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Insights from the latest Mindshop global advisor training round with Dr Chris Mason

In good times clients can afford advisors’ help but in challenging times clients need assistance overcoming hurdles more than ever. But sometimes clients are their own worst enemy. As an advisor you need to adapt your approach, tailoring a specific solution to meet clients’ needs.

With over 40 years’ experience as a business advisor, Dr Chris Mason is in a unique position to provide insights to advisors into how to overcome typical issues faced by clients. During the latest global Mindshop advisor training round he shared a wealth of practical tips on the most common coaching challenges:

  1. How do I stop a client engagement stagnating or drifting?

There are many reasons why an engagement starts to flag, perhaps initial enthusiasm has waned, or an issue from left-field has derailed project implementation. Chris has some tips for ensuring business advisors stay relevant and clients stay engaged:

  • Manage the expectations of the client from the start. Indicate that some projects fail but identify and learn from the root causes and inject those learnings into the next project cycle
  • Demonstrate return on investment and boost the value you deliver by transferring your facilitation, problem solving or strategic planning skills to internal staff
  • Keep clients interested by injecting fresh thinking at every meeting
  • Ensure you have a common long-term goal with key stakeholders
  • Get your coaching cycles right, extending your availability through online coaching and asking, ‘What are the three key issues I can help you with over the next 90 days?’
  • Reset the client engagement annually to refresh intention and enthusiasm
  • Ensure you have a strong and trusting relationship with the client where you feel comfortable enough to challenge them without repercussions
  • Use the Mindshop process tool, developed specifically to free up drifting clients. It focuses on the identification and implementation of an initial small project to uncover and address the issues that may hamper the achievement of longer-term strategies.
  1. How do I build up resilience and confidence in a leader?

Lack of confidence in a leader to make the big decisions can hamper the roll out of necessary change and achievement of business goals. So how does Chris recommend you go about boosting self-belief in the leaders you’re working with?

  • Listen for indicators of the leaders’ belief system, poor beliefs lead to self-sabotaging behaviours and negative consequences
  • Find a project which, with your help, you are 100% certain they can complete (profit, growth, cashflow…). Successes, even small ones build confidence. How can you keep control of the project to ensure success?
  • Stop them biting off more than they can chew. If they are unable to a deliver on a deadline, halve what you ask them to do, and continue doing so until they achieve the goal
  • Use Now-Where-How tool to break down problems and give a clear goal, use the 8-week process to fix the problem, giving a sense of achievement to go on and tackle other issues
  • Use the new Mindshop Change Success Personal Model to help your clients identify how they rate against the nine factors that influence personal change success. Increasing a leaders’ chances of personal change success will alter the behaviours holding them back
  1. How do I fix blockers in a team?

There will always be a ‘problem child’ in a team who’s negative or actively blocking the progress of a change project. These individuals can be highly disruptive to the achievement of goals. Many businesses have failed to address problem children over the years and it’s now reflected in poor results and an inability to change. Chris’ tactics to deal with these negative influencers include:

  • Undertaking a 360-degree review of the team, this will highlight any blockers through the lens of their peers. Having this kind of solid data at your fingertips will diffuse any accusations of bullying or prejudice in the situation. Often you will find that someone will leave of their own accord prior to the completion of the review process.
  • When providing feedback to the blocker about the results of the review, ensure that there are at least two senior managers present to witness the conversation. Make sure you have updated all the stakeholders on the results first but send the results individually.
  • Ask questions of the blocker – where the results as you expected? What actions can be taken to address these issues or behaviours? What time frame can we set for rectifying these issues? What happens if we don’t fix them?

And some last thoughts on effective coaching of clients – four things to do differently this year

  1. Adjust your pace to suit the client in every engagement, having finely tuned emotional intelligence is critical
  2. Never take the first issue as a real one, ask ‘why?’
  3. Spend twice as long understanding the real issues, undertake individual interviews prior to a meeting
  4. Embed change success thinking into every problem solving or strategic engagement.

Want to learn more about addressing client challenges with the support of Mindshop? Contact your Mindshop regional manager here.

About Dr Chris Mason

After years as a successful independent consultant in the Australian market, Dr Chris Mason was approached by other advisors to learn the tools and processes he had developed and was using with such success. As the number of advisors grew, Chris founded Mindshop in 1994, the organisation now supports over 1,000 advisors and business leaders across 10 countries.

