Business insights for Accountants from Kinky Boots

Nov 14, 2023 | Business development

I was delighted and proud to see my niece in a local production of the musical theatre show ‘Kinky Boots’ last week.

It’s a show I’ve not seen before but I did watch the film a while back so I had some idea of the storyline. And I’ve heard some of the most popular songs many times.

This week I have decided to highlight some analogies and related business development lessons for accountants, inspired by the show.

The first one that I often share with my mentoring clients is that: If what you’re doing isn’t getting you the results you want, try doing something new!

Just like species evolve to survive, accounting firms must, over time, adapt their strategies for success.

The Kinky Boots show is based on the film of the same name and both were inspired by a true story.

Struggling mens’ shoes manufacturer, Price and Sons, is about to close. A chance encounter results in them transitioning their factory to instead produce a range of custom high-heeled footwear (‘kinky boots’) for drag queens.

That transition is probably a little extreme for most accountants

But it does lead on to my second lesson, which again is something I often stress with my clients:  The value of focusing your services on a specific target audience.

The more you focus on what you do best, the easier it is to stand out in the marketplace and to win more of the clients you really want, who will pay you the fees you really deserve, to do the work you really enjoy.

In Kinky Boots, the lead character, Lola, is brought into the business to help Charlie Price rebrand and market their new line of footwear. Charlie couldn’t have done it without Lola. Would you benefit from bringing someone in from outside to guide you as you refocus your practice going forwards?

Nicola, Charlie’s fiancee, has very different ideas to him for the future of the business. She isn’t on board with his plans and this causes friction, frustration and dissatisfaction.

This is one of the reasons why I prefer to work with accountants who are the sole decision makers in their firm. If there are partners or co-directors there is potential for disagreement and friction. I don’t ever want to be stuck in the middle of that!

Charlie is keen to exhibit the new ‘kinky boots’ range at a major footwear show in Milan.  He knows THIS is where the boots need to be seen in order to secure the orders and exposure the factory needs.

As a result he invests his limited advertising and marketing spend so as to speak to the right audience.

This is always so much more effective than (effectively) shouting loudly to random people on social media platforms. Again, this is a point I often stress when talking about social media and Linkedin.

Charlie started with the end in mind: Who did he want to reach and where could he reach them. Could you do the same?

Had Charlie not decided to adapt and to transition the factory, his business would have collapsed. In his case that collapse was imminent.

If accountants stand still they are much less likely, than Price & Co, to collapse over night. But stagnation is not a long-term business strategy when the world and your competitors are evolving around you.

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