Creating a Business Plan For Your Client in the New Financial Year

With the new financial year upon us, this is one of the best times to help your clients create a dynamic 12-month business plan. Your sales message is very simple. Every business should operate to an annual business plan. In demonstrating the importance of business planning to your clients, you are not trying to sell them something they don’t need. You are merely teaching them best practice in business. Of course, it’s important that you have your business plan in place before you talk to your clients about this service, to remain authentic.

When selling the benefits of business planning, you need to make sure that your clients understand what a business plan is and what it is not. It is simply a one-page document that (amongst a few other essentials) establishes their 12 month goals, 90 day goals and the actions they should take within the next 90 days to ensure they achieve those goals. In other words, it is all about action. Our experience is that most businesses benefit from someone independent facilitating the planning session. That person should be you. You know their numbers inside out, you want them to succeed and you will challenge them throughout the process.

Business planning is not a one hit wonder and shouldn’t be something you need to sell every year to your advisory clients. In other words, it is recurring services, just like compliance.

How do you make business advisory services recurring?

It starts with the business plan. Aligning the plan to your client’s balance date is helpful. Offer ongoing independent accountability coaching. You will meet every 90 days, reset the goals and actions, and keep the plan alive. Here is an important distinction. When you get to the third quarter of the year, book in the business planning session to establish the following year’s business plan. Speak assumptively with your clients. What I mean by that is take the position of assuming that the business planning process is ongoing, year on year, as is independent accountability coaching. You are now well on the way to creating a recurring business advisory revenue stream.

But wait… there’s more

No steak knives... however, business planning becomes the overarching advisory service that raises best practices in business. You will more than likely find that the plan raises cash flow issues or helps you to teach your client that having a budget and cash flow forecast (the three way forecast is optimal) is simply what your most successful clients do. Yes, you should talk to them in exactly that way. And here we have it – the business advisory trifecta.

The Business Advisory Trifecta

Business planning, financial forecasting and quarterly coaching. Beautiful. Even better, build a business advisory service plan. Have your clients pay monthly. Now you have created recurring and scalable business advisory revenues.

Learn how to successfully make cash flow forecasting as standard practice across your clients and business by downloading our free “Cash is King - Cloud Style” white paper.

Viv Brownrigg is a Fellow Chartered Accountant and Co-founder and CEO of The Gap. The Gap provides systemised business advisory products to more than 170 Australian and NZ firms.

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