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Mindshop started 25 years ago as a family-run business with a philosophy of helping others. Fast-forward to today and a thriving business builds on these foundations, now supporting a membership base of 1,000 business leaders and advisors across 10 countries.

Founder Dr Chris Mason’s early experiences as a CEO thrown in the deep-end of a floundering business with little support or guidance was the impetus for Mindshop’s creation. Chris set up a framework for business leaders of all ages, so his experiences would not be repeated. Along with wife Julie, a consulting group was launched and as time progressed, other advisors wanted to learn the tools and methodologies created, resulting in a licensing model leading to the creation of Mindshop.

Thinking back on those early days, Chris comments ‘At the time I was inspired by the launch of Anita Roddick’s Body Shop and her mantra of ‘helping others is what I do’ so I set out to simplify the complexity in business and assist people achieve success through Mindshop.’

Six core values of best practice, value to others, continuous improvement, community contribution, authenticity and fun are still at the heart of Mindshop’s ethos, embraced not only by the senior leadership team but also staff, clients and suppliers.

Long-standing members form the core of the community and embrace the ‘value to others’ spirit, taking an active role in Mindshop’s charitable trust – Mindshop Excellence, a no cost student workplace learning program for Year 10 students.

More broadly, community spirit thrives across online forums and at multiple face-to-face conferences and workshops run annually across three continents.

Now headed by Chris and Julie’s son James, with daughter Emily in the role of Education and Learning Manager, Mindshop has evolved to reflect the changing business landscape and needs of both independent consultants and professional service firms. A pivotal point in Mindshop’s history was moving to an online learning and development platform – Mindshop Online for the delivery of courses, coaching support and community forum.

Mindshop today – some key statistics

  • 22,470 online coaching interactions in the last 12 months
  • 2971 online forum posts a year
  • 1088 members
  • 180 annual training events
  • 145 business tools
  • 30 business diagnostics
  • 20 online training courses
  • 6.5 years average advisor member tenure
  • 27% of advisor members involved for 10+ years

Looking to the future, James comments ‘I always believe that if you feel your education is finished, you’re finished, and this applies to Mindshop, we will always learn to find better ways of doing things to share with our members. The future is a very exciting place.’

For more information about joining Mindshop or to discuss your business advisory objectives contact a Mindshop regional manager here.
 

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Do your clients have plenty of great ideas to improve their business but continually fail to successfully implement them? It’s a common problem, with 70% of change projects failing to get off the ground.

What’s worse, unless clients pinpoint the reasons why projects are failing and address the root causes, they are likely to waste time and money going around the same loop in the future.

Mindshop’s change success diagnostic cuts through to the root cause of the problems, identifying where a client is likely to need remedial action before starting on a change project.

Developed in 2014 by Dr Chris Mason as part of his industrial organisational psychology PhD, the model identifies 3 main factors and 10 sub factors impacting on an organisation’s ability to change.

  1. Readiness (30%):
    How ready is the organisation and the people within that organisation to implement change? What support is being provided by the leadership team? How critical is the project and ‘what’s in it for me’ i.e how important is the change to the individuals involved?
  2. Capability (40%):
    The skills, people, training and resources required to successfully change both from an organisational and people perspective.
  3. Beliefs (30%):
    The overall attitude of the organisation in relation to the change, the perceived difficulty of the project, team attitude to the change and the opinion of ‘significant others’ whether internal peers or personal connections.

As industries, markets, economic circumstances and the world in general continues to change apace, it’s imperative that clients can quickly and effectively get change projects off the ground.

Business advisors are in a unique position to make substantial, positive impact on many of the change success factors identified in the model. Why not try the change success diagnostic with your clients and on your own organisation before you kick off a project to dramatically improve your chances of change success? Click here to try the change success diagnostic or send link to your clients.

Want more information about becoming a Mindshop member to access all the tools, online courses, thought leadership coaching support and online training available? Contact your local Regional Manager here.

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Mindshop surveyed advisors and business leaders from around the globe in late 2018 on the changing advisory landscape. Results revealed interesting insights from the coalface. Overall business advisors will continue to navigate significant challenges, but the year ahead will also deliver a wealth of opportunities for those with appropriate capabilities, an easily understood business model and high energy levels.

