So what we have is a plan all the way through the end of the year. And so that plan tells us what we want to help us know if we’re going to achieve what we want to achieve. And when we have a grenade of a pivot come in, it really blows up that calendar. And basically, what that does is it tells us, all right, we need to slow down for a little bit. We need to change the pace of our business. So a pivot can really just disorient you so bad that you don’t know what you should do. You don’t know if you should keep going, change, stop, close down, whatever. It’s hard to know.

But if you’ve already had a plan in place that is a plan on a calendar, you can actually see should you just slow down, should you change the pace of your growth? If you were going to hire two people, should you just stop doing that now? And so a preformed plan, you can really see how it gets blown up when you go through a pivot. So that’s probably the best advice we could give about pivots.

Now, if you have no plan at all and a pivot comes, it’s so disorienting. You don’t even know what plan just got knocked off course because you didn’t have a plan. So that’s why locking yourself into a plan is very safe. So that when you do have to pivot, you can see that plan blow up. And that is so beneficial, even to watch your plan blow up, and know, “All right, I’m not doing that. I’m not doing that. I’m not doing that.” At least you can choose the three or four things you’re not going to do anymore.

So that’s our advice if you’re dealing with pivots in an entrepreneurial firm, is that go ahead and get your plans in place for the rest of the year. Be bold enough to lock those in. And when pivots are forced upon you, you’ll know how to change those. So we hope that helps. If you need any help, you can reach us at thriveal.com. Just go to [email protected] to email us. Or you can go to thriveal.com on our site. Or reach out to us at @Thrivealcpas on any social channel, and we’ll help you if we can. Thanks so much.

Transcript:

We do a lot of work consulting with service-based companies. And one thing that service-based companies struggle with in their growth is when to split their company, running their company, into different lanes. And here’s what I mean by that. So when you get to three to five people in a services-based company, that gets to a point where all of the people producing the revenue, which are typically at that point technical people, maybe one helper, what they all do is they fail to split the technical services revenue lane of the company into a movement lane. And so when you get to that many people, three to five, what you want to do is split the lanes and start working on having an operational movement lane.

And so what do I mean by movement lane? Well, that’s the lane of the company where you start moving the work along. That’s like somebody scheduling appointments, keeping up with contracts, putting the contracts into a workflow system. It’s somebody that’s always doing the details of making sure work is moving along so that the technical revenue team in the other lane, they don’t have to worry about some of that movement stuff. And so when you get to a certain point in a services company, you want to split revenue production with movement in a company. And that starts to create a lot of strategic decisions. Now you have one person, the movement person, that’s project manager, an ops manager, even an administrative person, whatever you want to title them, support, strategic support ops person, whatever that movement is, they don’t have to worry about being client facing and revenue generating. They just get to think about serving the company and moving things along.

And so that’s a real, solid, strategic way we found for people to keep their services company going, and one they overlook or don’t know about. And so we’ve learned it over time, and it’s been such a help to our team, and allow us to really provide proactive service to our clients. So I hope that helps. Let us know if you need more help on that. We teach these kind of things in Thriveal. You can find us at thriveal.com. Thanks so much. We’ll see you.

Transcript:

This is a two part series on conversations, and I mentioned in the other video that we can help you in Thriveal with knowing how to have better conversations in your firm. We do that in Thriveal. So, [email protected] if you want to email us. We have a lot of programs and coaching and just ways in our community to support firm owners that are growing. So what I talked about in the first video in this two part series is how to define your conversation with a number, like an alert system is kind of what we’re building in our firm. Well, another thing we’re building in our firm is a context and directional chart about our conversation. Basically, what we mean is there is context to all conversations and we’re breaking that into two different types of contexts. There’s organizational strategy context and service strategy context. And so the owners have most of the contexts or all of the contexts. They have all of the contexts about the strategy of the organization and how it’s going to grow into the future.

Then you move down from that and you may have a leadership team. A leadership team has a more limited level of context of strategy. Now, the leadership team is being taught the organizational strategy from the owners, but they’re not deciding that. Now, they would influence it. What the leadership team is doing is really building the service strategy. That is how this firm is going to pull off service and deliverables to their clients. That’s a big deal. And so then the leadership team takes the context of the service strategy and jumps down another level and shares that with the team. The team has less of the service strategy. And what are they focused on as the team? They’re focused on boots on the ground work, their executionary work. And so the leadership team we’re teaching to not share all the context with the team because that context gets confusing. The team just needs to go, “All right, here’s the service strategy. Let’s go knock it out.”

