Greathead, Damien, Vice President, Receipt Bank
We’re well into the new year, so it’s a perfect time to stop and ask yourself; "Am I on track?". If the answer is I don’t know, or No, it might be time to stop and spend some time thinking about where you want to be by the year’s end.
Now’s the perfect time for strategic planning. Time to stop and regroup; identify issues that need action, develop a plan to solve existing problems and avoid those looming around the corner. Those firms with strategic plans are quickly able to assess if they are on track and make the necessary changes when they deviate from the plan.
Here’s a quick “How To” to get you started.
- Choose a location to meet away from the office.
- Involve the key decision makers regardless of if they’re a partner or not.
- Brainstorm the agenda items and then assign topics for each participant to report on (staffing, firm finances, I.T. issues etc).
- A simple staff survey asking what the major challenges are and ideas for improvement is also worthwhile. If you can make it anonymous, your response rate and the quality of their feedback will improve dramatically.
- Make sure to have the firm administrator present during the retreat to take notes.
- Create an action plan to include “who’s” following up with “what” and by “when”.
Many partners observe conduct and behavior in their partners that they would like to change. Unspoken expectations about billing, compensation and management issues can fester and erupt in a retreat setting. What started out as a very positive planning for the future meeting can quickly descend into a heated debate that divides the management team. Having an outsider who specializes in strategic planning can help neutralize potential conflicts, keep your meetings on point and assist you and your partners through sensitive issues and avoid damaging relationships.
Publisher's Note: Damien will be part of a panel in our web seminar "Growing Your QuickBooks Business Through Strategic Planning and Partnerships" on April 23. Click to register.
Damien Greathead is COO of 2020 Group USA. 2020 Group trains and advises accounting firms on best practices for growth and profitability, including management, strategy, marketing and business development. You can learn more about their services by visiting their website at www.2020groupusa.com.