However, each of these opportunities requires an adaptation of approach and new skills to achieve cut-through with time poor and change-fatigued leaders.

The survey revealed that fast paced change, an uncertain economic climate and disruptive technologies continue to negatively impact business confidence. In many cases advisors’ clients (and often advisors themselves) are ‘waving a white flag’, asking for a slower pace of change. As such, advisors need to understand the change readiness of organisations and leaders, adapting their client engagements accordingly.

Reflecting on the ten insights for success from the survey will guide advisors on the strategies and training needs to embrace in 2019:

  1. Advisors have identified future trends and coaching clients as key training needs
    The top two training needs identified by advisors were understanding future trends and coaching clients more effectively. Both require grounding in the practical needs of time poor clients and application to a client’s unique circumstances.
  2. Referrals win the day again
    Referrals will again be the number one sales initiative for advisors in 2019. To ensure the effectiveness of this strategy, advisors should avoid an ad hoc approach, instead implementing strategies to accelerate referrals such as following the ten step Mindshop process.
  3. Ensure your firm is a cash cow
    In 2019, advisors are overwhelmingly predicting growth, however profitable growth is critical to ensure they can reinvest in technologies, quality people and new service lines. Entrepreneurial advisors are changing their mindset away from early retirement, instead exploring work/life balance, freeing up time to spend with family or using ongoing income to fund various investments.
  4. The importance of resilience for you and clients
    In a challenging market, advisors and business leaders need to be more resilient than ever. Avoid trying to be too perfect, instead embrace mistakes as learning opportunities and don’t strive to achieve 100% all the time. A positive mindset and beliefs will be an important focus for advisors and leaders alike.
  5. An evolution, not revolution in capabilities
    Like anything worth striving for in life, becoming a successful business advisor requires hard work and a mindset of continuous learning and improvement. But it doesn’t take long to get some quick wins. A dramatic change is not the answer, but instead small steps where advisors progressively learn new tools to build capabilities at a manageable rate will grow their confidence.
  6. Recognise your shackles
    Advisors have indicated they are clear on their strategy and have high levels of self-awareness but are being constrained by hidden ‘shackles’ holding them back from success. These could include: being happy with the status quo, lacking capability, anxiety and self-sabotaging behaviours.
  7. Leverage but stay human
    Adding ‘one-to-many’ service lines to your advisory offering such as online training courses, growth hub communities and profit improvement workshops delivers leverage but can amplify existing bad habits. Each service addition should instead automate or make more efficient as many tasks as possible, opening opportunities for the ‘human touch’ required for a high value client engagement.
  8. Capability builds confidence
    Advisory confidence is the result of developed skills, appropriate delivery models, the knowledge to tackle any client challenge and the ability to adapt through facilitation agility rather than being locked into a scripted approach. This means continuous learning and practise to hone skills.
  9. Capacity will be your hand brake on success
    ‘No time’ was the key issue identified in the survey of most concern to advisors. Having a strategy, vision and capabilities to be successful will all be for zero if advisors lack the capacity to deliver on new opportunities. Implement strategies such as smart technologies, improving poor work habits and retaining quality team members to increase capacity.
  10. Boost your probability of personal change success
    Avoid ‘groundhog’ years by understanding gaps in your personal change success, a theme that resonates across all the other nine insights from this survey. A new personal change success model created by Mindshop founder, Dr Chris Mason to accompany his Business Change Success model will be released in 2019 looking at how to boost your readiness, capability and beliefs for a specific change initiative.

In summary, advisors first need to demonstrate to prospective clients an understanding of their industries, current and future issues, their growth journey to date and readiness for change. A generic ‘off the shelf’ solution to achieve their goals rarely fits and a bespoke offering, tailored to the clients’ specific needs is instead required. Demonstration of capability to deliver a high value solution that meets the organisations’ unique needs, in a manner respectful to the pace of change they’re comfortable with will be key.

Advisors need to embrace innovative delivery models, training and coaching technologies to deliver agile engagements for a ‘just-in-time’ solution, saving the client and advisor valuable time in achieving their commercial and professional development goals. Importantly these innovative technologies should not be the primary focus, just a seamless element in the way an advisor does business.

