“If you’re ever lucky enough to be successful in what you choose to do, don’t ever believe your own hype, and remember it could all stop tomorrow.
Do whatever you can do to the best of your ability. Take the job seriously, but not yourself. And most of all, be nice to work with.”
Last month was awards season (congratulations to all the winners and finalists) and, as I often get asked to judge accountancy awards, I thought I’d share some hints for those thinking of entering next year.
- Just like in exams you need to RTQ, read the question, and answer what is actually being asked.
- Evidence your claims. If you say something you should have evidence to support it.
- Do not just cut and paste your marketing blurb or let the marketing department fill in the application. Judges need facts not spin.
- If you have the money it is worth using an experienced copywriter who will be able to use appealing words. But do make sure they follow points 2 and 3.
- If you don’t enter you’ll never know if you might have won.
A bit of discussion on social media this week on whether we will go back to handshakes.
I’ve been informed that handshakes spread more germs than a simple kiss so what do you think we’ll do?
- Elbow touches
- A bow of some sort
- Something else
It’s less important what we do than that everybody knows what is the norm. The rules of etiquette were originally set down to avoid social awkwardness (those making people feel outsiders for not knowing the rules have completely missed the point).
Can we start deciding on the new business greeting?
As you may know I do a lot on social media. Whilst I may not follow the advice of experts I do get business this way, and last year I was ranked 4th in ICAEW’s “social media influencer” table.
Here’s my talk on how to use social media to punch above your weight
But the thing that you must do is BE THERE. People often ask for referrals online and I love to be able to recommend experts that I have worked with. It is very frustrating as it creates a negative impression when that expert does not pick up the referral for a week or more. If you can’t be online every day then do set up notifications.
If you’re fortunate to have a brilliant team it can be quite hard when a member of staff leaves.
Assuming that they’re leaving for the right reasons and that you’ve already wished them well, what can you do for your own business?
Treat this as an opportunity to reorganise your own business.
- Don’t just recycle the original job ad but draw up the organisation chart that you need for the next three years based on necessary skills/tasks, not people.
- Add in the names of your existing team and note any additional training needs they may have for additional skills etc. in their new/enhanced roles.
- Draw up job descriptions for any gaps that can’t be filled by your existing team. This may mean that you now have two part time roles requiring completely different skillsets.
Recruiting isn’t always straightforward.
I’ve had a scenario when I was wasn’t able to recruit exactly the right replacement so what did we do?
We took on somebody with less experience who would grow into the role and dropped all of our D clients immediately to reduce the workload. (see ‘D is for Dross’ on how to do this D is for dross – Hudson Business Advice)
The new recruit flourished and far exceeded expectations. The salary saving almost offset the lost profit on clients who weren’t well suited to our practice. As our newbie gained experience we ended up with a streamlined business even better than before.
Plenty of people are dependent on caffeine so why don’t they take caffeine pills? They are legal after all. They don’t even drink instant coffee that can be made in … an instant.
Instead they prefer to pay exorbitant amounts and wait ages for a barista to perform their dark art. And, even to me, a tea drinker, it is an art. Some of the best baristas even manage a performance up to the standards of Tom Cruise behind the bar in Cocktail (if you’re too young to remember then the trailer is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUwj3OE2LM4 *heads-up to turn the sound down if you have little ones around*).
So then it’s not just the caffeine what are they paying for? It’s the added value of the taste and even the experience of the performance.
If you want to earn higher prices then what can you add over and above the purely functional?
This week’s tip is stolen from Andrew and Pete of Atomic. (Sorry guys but I can return it any time you like).
They are amongst my favourite marketing people and almost bounce out of the screen on their videos. But, like all of us, they have their bad days and shared how they coped with a particularly stressful period.
They each wrote down every single stressor that they could think of; even the little things. They then worked out one way of improving each of the items on their list. They didn’t try to make everything go away with a magic wand, but just went with one small improvement for each problem.
For more information on Atomic Marketing have a look at their new website
Some businesses were founded during a recession:
Disney, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Hudson Business Accountants and Advisers.
No matter how bad things are, we all have to do the right things in order to produce the best possible results:
- Build robust internal systems for maximum efficiency
- Recruit a service focused team to be the friendly human interface between these systems and clients
- Be clear on who our ideal customers are and focus our marketing accordingly
- Have consistent marketing and sales systems rather than relying on good luck
- Nurture our clients through the early days and reward loyalty
- Look after ourselves in order to look after everyone and everything else in the business (it’s why I write so much about self care)
- Look after our team (whether employees, subcontractors or outsourced) so that they will look after our business
- Get your pricing right
If you can manage through the tough times you will be a roaring success in the good times.
Small business owners usually do a mixture of working on and in their business. It’s very easy to get sucked into working IN your business to generate profits and income today but it is also essential to work ON your business to grow and generate future profits.
So how do we get the balance right?
I use a default diary to try and ensure that I get a good balance at the planning stage.
Monday: ON catch up on admin, clear my inbox, follow up leads.
Tuesday: IN Write, rehearse and record webinars and talks for the speaking and training parts of my business.
Wednesday: IN Minerva Accountants work.
Thursday: ON/IN Marketing and content writing for myself and third parties as I write content and articles for fintechs and accountants.
Friday: IN/ON Individual and group coaching for my various online programmes and then my own business development time, implementing ideas from books, webinars and conferences that I have attended.
Of course, in the real world, it isn’t easy to stick to this but having it in my diary in the first place means that I am more likely to move my work slots around than to cancel them completely.
On a Friday afternoon I like to plan out any remaining work in my diary so that I can hit the ground running on a Monday morning.
How do you structure your week?
No matter what age you are it is still worth thinking about how you will save for your retirement. And I don’t just mean saving your teeth.
There are 3 main ways that your business can fund your retirement:
1. Increase value of business for sale
If you have a valuable business this can be sold at the point of retirement to fund your new lifestyle. Your business value will increase if it is highly systemised and not dependent on you.
2. Systemise your business for residual income
If your business is highly systemised you can step out of it or just reduce your hours and still have a generous income. Whilst we often coach accountants and business owners who want to sell up, two of them have been so pleased with the process that they have actually decided not to sell yet as the revamped business operates so smoothly and takes less of their time. It’s a bit like doing up your house for sale and then deciding that you like it so much that you won’t move after all.
3. Increase profits to invest elsewhere
Some businesses have limited sale value as they will always be dependent on the expertise of the owner. In this case it makes more sense to increase your profits to invest elsewhere. Your company can pay into a third party pension scheme or SIPP very tax efficiently or you may prefer to take your profits out now, pay the tax and invest in property.
Whichever way you choose to fund or retirement, and whether you use us to help you to improve your business or not, please remember to take care of your teeth.