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There are profitable opportunities for smart firms in spite of a gloomy start to 2013

February 2nd, 2013 |

The word on the street is sombre. In large accounting firms realised rates continue to fall; in other words discounting is rife. Many law firms had the worst six months to December in a long time; and it’s not temporary, structural changes in the industry are really starting to hurt. Consulting engineers tell a somewhat less glum story, nevertheless many are in defensive mode. Sure. It's the economy, low business confidence and political instability. But the glass is also half full for smart firms.

Australian professional services firms should spare a thought for their counter-parts in the USA and the UK, let alone in continental Europe. Consulting and speaking engagements have taken me to these regions several times in the last 12 months. It's pale grey in Australia compared to the darkness and cold in many parts of the northern hemisphere–and I am not referring to their wintery weather!

Yet on each of my visits I have met firms in all major professional services disciplines that are hopeful, flourishing and eager to learn about managing in the environment of the New Normal. Lessons from their stories are one of the reasons Beaton is holding the 2013 Gro Pro Forum on 13 March in Sydney. The other reason is our excitement with the quality of the insights from the 2013 Annual Business and Professions Study. We have now analysed more than 40,000 respondents’ answers to our November 2012 survey–and there’s hope aplenty for those firms who use the information wisely.

The 2013 Gro Pro Forum will present 10 BIG ideas for those attending to take away and apply in their own firms. We are confident the combination of our data-driven insights and team of speakers will not only demolish some of the myths that are holding firms back; we will also challenge conventional wisdom and inspire fresh thinking.

The 2013 Gro Pro Forum does not replace subscription to the 2013 Beaton Benchmarks reports on your firm and what you need to do to be more competitive and profitable.

Rather Gro Pro is designed to deliver actionable answers to these questions:

  1. Can you ride a Bull in a Bear market? Where are the best opportunities for growth in the year ahead?
  2. What can you do to receive more RFPs from the type of clients your firm targets?
  3. Is it still true that your current clients are still your best prospects for profitable growth?
  4. What drives the market’s perception of your firm’s expertise? Should you aim to be seen as a leading firm in particular service line or sectors?
  5. How can your firm make sense of social media, avoid the hype and deliver measurable value?
  6. Why clients are switching to competitors? What can you do to ‘brick wall’ your best clients?
  7. How can you best differentiate your firm? Can anything be done to avert death-by-discounting?
  8. What really drives client value? How are firms using cost consciousness to minimise discounting?
  9. What are the risks to reputation and growth from mergers? How can our case studies help you stay on track?
  10. What role does hard evidence play in driving strategy and changing practitioners’ behaviour? How you can use evidence, not anecdotes, as a burning platform to progress in a low growth environment?

You can register for Gro Pro 2013 here. There are only 200 places–and tickets are selling fast.

By George Beatonis a director of Beaton Capital and Beaton Research + Consulting. You can find George on Google+ at +George Beaton.

Posted in beatonbenchmarks, Professional Services, Strategy | Comments Off on There are profitable opportunities for smart firms in spite of a gloomy start to 2013

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