Advisors should communicate an easily understood business advisory offering via their website and social media to create cut-through in a noisy and cluttered market. Success starts with a focus on advisors’ high performance in their own strategy, profitability, energy levels and capabilities to authentically lead by example.

The key business advisory opportunities for 2019 will be:

  • gaining clarity on strategies
  • assistance with implementation
  • training & development of teams
  • profit and growth improvement
  • leadership coaching

Which of these opportunities and ten insights for success will you embrace?

Good luck with your business advisory journey in 2019. To read the full Mindshop Business Advisory Insights for Success report click here.

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Four insights from the Mindshop Advisor Training Round 4, November 2018

Are you practising authentic authenticity as a business advisor?

Are you walking the walk or just talking the talk? A flashy marketing campaign to convince quality customers of your transparency and genuineness is doomed to failure. Mature clients have a well-honed radar and will disconnect if they sense even a whiff of disingenuousness.
So how do advisors convert clients no longer buying into spin? James Atkins and Jason Langford-Brown both long standing Mindshop members and successful business advisors delivered four key insights to achieve greater marketing cut through during the global Mindshop Advisor Workshop round this November.

1. Marketing for engagement

‘Experience is the new product and time is the new price’ was an idea that resonated throughout the workshops.
For professional service firms, providing a fantastic experience for customers across all touch points, from the sales process, onboarding and delivery through to billing is essential to generate referrals – still the strongest advisory lead generator. The key idea being that marketing is no longer the sole responsibility of a few key people and that clients are willing to pay for ease of engagement.

This whole-of-business approach to marketing requires thinking, acting and communicating from the inside out, starting with the organisation’s ‘why’. Ask your business some fundamental questions: ‘what is your purpose, your motivation and what you believe?’ This will frame ‘how’ you go about engaging with clients – your process, specific actions, and then finally framing the ‘what’ – what do you do?

2. The need to be more authentic

Balancing what you say, versus what others say about you is the key to authentic engagement. An advisory brand is an articulation of who the organisation is, what they believe and what they do, if it does not reflect the expectations and experience of customers and public reputation, you’re at risk of lacking authenticity. Do you know what clients are saying about you and your reputation? If not you need to ask both those you have won recently and maybe those you have lost?

The sweet spot of authenticity is the intersection of your brand, reputation and fit with customer needs.

To be authentic you need to be trusted, and to be trusted you need to be transparent.
Think of your marketing as a pyramid, from the basics of your website up to nurturing campaigns and sales engagement techniques. All these building blocks need to be authentic, aligning to your ‘why’ at each stage of the sales cycle and beyond. Here’s a practical tip – why not try harnessing the power of video, the shorter the better, using unscripted language to tell stories of how your customers have experienced success using your services?

3. Engaging through influence

B2B selling is complex, the likelihood of a purchase drops sharply when the number of decision makers involved increases. Today’s empowered customers are on average 57% of the way through their purchase decision by the time they engage a supplier . Therefore, engaging through influencing decision makers can be a powerful tool.
Advisors can implement the seven principles of persuasion to assist in the B2B sales process

1. Reciprocation – prospects will have a feeling of obligation if you provide something of value first
2. Social proof – we tend to be more trusting of things that are popular and have been endorsed as quality by others we trust
3. Commitment and consistency – asking your prospect to start with small agreements makes it harder for them to say ‘no’ in the long run
4. Liking – we’re more likely to submit to requests made by people we like and who like us in return
5. Authority – we’re more likely to agree with those who have perceived authority
6. Scarcity – we’re drawn to things that are hard to get and in short supply
7. Unity – people need to feel they belong to something greater than themselves

These principles are not about ‘trickery’ and need to be applied in an authentic way. How can you weave them into your advisory offering, marketing and sales?

4. You’ve got them, so how are you going to keep them?

The quality of your service model and ability to deliver a high value outcome for clients is obviously key in the retention of clients. If you’re not offering services that provide ongoing benefits, rather than one off project-based activities you will constantly be searching around for new clients.

Does your advisory model hit a sweet spot? Your offering must meet three marketing fundamentals:

a) Be digestible
b) Solve a problem, and
c) Link to a clear competitive advantage

Your advisory model needs to tell a great story about how you will work with clients to achieve their goals.

