A new survey takes the pulse of the BVFLS industry

Last week’s conversation was about making 2017 your best year ever with coaching. And I am here to support you if making that happen revolves around being more efficient and effective in your practice development and practice management efforts. So much so that, only for the second time, I am opening up a new coaching circle for people who are motivated to make some game-changing moves. If you want to learn more, email me or schedule a call with me.

On to this week. Someone else is trying to help make 2017 your best year ever. After IBISWorld issued a report downgrading the outlook of our BVFLS industry, Ron Everett, CBA, CVA of Business Valuation Center, LLC was motivated to put together his own 15-page research paper to find out why. I got a sneak look at the report a few weeks ago and thought it was very well done. You want to read it.

And if you’re new here, welcome aboard. This is what we do!

Here’s something I found last week: 7 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Next Trade Show, Event, Or Conference.

Many of you may not be attending any such affairs until after busy season, but when you do Peter Shankman’s tips can raise your game. And as Peter says: They work SO WELL, simply because no one ever bothers to do them!

If you want Ron’s research paper, all you need to do is complete a short, 6-question survey that aims to take the pulse of our BVFLS industry. You can do that here. Even cooler is that after completing the survey you will get a link to monitor the ongoing results as more practitioners answer the questions, along with the research paper.

Here are the questions and my summary of the results so far (as of late Friday afternoon) with 121 responses already counted. This is already 71% of the 170 responses BV Resources received in its survey for its biennial Business Valuation Firm Economics & Best Practices Guide that I reported on in my January 9 post).

Q1: As a valuation professional, do you feel it is easier or harder to succeed than 5 years ago?

By an overwhelming 2/3 to 1/3, practitioners feel it’s getting harder to succeed.

To me, it would be interesting to know what percentage of the 2/3 is made up of valuation generalists and what percentage of the 1/3 is made up of valuation specialists.

Q2: In the past 5 years: has your revenue base been increasing, decreasing or holding steady?

Perhaps parroting the results of the first question, 2/3 of practitioners say their revenue base is holding steady or decreasing; only 1/3 say their revenue base is increasing. This is in sharp contrast to the BV Resources’ survey that reported 96% of firms saying their 2016 BV practice revenues will be the same or better than 2015.

Again, I wonder what impact of being a generalist versus a specialist has on this matter.

Q3: From your experience, which of the following 5 factors is your biggest barrier to growth.

Price competition (30%) and finding trained staff (22%) were the top two vote getters, followed by regulatory changes that reduce required valuation services (18%) and more competition (15%).

As I’ve written about before, it’s difficult to get higher fees from our clients if they don’t perceive (or aren’t convinced of) the value we create for them. And this is because we all (including me) do too much compliance work. There are other, more lucrative valuation worlds out there – see the research paper.

Q4: What are the biggest impediments, challenges, or frustrations you’re facing, in building your practice?

You can choose more than one response, but time (41%), marketing and sales (32%), and qualified staff (28%) are leading the pack.

Building a practice is not about getting more clients – it’s about getting better clients. So I think focusing on fewer client/referral relationships that generate higher fees instead of more commodity service engagements could solve some of that time issue.

Q5: Approximately, how many hours per week do you spend on business development – marketing & promoting your business online & offline?

Echoing the results of surveys we performed in Practice Builder Academy, 30% of practitioners spend 1-2 hours a week on business development; at the other end of the spectrum, 13% of practitioners spend more than 10 hours a week. And a full 10% say they do no marketing and promotion.

As always, I wonder what activities constitute business development for different practitioners. Also, the time spent is a double-edged sword: as you build your practice and grow your expertise, you may find you need to invest fewer hours per week in those activities.

Q6: What is your primary channel for generating new business?

Not surprising, attorneys (42%) are the primary referral source for our work, followed by referrals from other current or past clients (23%). Referrals from CPAs (12%) and personal networking (11%) are running neck and neck.

Seems to me everyone is chasing attorneys. Might be that a path less traveled could lead to some good results for your practice.

In real life

To help our industry learn and grow, I encourage all of you to take the survey if you have not already done so. At the very least, you may feel you are not alone in the hurdles you face as you build or re-invent your practice. And the above survey makes it pretty clear there are many having practice development issues.

So what

It may be difficult to discuss your challenges with a close colleague (who wants to admit to a friend that things could be going better). But frank discussions among perfect strangers can be a tonic for the soul. This is why my coaching circles work.

The circle members are a generous sounding board for each other. And because there is a comradery that is difficult to find elsewhere, we help each other with the shift from making excuses to creating results with only the best intentions in mind.

If you’d like me to help make 2017 your single best year of your practice yet, I’d love to work with you. To get started, all you have to do is email me or schedule a call with me.





Action Items:

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