In case you missed last week: Are you outsourcing? If not, should you be looking into it? I believe the answer is yes … especially if you are in a small firm that has not built a protective moat (Warren Buffet speak) around a specific practice area or industry niche.
On to this week: For years, we’ve all had our relatively staid, predictable practices. Change has been mostly related to progress in valuation approaches, methods, and procedures. But I see changes looming that will uproot the landscape of what we do and how we do it.
And if you’re new here, welcome aboard. This is what we do!
If you are struggling to keep your marketing costs down, you are likely only reaching the kind of prospects who are struggling to keep their service costs down.
Ok, maybe blowing up your practice mushroom-cloud style is a bit of hyperbole. But we can get consumed by putting out today’s fires – so we can fight tomorrow’s fight – that we forget there is a tomorrow after tomorrow.
So we need to be forward-looking … and be prepared for a time when the past is not a proxy for what we can expect in the future. I think we are coming up on such a period of time.
Look, what we can achieve in our practices, and how we achieve it, will always be affected by the forces that influence the need for and delivery of our BVFLS services. Past changes have, frankly, not been all that tumultuous … notwithstanding the big increase in the exemption that has affected estate/gift valuations.
But the future changes I see will have a more turbulent impact.
So are you prepared for the changes our profession will see in, say, the next three years? Changes directly caused, or indirectly influenced, by:
- Accounting firm (and BV department) mergers
- Big data valuation solutions making greater inroads
- Fee compression
- Global (or at least more national) competition
- Increasing importance of IP valuation
- Long-tailed keyword search requests for experts like us on devices like Alexa
- Millennials (you struggle with them as employees … wait till they become clients)
- Prospects with companies having international operations (and international risk)
- Report commoditization (not the service, the report)
- Retirement of baby boomer industry icons and thought leaders
- Specialization of services
- Unified valuation standards (ok, maybe this one is a reach!)
Yeah, three years is a long time down the road.
Until it’s not … until it’s here.
Do not conflate change only with risk.
Change also creates opportunity for those who prepare for it.
Of course, not all of the things on my list will affect you … but some are bound to.
And how soon?
And will the practice you have now exist in three years?
We encourage business owners to take the time to work on their companies.
Are you taking the time to work on your practice?
When is the last time you held a strategic planning retreat for your firm?
In real life
Want some guidance? Follow other professional service firms, e.g., in accounting and law, to see how they identify and adapt to change. (I frequently see articles addressing this subject in Accounting Today.) Then answer these questions:
- What is the 3-year vision for your practice?
- What are the 1-year goals you need to complete to achieve your vision?
- What are the quarterly projects you need to complete to achieve your annual goals?
- What are the weekly tasks you need to complete to achieve your quarterly projects?
– If you like what I write about, tell a colleague.
– If something resonates and you want to reach out directly, email me.
– If you think we share common interests, connect with me on LinkedIn.
– If you want a sense of how well your practice is working for you, take this Practice Self Assessment.