At the ICAEW’s ‘Growing your practice’ conference yesterday, speaker after speaker shared similar ideas – allbeit from very different perspectives, with different emphasis and in different contexts.
I was first up and talked about the 7 step framework you need to follow to STAND OUT from the competition. There are a host of detailed factors behind each stage so I only focused on a handful. After me came Robert Craven, Paul Shrimpling, Matin Clapson, Paul Harrison, Cameron John and Karen Reyburn.
We all had our own take on things and offered distinct advice, insights and ideas. But during the day a number of messages seemed to be repeated by speaker after speaker. Those repeated most-often seemed to me to be as follows:
- “It’s good to talk” – The more conversations you have with clients, prospects and introducers, the more your practice will grow. The right type of conversations can ensure you stand out, generate more referrals, identify new work opportunities and make more profits.
- “Consistency is crucial” – What you say about your practice and clients needs to be congruent with what your website says, what your Linkedin profile says and what your marketing materials and activities say on and offilne. Inconsistency damages credibility and trust which are key to generating more fees and growing the practice.
- “Update your Linkedin profile” – When someone looks you up online they will invariably find your Linkedin profile before they find your website. If your profile doesn’t engage them (and STAND OUT from the crowd) they may not bother moving on to look at your website – which must also engage them effectively.
- “Social Media activity needs to be strategic” – It’s easy to waste a lot of time and effort on twitter, facebook, and many other social media sites – even Linkedin. If you seriously want to grow your practice you need to consider where you will get ‘most bang for your buck’, monitor and measure what you do and take expert advice to avoid wasting time and effort.
- “If you don’t ask, you don’t get” – Many surveys referenced during the day suggest that most growth will come through client referrals. Yet few practices seem to encourage or help clients to deliver the referrals that would be so valuable. There are some pretty simple ways to address this.
- “If you want something to change, you have to do something different” – If you carry on doing what you’ve always done, you will NOT carry on getting what you’ve always got; the world around us is changing. You need to do things differently, to take action, to change your interactions with others, your online activity, your website, your online profile, your focus on financial details and on the other key indicators that drive your business and will enable you to grow.
Clearly each speaker’s advice ranged into other areas and had a distinct focus. It would be inappropriate for me to summarise everyone’s talks here. But I thought you might be interested in that overlap across those six points.
The other thing that struck me was that only a few truly new or novel points were being made. Many, including some of my own, could be dismissed as common sense and ‘obvious’. Yet the same points were being made in different ways by multiple speakers. And listening to what delegates were saying during the breaks it was clear that few were dismissive of the repeated messages, Indeed the repetition was barely noticed.
I surmise that accountants, serious about growing their practices, value being told stuff that may be obvious, as long as it is presented in a stimulating and memorable way. I think we all managed that.