Here are three advisory services that will cut through with clients in 2019 and improve your likelihood of client retention:

1. Online coaching and training – deliver the triple play of benefits – leverage (more clients, more often), improved customer experience (just-in-time support) and cost reduction (less reliance on heavy travel schedules to maintain face-to-face contact)

2. Initial business reviews – help clients focus attention on where they are now and where they want to be in the future, use tools such as a Growth and Profit Diagnostic, Now Where How and financial dashboards

3. Half day strategic plan re-sets – time-poor clients want a simple strategic plan review to get them back on track. Use One Page Plan, Now Where How, Sustainable Competitive Advantage, Mindmap and Pareto to achieve a clear plan in a short period of time.

Good luck with implementing some of these ideas, the achievement of authenticity through your marketing, sales and advisory offering will set you apart from those who are just ‘talking the talk’.

Want to learn more about being an agile advisor or how Mindshop helps build high performing advisory businesses? Click here.

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Business advisory can take many forms, from delivering insights and problem solving, right through to implementation of strategic plans.​​​​​​

Presented by James Mason
Duration 24 minutes

Are you just starting out, or years down the track? Does your team have a wealth of capabilities to deliver a wide range of advisory services or are you learning the basics? In this 24-minute webinar, James Mason will uncover the types of models working at each phase, the capabilities you will need for success and where major revenue opportunities lie. Watch the webinar here:

https://vimeo.com/user24295412/review/295096358/8235bf6dee

In this webinar you will learn:

  1. the 5 phases of business advisory success
  2. the biggest opportunities to win advisory work
  3. key capabilities needed for success at each advisory stage
  4. example business models achieving great cut-through
  5. key strategies for the year ahead

After watching the webinar you can post comments and questions below this blog for James to answer.

Would you value a 15-minute discussion with a Mindshop Regional Manager about your business advisory objectives? Contact lthomas@mindshop.com to organise a time.

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Staying relevant to clients by being adaptable and agile is a key focus for high performing advisors. Discover the six insights on how to be an ‘agile advisor’ delivered at the recent global round of Mindshop advisor training days by Russell Cummings, senior Mindshop coach and advisor at Shifft Consulting.

How will you embrace these insights in your advisory firm to drive higher performance, increase capacity and become more agile in your delivery to clients?

1. Stop wasting time on coffee meetings during the sales process

It’s tempting to talk to anyone who’s interested in your services, but ‘quality rather than quantity’ can prevent days of wasted time each month. Russell recommends:

  • pre-qualifying leads with a 20-minute call to understand their barriers, discover if they’re the type of client you want to work with and if you can provide the value they are seeking,
  • following up successful calls with an email covering your background, evidence of capability and setting up a one-hour meeting (only if required) to gain verbal agreement,
  • discussing price, value, deliverables and time commitments at the meeting to avoid writing ‘cold’ proposals,
  • only at this point send a document or email confirming the next steps to doing business together.

2. Build capacity for success

There are many ways you can build capacity for greater leverage, from simply arming yourself with the right tools, to engaging a virtual or executive assistant (VA /EA). Whilst a VA or EA is a great idea, most don’t understand the economics – if you cannot generate at least twice your EA’s cost in additional fees, then you can’t justify one. If having an EA is right for you, make sure they do value-add tasks, not just secretarial stuff – researching prospects and clients, running your contact program, writing blog articles and social posts, creating presentations and client onboarding will all work towards creation of additional revenue.

At a more fundamental level, build yourself a high-performance toolkit for client meetings. Consider what you need in a toolkit if you’re out on the road; tablet, pens for flipcharts, adapters for presentations, printed templates and so on. If you’re running most of your meetings internally, ensure the meeting rooms help you facilitate – use walls that also act as a whiteboard or an interactive screen to capture notes.

Can you log client actions and strategies throughout the meeting in your software? An agile advisor leaves workshops with very little work to do or responses to write. Mindshop Online or similar can be used to capture information for online coaching between meetings and referencing of tools and courses to build clients’ capability. Do you use meeting software such as Zoom with clients? What other software would be in your high-performance toolkit to allow you to work seamlessly from anywhere in the world to solve any issue? Embrace online coaching to create greater leverage.

