Last week I was running a weekly group coaching call for my coaching & mastermind clients…
It’s our weekly touch base to share ideas, track progress and help each other get unstuck on anything that’s holding us back.
And one my clients, Neil, from a 2-partner practice in Edinburgh shared the following challenge:
“Rudi, we don’t spend enough time on our monthly directors’ meetings, they feel like an afterthought. What can we do?”
And this question prompted a great discussion around why monthly directors’ meetings are so important and how other practices are making sure they happen, month in, month out, with great success.
The first thing that we agreed on is that the name ‘monthly directors’ meetings’ probably isn’t the best thing to call them. After all, why should it just be for the directors and/or senior team members.
Get your whole team involved and call it a ‘monthly strategy meeting’.
So what are some of the reasons why they don’t happen as often as they should (or even at all)?
As accountants, we’re all busy people.
All guilty of spending too much time working IN our business and not enough working ON our business.
So that means that we often treat strategy meetings (or any team meeting) as a distraction, an afterthought to do if we have the time.
That’s not a good thing.
The result of this scattergun approach is that we miss important details that impact performance and profits…
Why You Should Be Holding Monthly Strategy Meetings.
Are you aware of everything going on in your practice, right now?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the honest answer like most practice owners, and even business owners, is no.
That’s ok, how could you be?
When we’re all so busy working in our business, it’s impossible to be on top of everything.
That being said, it’s vital that you set aside time every month to do just that.
This one monthly meeting enables you to identify issues that could influence:
- Retention rates.
Because, after all…
Solving a problem when you know what it is, that’s easy.
Solving a problem that you don’t know exists, that’s impossible.
What Should You Discuss At Your Monthly Meetings?
In short, whatever you think needs discussing!
However, there are specific topics that you should look to discuss in every strategy meeting.
Good issues to discuss include:
- Long and short-term goals.
- Marketing strategy + results.
- Major client service issues.
When deciding what to discuss, remember…
These meetings aim to identify issues that impact growth, profitability and client retention; make sure what you discuss reflects that aim.
Let’s take a look at each of these examples, and understand why discussing them monthly is so important…
Long and Short-term Goals.
Goals are powerful.
Goals focus the attention of everyone on the achievement of essential business targets. However, it’s just as important to review previous performance against your goals as it is to set new goals to reach as a company.
Knowledge is power after all. And knowledge allows you to identify the areas that are underperforming and need your attention.
It’s important to remember that setting goals are not enough on their own to ensure success.
You must take action.
However, without goals, you’re just ‘winging it’.
It’d be like driving without any idea of how to get where you’re going, which is not the brightest idea you’ll ever have…
KPIs are used to determine if you’re meeting those short and long-term goals as a business.
If goals are your destination, then KPIs are the GPS system (or map, if you’re old school) that’s going to lead you there.
Some examples of KPIs:
- Number of new leads generated
- Client satisfaction score
- Average fee per client
- Turnaround time (more for compliance work)
When it comes to KPIs, there’s no real limit on what you can consider using as a KPI.
If it’s important to you, and you believe it’s crucial to your business development, then include it.
Just make sure that you’re not tracking too many and suffering KPI overload.
Too often, people think of KPIs as the numbers. The finances.
Think outside the box and take time to look at measurements that aren’t financial: client satisfaction surveys are a great example.
Often, it’s the non-financials that give the most insight and allow you to improve all-around performance the most.
New clients are the lifeblood of any accountancy practice. Of any business.
Marketing is the act of attracting those new clients to you and your marketing strategy is the combination of techniques and channels you use to do that.
Despite this, many practices have no coherent marketing strategy at all.
Most throw together content with no clear message or voice.
What amazes me most is their amazement when it doesn’t work as well as hoped!
Use your monthly director’s meetings to:
- Create a marketing strategy (if you don’t already have one.)
- Analyse the performance of your marketing.
- Plan your marketing for the following month.
Do this every month, and it won’t be long before you see real, measurable, results.
Major Client Service Issues.
There’s a saying you’ve probably heard, it goes, “the best form of marketing is word-of-mouth.”
Whether or not you agree with that statement entirely, there’s no doubting the power of word-of-mouth when it comes to winning new business.
And it’s especially important in an industry like accountancy where the quality of service is so vital to the client.
However, issues with client service affect more than just your new business.
With client retention so crucial to meeting goals, the earlier you identify and deal with client service issues, the less they’ll impact on your repeat business.
You’ll also be able to quickly identify any lack of knowledge in your staff and correct it with a personal development plan.
Making Sure Your Monthly Strategy Meetings Happen
By now, you know the benefits of having a monthly strategy meeting.
You know what to discuss and why.
The first part of making it happen is easy…
I’m willing to bet you have some form of email system – whether Gmail or Outlook – that you use within your business. I’d be amazed if you didn’t!
Just create an event on your calendar and make sure everyone knows how crucial these meetings are to the success of your business.
Set them to repeat every single month, same day, same time.
The second part of making it happen is (potentially) not as easy…
Only you can make these meetings as important as they should be. If you avoid them or cancel them, then it’s easy for your colleagues to do the same.
You understand why they’re important, so show it, and make them happen every single month.
Do that, and I guarantee you’ll see rapid improvement across the board in your practice.