The Inner Circle – FAQ’s
How many sole practitioners will be around the table?
There are generally be 6-10 around the table with Mark. Membership of each group is capped to avoid them getting too big.
Will I fit in?
One regular member laughs as he recalls how he feared everyone would be high flyers compared to him. Not so.
Another thought they would be too young to contribute. They simply brought a different perspective and fit in very well.
Another member thought she was too new (after having acquired the practice from her old boss). She is very complimentary about the value she gains from The Inner Circle.
We have members whose turnover is below the VAT threshold, others who turnover a few thousand pounds, and everything in between.
Mark and The Inner Circle seem to attract the sort of accountants who get on. As long as you can relate well to Mark, the likelihood is that you will fit in with the group. All of the members are different, but many of the issues and challenges they face are similar.
How do I know the meetings will address my issues?
Discussion topics are generally chosen and agreed by the members and typically fall within the broad areas of:
- Strategic planning for your practice
- Marketing to improve or grow your client base
- Accessing, sourcing and managing appropriate practice support and staff
- Growing profits by growing the fees paid by existing clients
- Improving efficiency and professionalism
- Client management
The agenda for each meeting includes a guide as to how Mark anticipates leading the discussion, but this is always subject to members’ preferences on the day.
It is invariably the case that the ideas and solutions being sought by one member of The Inner Circle inspire other members too.
What if someone tries to dominate the discussion?
Mark does not permit this to happen – partly through his selection process for membership of The Inner Circle and partly by effective chairmanship of the meetings.
This is not a ‘talking shop’ and no one who joins should anticipate whinging about problems, HMRC or their professional body. Instead Mark encourages members to focus on ideas and solutions that are relevant and appropriate to a round table discussion among sole practitioners with an eye to the future.
How can I be sure I will get value from this?
To date no one has left a meeting saying it was a waste of time. On the contrary they are invariably positive, energised and motivated.
Mark’s approach and reputation mean that he makes every effort to ensure that everyone around the table gains maximum value from each session. He is skilled in running such meetings, keeping them to time, helping to draw out the key learnings to everyone’s benefit and never taking himself too seriously.
Experience with similar groups has proved that the more a member of a group, like The Inner Circle, is prepared to contribute and to share their ideas and solutions, the more fellow members will want to help them. This supports the old idea of ‘givers gain’ or ‘you scratch my back…’
What is the overall purpose of The Inner Circle?
Simply to help our sole practitioner members to become as successful in practice as they wish to be.
This is why we ask about your key challenges at the outset. And also why we suggest that if you are already as successful as you want to be then it’s not for you.
What if I cannot attend a meeting?
You will still receive a summary of the meeting and of the key learning points identified at the end of the meeting.
If you miss a meeting you can book a longer interim call with Mark who will recap on the key issues addressed, by reference to the meeting notes and key learning points circulated afterwards.
Where does the idea for The Inner Circle come from?
Mark Lee FCA, who was in practice until 2006, has been facilitating groups like this for many years. In creating The Inner Circle he has combined the best of what worked well for previous groups with his wider experience of participating in ‘mastermind’ groups.
What is a ‘mastermind’ group?
There are many variations. Essentially they involve like-minded participants sharing their ideas so that the group benefits from the ‘mastermind’ that is created. Many variations of such groups exist for entrepreneurs and business owners. This is NOT a class, group coaching, or networking group.
Some accountants run mastermind groups for their clients. After attending The Inner Circle you may choose to establish such a group yourself.