3. Facilitate rather than consult

It’s rare to get through a client meeting without straying from the agenda to discuss a ‘hot’ issue. A great facilitator has the confidence to tackle these left-field issues ‘head-on’ by drawing on structured tools and techniques. What’s the key to be a great facilitator in a one-on-one meeting or group workshop?

  • Preparation and planning: Ensure you invest time to prepare well regardless of whether in a larger workshop or one-on-one meeting, interview key stakeholders prior if applicable, note timings on workshop materials and review historic client notes.
  • Orientation: focus on client outcomes in the time available, it’s not about you.
  • Framing: set a clear purpose at the outset, outline the agenda, make sure pre-reading is done, set expectations of roles in the meeting.
  • Structure: ensure your message gets through with the EAS (Expose, Activity, Summary) technique. You could also use ‘Now, Where, How’ to structure your workshops.
  • Delivery: adapt to the time allocated and use a mix of mediums (whiteboard, flip chart, PowerPoint presentation, group work) to keep energy levels high.
  • Interaction: gather regular feedback and ask open-ended questions throughout the workshops, 70% of the time spent should be attendees doing the talking or in exercises.
  • Summary and next steps: create a good outline of key points, be clear on the next steps and who does what. Keep the momentum going by booking the next meeting and setting expectations about topics to be covered.

4. Focus your model on achieving profitable growth

Keep your business advisory model focused on services leading to profitable growth, your model should be simple enough for clients to clearly understand the value you can deliver through your service offerings. Too often advisors over-complicate their models, attracting the wrong target market or slowing down sales cycles.

Once you have a clear model you can build your capability and capacity to deliver these offerings flawlessly. Having the capability to facilitate using a broad range of problem solving and strategy tools will save you time in preparation and ensure you can solve any client problem efficiently.

5. Put yourself in the right mindset for success

Probably the most important of all the tips to being a more agile advisor is to be self-aware about the capabilities you need for success, ensuring you’re continually staying ahead of the game in the understanding that best practise is about continuous improvement.

6. 80% online, 20% face-to-face
Client issues don’t appear conveniently and predictably ‘every second Tuesday of the month at 1pm until 3pm’ when you have a client review meeting. They’re random, often occurring a few times a week and then nothing for a month or two. Agile advisors need the ability to be just-in-time for clients, allowing them the flexibility to access the support, training and insights required to address their issues 24/7 in this fast-paced world.

Evolving your client contact cadence by embracing online coaching is key; high performers manage the expectations of clients so that 80% of contact is online via Zoom meetings, coaching posts (if using an online coaching platform like Mindshop Online), viewing tools and completing online courses and only 20% face-to-face for re-setting of plans and workshopping matters.

Inevitably there’ll be objections from some not wanting to move from the traditional face-to-face only model, but point out that it’s going to be more expensive and ‘banking up’ issues and hoping to fix them in a 2-hour quarterly catch up is not feasible. Plant the seed of fixing issues between meetings, keeping up momentum and using face-to-face as an opportunity to reset plans. Change your prospects’ and existing clients’ mindsets to an online and face-to-face approach and all will benefit.

Where are your gaps? What do you need to invest time in building new capabilities?

Want to learn more about being an agile advisor or how Mindshop helps build high performing advisory businesses? Click here.

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I’ve noticed a subtle shift over the last 12 months in accounting professionals’ attitude towards business advisory. What was previously seen as a replacement for an anticipated, yet unseen dramatic decline in compliance revenue, is now (rightly) being viewed as a substantial growth opportunity and competitive advantage.

Past unfounded concerns about the ‘death of compliance’ have evolved into a more strategic mindset. Firms are looking not only to implement business advisory services as an essential client attraction and retention strategy but also as a core skill set of the modern partner to meet the changing needs and expectations of today’s client.

‘It’s great to see so many firms looking to invest quality time in building the capabilities and models needed for success rather than just looking for a technology ‘quick fix’ for business advisory implementation. Firms are rapidly realising that growth in business advisory is a marathon, not a sprint’ says Dr Chris Mason, Founder, Mindshop.

A great example of growth achieved from a focus on advisory is Canadian firm, Avail CPA. George Virtue, Managing Partner, talks about how the firm implemented business advisory services to grow its client base and revenue. You can read his story here.

A shift in mindset is reflected in the number of North American firms connecting with Mindshop for support in achieving their business advisory objectives. We’ve seen 40% growth in the region driven by forward-thinking firms.

