Last weekend was an unusual one for me…
The kids were staying at their grandparents which meant that me and my wife Fiona had a relatively quiet Saturday night in to ourselves.
So, we decided to sit down with a bottle of wine and stick a film on.
And as we were flicking through the channels I spotted a film that I hadn’t seen for many years…
Now for those of you who haven’t seen Jerry Maguire it’s one of Tom Cruise’s better films where he plays a successful sports agent who has a ‘life altering epiphany’ about how he wants to work with his clients.
You see at the time he had a long list of pretty good clients, but the industry was perceived to be dishonest and clients weren’t always put before profits.
So, he decided on a new purpose.
He decided that he wanted to work with fewer clients, so that he could produce better quality and help them on a more personal level.
And this got me thinking…
Recently I’ve been speaking to a number of different practice owners and they seem to be having similar ‘life altering epiphany’s’.
They’ve decided that they no longer want a few hundred compliance-only clients that they see once or twice a year.
Instead, they want to cut their client numbers down and focus on a better quality of client where they deliver a much more frequent and personal client service.
But what is a ‘better quality of client’?
In this case, these clients seem to fit the following criteria:
- Business owners who are looking to do more than simply remain compliant
- People with an openness to using new tech and being on the cloud
- Willing to uptake a range of additional services (like the ones outlined on this infographic here)
Now these aren’t all of the criteria, I’m sure there’s lots more. But from the conversations that I’ve had these seem to be the ones that are most common…
What are the benefits of choosing quality over quantity?
Some of the benefits of choosing to focus on reducing the quantity of clients and focus on a ‘better quality’ of client include:
- Stronger, more personal relationships with clients which in turn will safeguard them and lead to increased client retention
- Increased client retention which means less time needs to be spent winning new clients and more time can be spent servicing existing clients
- Increased revenues from the uptake of additional services (many of which are quite profitable)
- Greater sense of purpose in helping these clients with a greater part of their lives
But does focusing on increasing quality necessarily mean that you limit the quantity?
The issue generally with increasing quantity is that the quality (especially when we’re talking about a highly personal client approach) usually takes a hit.
This means that your ability to deliver (or not deliver) the same higher quality service to clients will ultimately depend on the resources that you have available to facilitate scale so that quality doesn’t take a hit.
- Do you have the right systems (tech) and processes in your practice to manage an influx of new clients whilst maintaining the same or better level of personal client service?
- Do you have processes in place for recruiting new team members into your organisation and ‘indoctrinating’ them into your client care culture and way of thinking?
- Do you have the cash in the bank to fund an investment into the systems and people outlined in the 2 points above?
There are other points to consider, but by focusing on those 3 you should be in a good position to look to scale your existing operation without taking too much of a knock-on quality.
Which direction are you taking your accountancy practice in?
So, the question that you have to ask yourself is, which direction are you taking your practice in?
Are you going down the route of higher client numbers, focused on delivering an efficient and profitable compliance service with some clients opting for additional services?
Or, are you going down the Jerry Maguire route of fewer clients, but each client is better quality (in terms of the criteria outlined above) and delivering an even more personal client service?
As I mentioned above, there’s no right or wrong answer, the choice is yours to make.