Then that conversation direction of that context goes all the way down to the clients. Of course, the clients don’t care at all about the context of our organizational or service strategy, right? That’s internal stuff. All they care about is the outcome, the external outcome that they’re purchasing, they’re paying for. And so we share even less context with the clients about our strategy for growth or our service strategy to fulfill our service to them. Now, we do tell them some of those things as clients, but it’s only towards the goal of serving them and producing the deliverables and justifying the revenue that they’re paying us.

So in the first video, we talked about a conversation alert system to know what system we’re on, what number we’re on. This one, we’re talking about how much context you pass down to different levels of groups of people in your company and the direction of that context, and how it goes, and how you limit the context of things you share in conversations. This all gets very, very complicated, but this is something we would love for you to come to thriveal.com, join us as a member, and we’ll be able to help you understand how these things work, and you can start to learn more about these things. So I hope that helps. Let us know, [email protected] Take care.

Transcript:

Pricing is simple. I’m going to explain what I mean. A lot of firm owners focus on pricing as something they’re always trying to learn, but pricing is a simple concept, yet it’s a hard competency, and there’s a difference between concept and competency. So a concept, conceptualizing something, is very simple. Pricing is simply giving somebody a price for the thing you agree to do for them before you start that work. That’s really all it is. It is a simple concept. And a concept is something you seek to understand. So it’s a simple concept to understand, yet it’s a hard competency. So what is a competency? It is something you learn over time. You get better at, that you’re not good at the first time you do it, and it continues to grow on you and you continue to learn how to play it out into your firm and things like that. So just keep that in mind.

I’m doing a lot of work and teaching on pricing right now. I just wanted to point that out, that people struggle with pricing so much. And I think one of the things that they need to stop struggling with is the concept of pricing. Walk into it and really start giving people a price for your services. Give them a price. Let it be wrong. You don’t have to do it well at first. The competency will come and the competency is more difficult. It is harder. That is the practice and the outworking of pricing over and over. So just keep in mind the conceptualizing idea of understanding something, pricing, can be simple, while the competency, the working out, the doing, the practicing, the getting better at, that can be more difficult. And that is true with pricing. It is a competency you do need to practice to get better out.

If you need help with any of that, we have programs, Incubator. We teach. We coach different things and different firms around pricing. Just reach out, [email protected], and we’ll be glad to help you. Thanks so much for watching. We’ll see you.

Transcript:

Your perception of reality is different than actual reality. And that’s what we do as humans. And you can think about something you went through in the past, a great experience or hard experience. And as you describe it now, and it happened in the past, some of the facts are going to change a little bit. When we get into a world like that, where we can’t see through and understand our reality and the perceptions, that’s when we have counselors and therapists and coaches. They help us cut through and look at reality because reality is when you’re going to make changes in your life when you actually know the truth. But as humans, our perception is always different. And we can often see this in how we do time sheets. That’s one example, it’s one really minute specific example.

If you do a time sheet for a week, you can look back on your week and you don’t remember. So you put down some reality into a time sheet software, and it’s probably not an accurate reflection of the reality. So your perception of it in that moment is not really real. So think about the future. So when you get to look into the future, knowing that the perception of reality is not always the reality, you get to be creative and first of all, try to scope out what you want that future to be. And you get to create the reality in advance, so to speak so that you don’t have to worry about your perceptions being wrong. You can roll into a reality you’ve already created. That’s really what owning your future is all about. But if you look backwards, you’re always seeing that they’re never matching up.

And that’s true. So when you pass through time, the past is always going to be different than you thought it was. But it’s really important to get to the reality of what your life is about. So the future, owning that future and designing and creating that future first, that reality that you can walk into is really going to give you a better perception of reality. And these are things that are just really important for entrepreneurs to understand that the perceptions of what you think happened in the past or how you think your week went, or how you think you worked this week. Did you work efficiently? Well, you probably didn’t work as efficiently as you thought you did, just because your perception of what happened in the past is really not a reflection of reality and it needs to be.

So one thing we do with our team and with people we consult with other firms is to help them kind of bring those realities and perceptions closer together, because the reality is where the transformation is going to take place. And if you need help or you’re wondering, or you’re confused, you’re living in chaos, you don’t understand what’s going on or how to make your way forward. It’s because you’re bumping in probably to some perceptions of reality not being accurate. So just want to say, if you need help with that, let us know. We’re here to coach you through that at [email protected] Thanks for watching. We’ll see you