Coming out the busy tax deadline and holiday period, increasing numbers of North American firms are recognising that implementing a strong business advisory offering needs to be in their top three priorities for 2018 and beyond.

Now is the time to take the next step towards growth of your firm through business advisory. For further information contact Mindshop’s North American Regional Manager, JoAnn Labbie, joann@mindshop.com

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‘How to market your advisory services’ is one of our most popular webinar topics, and is increasingly relevant in today’s competitive market.

View James Mason’s half-hour webinar below.  You will learn how to:

  1. Identify your sustainable competitive advantage
  2. Define your target customers
  3. Create your business model
  4. Know your targets
  5. Start your marketing process

After watching the webinar you can post comments and questions below this blog for James to answer.

Would you value a 15-minute discussion with a Mindshop Regional Manager about your business advisory objectives? Contact lthomas@mindshop.com to organise a time.

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It’s hard to pick just six highlights from across the three Mindshop conferences for 2018. So many great stories, practical tips, new capabilities and trends for business advisors were discussed. But I’ve attempted to give a little taste of what you missed. Many thanks must go to all the Mindshop advisor speakers and keynotes for sharing their experiences and tools with us across London, Denver and the Gold Coast.

Insight 1: Evolve the way you work
Part a: ‘Think like a disrupter’. The age of hundred-page strategic plans and product development strategies are gone, so adopt lean start up thinking and processes to deliver value. A one-page Lean Canvas or a One-Page Business Plan should be all it takes to get your clients’ ideas and challenges in focus, or why not facilitate a hackathon to incubate ideas? Challenge your clients earlier on in your interactions. Are they change ready?

Part b: ‘Is travelling to clients chewing up your time and travel budget?’ Online interactions are becoming the ‘sand between face to face meetings’. Discover the myriad of benefits of a true blended coaching and training offering, not just cutting your costs but also increasing your responsiveness.

Insight 2: Tap into your intuition
Tapping into your ‘gut’ may seem esoteric but there’s a growing body of research showing that it is not only a valid, but also a key mechanism for swift and effective decision-making using ‘unconscious cognition’. With the mountain of big data at your disposal, it’s become easy to get bogged down in details. Instead, learn to tap into the experiences and learnings you’ve amassed over the years to quickly come to a good decision. They say a great entrepreneur makes judgements 50% on rational thought and 50% based on intuition.

Insight 3: Ease off the accelerator
Work life balance is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but an essential for sustainable success. We’re all busy, but there’s a fine line between ‘peak performance’ and ‘burn out’. Reduce your stress levels and ensure you are on the right side of the work / life balance by refocusing on what’s important and relevant (after all, less is more). Selectively using online productivity tools, virtual teams, tapping into your network and mining with minimal marketing effort (existing services to existing customers) will make your life easier whilst simultaneously improving your client experience.

Insight 4: Become unconsciously competent
Are you a master at the change success model? Can you facilitate an 8 wastes session (hint the 8th waste is untapped employee creativity) standing on your head? Understanding and applying key business or personal tools for quality client interactions is an essential capability. Not only will you be agile, pivoting where-ever your interactions with clients takes you, but you’ll save time (see insight 1). As one of our keynotes, Charles Leadbeater said ‘We shouldn’t become second-class robots in our interactions with customers’. What capabilities do you need to build or improve?

Insight 5: Why would we mourn you?
What is fundamentally irreplaceable about you and your services to your clients? Why would they lament if your services were no longer around? Understanding the purpose of your business will help you to create a memorable brand and sense of bias for your service. Your brand will flourish if cemented in trust built on an emotional connection rather than simply expediency. As one of our keynotes, Matt Jones observed, ‘People don’t cross the street for convenience’. Think about building trust in your relationships with clients to optimise customer lifetime value.

Insight 6: Future proof your business
Staying relevant to your clients is key for a sustainable, successful advisory business. Keep up to date by learning new capabilities and continuing to simplify complexity for clients. They’ll appreciate your ability to show agility, adapting to whatever’s thrown your way layered with an ability to join the dots on emerging trends. But here’s a word of caution – don’t move so quickly that you disconnect with your clients’ true needs. Implement practical strategies and keep them focused on the top three things first.

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