By Margaret Fitzsimons, Director, Trans4mation
So…….only 3 more sleeps until it is 2016. You have had a wonderful Christmas. Way too much food and drink. And now you are sitting back, contemplating what the New Year will have in store for you. Not just on a personal level, but for your business. You have been thinking lately that you really need to do some work ON your business and not just IN it, but life is so busy!
If your New Year’s Resolution is for your business to thrive in 2016, book out three or four hours in your diary and contemplate the following with your best brainstorming buddy:
- Ask yourself whether you are running a practice or a business. Answer this honestly. The firms who are the most successful focus on being a business, first and foremost.
- Consider how practice will change over the next five to ten years. Consider the impact of technology and globalisation and how the industry may be disrupted by new players. Think about different business models which may threaten your current business model. Determine what you think your future business model should be. Don’t be scared to think outside the square – that is how Uber was created! Be a disruptor if you can.
- Look at where you want your practice to be based, which geographical areas you want to service and what services you want to provide. Remember, technology is going to threaten the current focus on geographical service provision so start thinking further afield now before another provider tries to snaffle your clients.
- Determine what your point of difference is. Why are you different to any other practitioner offering a similar service? Now, come on, you can do better than ‘we are highly skilled and we provide excellent service’!
- Document your business development plans for the year. Are you using digital marketing to your advantage? Is your website optimised for search engines? Do you have a significant personal network? How can you improve your referral networks? If you don’t have a formal marketing strategy, now is the time to get one. Get an expert to help if you can’t do it yourself.
- Look at your staff structure. Are the right people sitting in the right chairs on the bus? If not, what is your optimum structure and how will you achieve it? If someone or a group of people are holding you back, do something about it. Who is actually driving the bus? Without a competent leader, nothing will be achieved.
- Do you have the right KPIs in place for your staff? If you want to improve your overall net profitability, stop rewarding staff based on traditional revenue measures and start rewarding them on profitability measures. Think about implementing Cube Reporting which focuses on individual, team, location and specialisation profit contribution.
- Have you got the right technology in place? Are you using the Cloud? Is your practice virtual? Do you have automated workflow and precedent systems in place? If you don’t have this, your competitors are already streets ahead in the game.
- Review your pricing policies and mechanisms. The world is moving to value and fixed fee billing. Are you going to be left behind?
- Are you efficient? Have you implemented a 'paper-light' office? Have you considered using offshore processing? Many of your competitors have been doing these things for a while now.
- If this all seems too hard, work out the one initiative that will improve your business and work on that. It is better to do one thing well than do nothing at all. Remember that story about the tortoise?
Once you have worked out what you want to achieve, develop a project plan which details what needs to be done, by whom and when. Make sure you regularly assess your implementation progress and measure your successes. Most importantly, celebrate all of your wins when you achieve them.
May 2016 be a prosperous year for you. All the best!
About our Guest Blogger
Margaret has extensive change management experience and has proven her business acumen by assisting the professional practices she has managed to achieve significant growth in both turnover and profitability.