TFYW#073: Two Luxuries That Are Now Necessities

Feb 2, 2024

This week, we’re diving into two critical cornerstones to a firm’s sustainable existence.

Tech Companies

About a decade ago, I heard something that impacted how I ran my firm and advised my clients.

‘Every company is a tech company.’

This is not to say that every company sells a tech solution or is a Saas company.

Rather, every company is (or should be) built on tech.

Any successful business strategy has a cornerstone of tech.

Businesses can continue on without a progressive tech strategy, but their ability to build and retain value is rapidly dropping.

We’re seeing this unfold in real-time with accounting firms across the continent.

A business broker I spoke with last year said dozens of rural firms are currently for sale that will never sell.

This brokerage has stopped listing any firm located more than 100 miles from a decent-sized city center.

These once-valuable firms have lost all their value because they haven’t prioritized tech, internal efficiencies and processes. They’ve relied on the billable hour and localization for their profits.

Tech has to be a pillar for short-term profitability and long-term value.

Media Companies

There’s a new-ish idea that has that continues to gain momentum:

‘Every company is a media company.’

Every company and firm needs to have a consistent media or content strategy. Simply ‘doing stuff’ isn’t going to keep you relevant.

Social media has become the go-to for many to learn skills, get jobs, build businesses and interpret the world.

Whether you think this is a good or bad thing, it doesn’t matter.

This is where we’re heading.

You may think media or content doesn’t impact your firm. You may have plenty of clients and are drowning already.

Many firms had the same sentiment about tech.

Relying on external factors (decreasing number of CPAs and increasingly complex compliance requirements) to drive the demand for your firm could decrease the overall value of what you’re building.

As AI and bots continue to simplify and commoditize compliance work, media will play a bigger part of how firms deliver value.

Media is not just posting on social media; it’s creating and communicating nuanced ideas that show you know your stuff and can deliver that knowledge in a value-creating manner.

Naval Ravikant, a successful entrepreneur and investor, shared a X/twitter thread in 2018 about code (tech) and media:

This thread is still referenced frequently today.

Firms that win big leverage tech as well as media.

 

If you don’t remember anything else from this newsletter, remember this:

 

Just as tech turned from a luxury to a necessity for creating a sustainable firm, media will do the same.

 

Leveraging Media

Some of the fastest-growing firms have leveraged media in two ways.

Content

Firms need to create content.

Now, you might be thinking that your quarterly blog or your semi-annual LinkedIn post of your staff at your office is sufficient. But those things are losing impact in B2B sales journeys.

I follow Pierre Herubel on LinkedIn, and as an expert B2B marketer, he explains that B2B sales journeys are beginning to converge with B2C sales journeys.

This means that businesses (that are run by humans) are now following a path that individual consumers have followed for the past decade.

He broke it down like this:

 

B2B clients (and I would lump in accounting talent) are researching you based on the content they can find online.

They start small through a podcast interview, Linkedin, or Instagram
post.

They follow along and watch a YouTube video or read your newsletter.

They become part of your audience.

Landing on a glossy corporate website with curated testimonials and a technical blog is losing value.

Content drives attention. Attention drives engagement. Engagement drives sustainable profit.

One to Many

The less visible media component for accounting firms is moving to a One to Many service model.

Many firms are built on doing things for their clients. It’s very transactional and one-to-one. And at the moment, it is… ok.

The future of accounting and advisory is knowing things for your clients and arming them with an application of that knowledge to take action themselves.

Some firms have created courses for lower-value clients who have a pile of questions but can’t afford to pay for a couple of hours twice a year.

Those who take the course join your audience, and a smaller portion will filter through to qualify as one-to-one clients.

Other firms have taken a different approach and have created mastermind groups, VIP days, or coaching offers for select clients.

They’re doing something once and impacting dozens, if not hundreds, of businesses.

Non-accounting businesses and consultants have been doing this for a while now. It makes sense that we leverage this type of service delivery as well.

Investing in a media strategy may be your most profitable, non-billable action for the next decade.

Build The Firm You Want.

Mark

P.S. Email Mark@FirmNexus.com with something that you want me to talk about. I’ll add it to the list. 

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