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Are firms making Business Advisory too difficult?


Are firms making Business Advisory too difficult?


Kicking off a new financial year is often a time for Business Advisors, Accountants and Consultants globally to reset their targets, strategies and focuses for the year ahead. Some add 10% to last year’s figures, some add a new service offering and some say this is the year they will finally double in size!

There is no right or wrong answer to setting targets (as each just drives a different intensity / focus of plan) but one common element I see year after year is advisors making the delivery of advisory services more difficult than it needs to be.

What your customers really want!

Most customers spend their waking hours (and sleeping hours!) seeking to get from where they are NOW to WHERE they want to be at a set time in the future. They then surround themselves with great people and quality advisors to help them get there in a timely, cost effective and sustainable way. Rarely have I heard customers regardless of whether they run a billion dollar organization or micro business state they spend their time thinking about doing a business model canvas, a strategy mapping exercise, balanced score card, behavioural profiling or a product portfolio analysis of their offerings. They just want an outcome! The process to get the outcomes is often irrelevant.

However many advisors still perceive that delivering business advisory services has to be dominated with them having all the answers, complex tools, prescriptive solutions and extensive workshops delivering them. This for most scenario’s advisors deal with is not the case. We also find many solutions on the market are built to ‘sell’ to advisors as a magic bullet rather than be of value to end customers.

Outcomes of making Business Advisory too complex and structured

The by-product of this perception is that advisors can often:

  1. Never get started with offering advisory services
  2. Self-sabotage themselves in opportunities
  3. Have too much structure which restricts their flexibility to deal with key issues
  4. Lack confidence
  5. Say no to advisory opportunities to assist customers (as they lack capability and capacity)
  6. Confuse clients with overly complex conversations and solutions
  7. Lose sight of the simple outcome the client wants
  8. Spend years getting ready or seeking to grow their client base before adapting approach
How to help customers?

To help customers in an advisory context however it can be as simple as:

  1. Ask them where they are NOW and WHERE they want to be at a time in the future?
  2. Ask them what are the top 2-3 things they could do differently over the next 12 months?
  3. Mindmap potential strategies to those top 2-3 things and discuss the best ideas?
  4. Pull all that clever thinking into a One Page Plan (covers strategies / actions)

In Mindshop, we have hundreds of tools (and provide quality training and support in delivering them) that assist advisors to go much deeper and flesh out these elements further but imagine at a minimum the above four steps are all you did for key customers, you did it quarterly and charged a decent fee for it? A great outcome for all parties and best of all you will be delivering advisory services. It can be as simple as that to get started!

Often speaking to advisors (but mainly accounting firms) they get caught up with 25 step processes, complex models, 4 hour diagnostics that throw up 40 strategies etc. that clients are confused by and when you bring them back to this simple foundation both the advisor and the client gain the terrific outcomes they are seeking.

Six ideas for advisory success

So my advice is don’t make delivering business advisory services more difficult that it needs to be:

  1. Keep it simple. Use just 4 or 5 tools when starting out.
  2. Focus on client outcomes at all times
  3. Talk Now, Where, How
  4. Grow your confidence. Initially focus internally and on professional development
  5. Focus more on momentum with clients in the change process rather than a perfect strategy
  6. Learn and adapt quickly as you go

If you have any questions about simplifying your advisory approach, please contact Mindshop Managing Director, James Mason (

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