In case you missed my last post: Death by hourly rate. As we get faster and better at what we do—because of accrued knowledge, acquired experience, and aggregated technology—we are able to accomplish far more … at a higher level … in less time. But increases in our productivity do not equate to equivalent increases in our hourly rates. Because of this, hourly billing almost always leaves someone feeling screwed. If not us, then our clients.
On to this week: It’s happening. The economy is s-l-o-w-l-y coming back to life. We’ve gone from crashing to pivoting to rebounding. How have you spent your shelter-in-place time? Are you going to come out of this wishing you had spent time developing or sharpening some skills that would make you a better small-firm practitioner? Well, you likely still have time before the next normal begins.
As I write this, I find myself in the middle of an eight-week program learning how to create a different kind of newsletter. (More on that in a future newsletter.) I’ve downloaded and read books on Search Engine Optimization and pricing strategies. I joined a coaching group that meets virtually for 90 minutes twice a month (even coaches get coaching).
As I think about the BVFLS professionals I know and work with, here are 5 saw-sharpening ideas you might want to consider.
#1 – Improve your writing
For all that is holy, I beg you to do this.
I can’t tell you how many valuation reports I have reviewed in my report review service. Not all reports are poorly written … not even most … but too many are. And there is no excuse for that when a client is paying $10k-plus for the product.
If you don’t like writing—if you don’t have the inclination to hone your writing—you’ve chosen the wrong profession.
Resource: 30 Days to Better Business Writing by Matthew Stibbe
#2 – Hire a virtual assistant
Of course you can’t do it all.
Why did you ever think you could?
So hire a VA to do all the things you hate doing, don’t want to do, or shouldn’t be doing because they are outside your zone of core competence. And the cost? No cost … the VA will pay for herself with the freed-up time that allows you to generate more revenue.
[Also, I just did a 4-part series of posts on this topic in the Practice Development ROUNTDTABLE group, complete with worksheets on how to outsource. Join the Facebook group, read the posts, and get the worksheets!]
#3 – Learn the soft skills of buyer psychology and pricing
There is an oft-forgotten middle step between attracting leads and delivering services. It’s converting prospects into clients!
Too often, I see failures at this juncture because BVFLSers don’t understand what is going through the mind of the buyer or how to price their services. Taking the time to master these soft skills will improve your close rate and give you more opportunities to demonstrate your incredible technical skills.
Resource: Implementing Value Pricing by Ron Baker
#4 – Start an email newsletter
Not a blog … a newsletter. Though there is a way to do both with little/no extra work (and I know that because that is what I do).
If you’re not comfortable writing, there are other avenues. One of my coaching clients has decided a branded YouTube channel is his best way to go.
Remember, having Authority in a practice area or industry niche is your competitive advantage. A newsletter allows you to communicate your unique perspective on the subject matter.
#5 – Create a minimum viable service
Many BVFLSers act like they are one-trick ponies. If there is no need for that one-trick (e.g., a business valuation), there is no need for them.
Except BVFLSers aren’t one-trick ponies.
There are several, separate minimum viable services we could unbundle from the core valuation service. Like quality of earnings analyses, comparisons to relevant industry peer groups, and business sellability scores. We just never had to unbundle these services before and figure out a way to market and sell them.
Don’t say you don’t have the time to do this.
There probably won’t be another best time to do this.
Until the next crisis.
In which case you will be wishing that you made the time during this crisis!
Hit REPLY and let me know your thoughts!
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Don’t be good. Be great.
PS – Whenever you are ready, here are 4 ways I can help you build/grow your BVFLS practice:
1. Join Practice Development ROUNDTABLE
It’s a new Facebook community for BVFLS professionals who are collaborating on how to turn the practices they have into the practices they want.
2. Download this Find Your Niche infographic
The riches are in the niches, as they say. But what’s missing is a process that can help you identify your niche. This infographic is the missing process.
3. Take a free Practice Self-Assessment
I have 10 quick questions, and your answers will help you get a sense of how well your practice is working for you.