Helping Clients Create a Strategy - A Value Adding Service!

Accountant's Minute 207

This article is a continuation of our series on “Help Me Run a Better Business” (refer to Accountants Minute 204, 205 and 206)

The development of a strategy that is different from their competitors is very important for small businesses and medium sized enterprises.

In “Scaling up” Verne Harnish indicated that a “Differential Strategy” is one of the key “Lifecycles of a Business”.

If the development of a “differential strategy” is so important for business success shouldn’t the key trusted advisor be assisting the owner or CEO of the business to develop a great strategy?

Assisting a client to develop a strategy that assists in “differentiating” the client’s business is an essential component of a broader range of value adding services that accountants can provide to clients.

Where do you start?

Have a conversation with your client.  If this is a new engagement, the conversation should be held during your first interview so that you can understand the strategy that your new client has developed and if the client does not have a differential strategy you can then incorporate assistance on this strategy development in your proposal document.

If you have been the accountant for a client for some time and you have never had this conversation, now is an appropriate time to start by saying to your client “it is a new financial year, would you like us to assist with a broader range of services than what we have provided in the past?”

A good place to start is identifying the key components of a winning business strategy:

  • Who are your “core customers”?
  • Do you have a “brand guarantee” – if so, what is it?
  • What are the “important activities that differentiate your business”?
  • What are your “goals” for the next three years:
    • Turnover
    • Gross profit
    • Net profit
    • Number of team members
    • Locations

There are number of key questions to be asked:

  • What are you planning to do in your business?
  • Can you identify the Strengths, Weaknesses and Trends (SWT) that apply to your business?
  • What do your competitors do?
  • Can you identify the Strengths, Weaknesses and Trends (SWT) that you think apply to your competitors?
  • Have you received comments/feedback from your customers/potential customers on the type of services or products that they would like to be able to receive from your business?
  • You could suggest that your client reviews the comments he/she has made relative to their business’ Strengths, Weaknesses and Trends against the analysis that they a prepared on competitors and the comments that were received from customers and potential customers.

You could then suggest:

  • Can you now prepare a summary of the strengths that you would like to have in your business and can you identify the weaknesses that you will try to eliminate or at least minimise?
  • How does this then fit into the development of your strategy your business?
  • From these evaluations can you now identify the key points of “differentiation” between your business and your competitors’ businesses?
  • A key document in the development of a “differential strategy” is the development of the Marketing Plan for the business.

Based on the analysis of customers preferences and competitors’ Strengths, Weaknesses and Trends a Marketing Plan could then be developed identifying the Marketing Strategies that need to be implemented if the “differential strategy” is going to be achieved.

This will require an analysis of:

  • The website
  • Social media – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter
  • Development of videos and webinars to promote the business
  • Presentations at industry conferences and other locations where customers or potential customers might be present.

By offering assistance in the development of a “differential strategy” for your client you will be making a significant contribution to the development of a winning strategy to which you have contributed value adding services thus assisting your client to run a better business!


If you are interested in viewing the types of services that ESS BIZTOOLS provides for our accounting subscribers who are located all over Australia, please visit our website

If you would like to participate in a free webinar “Helping Clients Create a Differential Strategy” why not register for our webinar on Tuesday, 17 September 2019 at 12:30pm AEST – to register click here.

If you have any questions about any aspect of the services provided by ESS BIZTOOLS or ESS BIZGRANTS please do not hesitate to contact us:


Telephone:   1800 232 088

Have a great day!

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