Then the cracks started to appear in the form of deregulation of marketing and advertising, although most firms continued blissfully unaware of the ramifications of failing to adopt this new approach. The bigger firms didn’t waste much time and embraced brand building enthusiastically but the “high street” firms tended to watch from the sidelines as marketing “really wasn’t their thing”, a bit grubby and unprofessional. Anyway, how could a small firm build a brand?
Fortunately for them most clients retained the mindset of inertia and the British aversion to upsetting the apple cart, even though some smaller firms were waking up and starting to “smell the coffee”.
But then slowly but surely the internet came along and insidiously the landscape changed and is continuing to change to the point that fairly soon many firms will no longer recognise it.
Now the choice is stark. Adapt or die a death by a thousand cuts, slowly and painfully.
If you think this is scaremongering, remember that we talk to firms of all shapes and sizes on a daily basis and we know what is keeping practitioners awake at night. It’s not a pretty scenario but it is playing out across the country from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
Too many firms have older clients who probably grew their business in lockstep with their accountant growing his or her practice, creating strong personal ties and never countenancing a change of accountant. Relationships aside many of these small businesses can’t be bothered with change and are happier to leave it to the next generation, which is exactly where the trouble starts.
The kids don’t care for what their father or mother held dear – they are now in charge and want a cutting-edge tech-savvy accountant, exactly what you are not!
So, you see, there is no longer a choice whether or not to take the fight to the opposition, you have to be proactive and look to the future by starting today if you want to maximise the value in your practice, something you may have built with 30 years of hard grind and long hours. Simply maintaining the status quo doesn’t work, you have to strive to maximise the value.
As with so much in today’s world there is no middle way, simply 2 extremes.