The term BHAG has been around a while. It was Jim Collins in his landmark book “Good to Great” who first coined the term. A Big Hairy Audacious Goal!
The late JFK had one in 1962. He said “by the end of this decade we’re going to put a man on the moon and safely bring him home”. That BHAG inspired a nation and many parts of the world.
What is your inspiring BHAG? It needs to inspire you, your team and (depending on what it is) your clients. It could be revenue – $XM in revenue in 10 years. It could be client centric – a Billion dollars of wealth in our client base. It could be service/client centric - every client to be financially retired.
Whatever it is it needs to be grand, amazing and inspiring.
Many Accounting firms I meet are just existing by default (not by design) and they have no goals or they have a SMAG…Small Minded Ambivalent Goals.
It’s your business - design it the way you want.
Today marks the 8th Anniversary of my current business. It started in my home study in November 2005. In the first month I did the grand sum of $2k in revenue! I have made a profit every year since inception – so pretty happy about that.
What started out as humble beginnings with no clients now we have clients in 40 countries (served by 20 team members in 4 locations) and have interacted with thousands of Accounting firms along the way. Providing a whole range of coaching, training, information products, online tools and software applications.
It’s been an exciting 8 years (and not all plain sailing) and I want to thank all the suppliers, team members, alliances, supporters and especially the clients for accepting the (sometimes) whacky ideas, the prodding the cajoling and the information we put forth. Happy Birthday to us – here’s to the next 8 and more!
I get to meet many people who say they are ‘life long learners’. Yet upon closer inspection they are not really exercising their muscle between the ears. I find most people in the quandary of ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result’.
I have a view that someone has done what I want to do. So I want to find them and learn from them. It might come in the form of a book, a seminar, a podcast, a blog, an article, a report, a webinar, a phone call or a meeting. I don’t care where the person is I want to find them and learn from them.
When I was 17 (44 now) my father was subscribing to marketing newsletters and ‘audio tapes’ from Paul Dunn & Chris Newton or Results Corporation fame. I snapped them up and self taught business and marketing. Since then I have devoured hundreds of manuals, tapes, CD’s, DVD’s, seminar notes from educators from around the world. I attend around 10 seminars a year right now of all different types.
When I was 18 I was hitchhiking from Brisbane to Dubbo (about 1200 kms) and I was picked up by a horse trainer in a run down car. In the middle of the night he said I had to go out and buy the book ‘Think & Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. As soon as we arrived I bought it that day. Since then I have absorbed over 500 business or personal development books. I have 20 in my ‘to read’ pile and just ordered another 5 today.
I remember when I went to the USA to meet (now friend) Alan Weiss. He was heralded as the guru of Value Pricing. So I hopped on a plane, attended his 5 day course and learned from the master. When I got home I send Alan a note with my credit card details and said ‘send me every product you have’. A week or so later a large box arrives with CD’s, DVD’s, Books, Manuals etc. I now have over 140 hours of this material on my devices.
I left school when I was 16. Formal learning in a country town was not my thing. I am self taught with the battle scars of business as I implement what I learn. Along the way I have even invented some of my own ideas!
The last time I made 12 predictions for the profession was in 2010. They have all happened or happening! The market has changed and after copious amounts of research I am predicting 12 critical changes to the profession in the coming years. Here goes…
- Compliance will (already) become a commodity service that will be sold by the most efficient, lowest cost provider
- Around 90% of businesses will embrace cloud technology as their Accounting system – approx. 10% now
- Around 90% of Accounting firms will embrace cloud technology as their operating system – approx. 3% now
- Business coaches and consultants will embrace cloud financial analysis tools that enhance their credibility and take business away from Accountants
- Compliance clients will become more transient as their data is light and more portable – gone will be the local Accountant with 80% of clients in a 20km radius
- Cheap and very smart offshore labor and offshore based Accounting firms will process the majority of ‘back office’ based compliance for local Accounting firms and local businesses – the local firm will be customer facing and everything else will be done offshore
- The price of statutory compliance (what we know today) will plummet by more than 50% of the current price
- Marketing and Sales skills will be learned and implemented in the majority of Accounting firms
- Young people will not be attracted to traditional ‘staid & boring’ Accounting firms – instead opting for technology savvy and value adding Accounting firms
- Time based billing (the archaic hangover from the last century) will be replaced by packaged services with fixed fees – hopefully the fixed fee is based on your value contribution
- With compliance revenue plummeting Value Added Services will make up more than 80% of the revenue of an Accounting firm
- Clients who have been yearning for additional services will finally be served properly by their professional advisers
You may believe, you may not. You may be seeing and feeling them already. Your firm will need to adapt to capitalize on these. There is a tsunami of change happening. You can get wiped out or you can learn how to surf!
What are your views on my predictions?
Getting to the ‘right’ price is one of the major conundrums facing all Accountants and anyone who sells intellectual property and information products and services.
Certainly ‘time based billing’ does not even come close to valuing what you know and valuing the impact your IP has on your client. After years being involved in creating and selling information products and services (around $170M in sales so far) I think there are just 3 things to consider.
- Your value belief – how you value yourself and what you know
- Your value contribution – the difference you make to your client when they implement what you know
- Your clients value perception – the way you articulate your value to your client
If you have high value belief and high value contribution yet you do not explain to your client the impact you are making (area 1 in diagram) then you will not get to the right price. If you have high value contribution and you explain it well yet your self belief is low (area 2 in diagram) then you will not get to the right price. If you have explained your value to your client and you have high value belief yet what you do doesn’t really make a difference (area 3 in diagram) then you will not get to the right price.
The objective is to grow your self belief, make a difference to your client, explain eloquently the difference you are making and you’ll get somewhere close to the right price – area 4 in the diagram.
And the biggest thing in pricing IP based services/products to remember….the only right price is just before NO!