Improve Practice
Performance

You do great work. That’s a given. You wouldn’t have achieved the success you have without that. But within your success to this point also lies the seeds of your shortcomings.

You’ve come this far because you are skilled in your profession and have been able to build a good reputation with your clients. But try as you may, you can’t take your business to the next

Your sales have hit a plateau and no matter what you try it seems like you’ve hit a barrier that you can’t break through.

One day you have more work than your team can handle. But before long, you are wondering how you can keep everyone busy, because somehow, you need to fill the pipeline again.

As you look back over the past few years, you see that your financial results have been very similar and the growth you hoped for just didn’t happen.

At the same time, clients seem to be growing more and more demanding and giving you less opportunity to use your talents and expertise to make a difference.

As they try to commoditise what you do, you are pressured into shaving your fees or trying to get projects done in impossible time frames. As a result, the pressure grows. Not just for you, but everyone in your business suffers as well.

You care about the people on your team and want them to have a satisfying career, ideally helping you to build your practice. Maybe you see the possibility of one or more of them taking over management of your business in the future. But you are also frustrated at times when the most talented ones leave, having decided to move on for greater opportunities that exist in a larger firm.

It seems like you take one step forward and two steps back sometimes. The people who are still with you are competent but the stars you need don’t stick around to help you fulfil your dreams for the future.

You have to face the fact that growing a business is challenging. The stark reality for many owners of professional service businesses is that their dreams of wealth and lifestyle freedom are far from being fulfilled. Instead of attaining the rewards of wealth and freedom that were their initial objectives, most struggle through years of disappointment and frustration.

Small and medium-size businesses, whether in professional services or otherwise, are almost always built on a faulty foundation.

Most businesses are set up with the owner (or owners) in the hub, with everything that happens in the business revolving around them. This makes it almost impossible to build a successful business, because the business is limited by the owner’s capability to keep growing the business without losing control.

If you’re finally ready to move past the frustration of being stuck at a revenue plateau and are ready to take hold of the enormous amount of prosperity and freedom that’s currently out of your reach (because your business isn’t set up to run at the level you want) then this page contains the most important message you will ever read.

Your Future

A few months from today your business could be no better off than it is right now. Or you could be well on your way to becoming wealthier with greater freedom. You decide.

The way most professional practices are run is shown in the following table.

In contrast, the most successful firms operate according to a number of principles I will call “best practice.”

Let’s look at the differences…

Traditional Practice
Best Practice

Practice based on service and transactions

Practice based on Value and Relationship

Range of services as offered by most competitors

Focused specialization on area of excellence that can lead into other services at higher level

Service seen by client as a necessary evil

Service is a valuable contribution to excellence in performance

Service is regarded as an unwanted cost

Service is regarded as a beneficial investment

Not selective about who to take on as client

Select high potential clients who match business objectives, philosophies and values

Charge fees based on time/cost

Charge fees based on value of service

High level of debtors – annual fees are often carried for many months in debtors ledger -high costs of recovery and disruption to cash flow

Low level of debtors – many fees paid in advance or on completion of service, fees paid on monthly basis by automatic payment

Work completion highly dependent on principal or partners.

Work completed by others with minimal input from principal or partners.

Workflow planning and timing of service provision is reactive, driven by when client brings work in.

Workflow planning and timing of service provision is driven by proactive marketing and client relationship management.

Practice is characterized by a large gap in experience and expertise between senior people (principal or partners) and inexperienced juniors, with succession options negligible.

Staff experience levels across the range, with reasonably experienced sub-partner levels to support principal or partners. Also utilise effective alliances with strategic alliance partners for service delivery.

Practice operation creates high stress, low morale, high staff turnover, low job satisfaction.

Practice operation generates enjoyment, high morale, low staff turnover, high job satisfaction.