Are you your own worst enemy?


As with many business owners one of their key problems is a lack of confidence, not in their abilities as accountants, but in determining the value they bring to their clients. This leads to them taking on work which is below their qualifications and experience, because it is easier to ‘sell’ lower level work if you don’t understand the value to clients of more challenging projects.

It is then very easy to get onto the tread mill of having to take on lots of low value clients/projects just to pay the bills. Because all their time is taken up servicing clients, rather than developing their business, they don’t have time to go after higher value work. This then means they find it very difficult to break out of the rut they have dug for themselves.

Another problem is that, even if they are trying to go after higher level projects, they are not clear enough on what their ‘perfect’ client looks like. To the ‘perfect’ client the work professionals can do for them is of real value. They want the service and are prepared to pay an appropriate fee for it.

Other clients may have been told they need the service but it has less value to them because they do not get why it is important to them. These clients will view a professional’s fees as a cost and are much more likely to want the service at a cut down fee. In this situation the management accountant (in this scenario) may still be in the position of doing a large number of hours for a relatively low rate and have the same problem as detailed above.

They have become their own worst enemy!

The key to understanding the value you can bring to customers is to talk to them! I know this sounds obvious but we are often put off from talking to our clients because we are afraid they will tell us something we don’t want to hear. However, it is more likely they will tell us something we DO want to hear!

If you don’t have any ‘perfect’ clients you will still have introducers and other business professionals with whom you can talk to chrystalise your value proposition.

Although this blog has focused largely on accountants the same problems can be found with other professional service providers and the solutions are the same:

– Have confidence in yourself and your abilities

– Understand the value your clients realise from what you do and charge accordingly

– Concentrate on projects in which you have particular expertise

– Identify your perfect clients and market to them

Become your best friend and give yourself the best chance of running the business you deserve

Fiona πŸ™‚

For a great job use a professional

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.49.22Just because you have the time doesn’t mean you are the cheapest solution – or the best!

I know I have written about this topic before, but I do think it is important for business owners to be comfortable with outsourcing work they are not expert in to people who are.

We are currently having an extension built which has entailed a complete re-plan of our kitchen (we currently don’t have one).

We started planning last summer and first on the list was finding a good builder. Fortunately, I know a couple of people who have had building work done recently and as luck would have it both had used the same builder – and highly recommended him.

Now Derek (said builder) has been in the trade for many years and knows local surveyors, electricians and plumbers. So he was our one-stop-shop for all the services we needed to engage for the project.

It has been fascinating to watch how he juggles all the jobs needed to get the project completed.

Of course, it has taken quite a bit longer to finish than we had originally thought – mainly because I am very impatient and always think jobs will take much less time than they do.

But this extra time has given us longer to make key decisions about what we actually want. Meaning that the final result will be much better than it would have been had we rushed.

By using a professional who really knows their trade we have been forced to properly plan and take time to do it right.

I think this is true of many jobs.

Sometimes the urge to do a job ourselves that we are neither skilled or equipped to do is overwelming. β€œI have the time so I might as well give it a go” is the mantra of many DIYers.

The result is often a Heath Robinson job that can remain unfinished when enthusiasm runs out.

I see this all the time in business too. The number of marketing, sales and business plans that are stuffed into drawers unfinished could fill the Albert Hall.

So my message is: if a job is important to you, make sure the job is done by the most appropriate person who will do the best job – and this might not be you.

Fiona πŸ™‚