Not Just Important, But Immensely Valuable

February 18, 2020

Recently I sat with an older business owner who is a 50-50 partner with a relative. They’re getting closer to that inevitable time when they are transitioning out of the business, and there are problems. The relative’s behavior is erratic, and the business has some unique characteristics which will make a sale challenging. This owner was wondering how he would navigate all this, a situation which could turn into a quagmire if not handled just right.

I asked him who among their professional services providers could help mediate and walk together with the two of them through the business transition. It had to be someone both he and his relative trusted implicitly. We agreed that having the right person there to help smooth any friction would save a lot of hurt feelings, anxiety, and maybe a bunch of legal bills if everything descended into a legal fracas.

The business attorney had just passed away, but the long-time CPA for the business was still active.

“Do both of you trust {we’ll call him] Joseph? Does each of you value his opinions?,” I asked. “Do both of you listen to him? How is his bedside manner?”

I asked several questions about Joseph, and all the answers led to a conclusion this man agreed with, that Joseph was the ideal person—possibly the only person--to companion the two of them through the looming transition.

What makes Joseph not just important, but immensely valuable to these two business partners? What is it that makes Joseph seem irreplaceable?  Is it his knowledge of the tax code? His ability to help them craft a business transition which saves both a large tax bill? His accuracy in filing tax returns? The fact that he’s been through 40 or more tax seasons?

No, it’s none of these things. All this experience and these qualifications are important, to be sure, but what makes Joseph not just important, but something more. What makes Joseph immensely valuable? What makes Joseph seem priceless?

Joseph’s value as a professional services provider lies in his experience with these two partners, the trust he has engendered with them, his demeanor, and his ability to mediate tough situations. Intangibles all. Intangibles not available with anyone else, it seems. Intangibles these two partners can’t find with a Google search.

It’s yet another example of why, ultimately, your “content” as a professional services provider is not what drives your practice. Whether it’s your knowledge of the tax code (if you’re a CPA), or social media platforms (if you’re a marketer or branding expert), or the law (if you’re an attorney), the value of your “content” recedes.

So what are the intangibles your clients see in you which make you priceless to them?


Photo by fran hogan on Unsplash

©Ray Business Advisors, LLC and John Ray


About me:  I’m enthusiastic about how changes in pricing strategy can significantly change profitability for a business and enhance life choices for business owners. I live this passion through Ray Business Advisors, my outside CFO and business advisory practice, in which my pricing is exclusively value-based, not hourly. I work with business owners on how they can change their pricing not just to increase their profits, but better serve the wants of their customers. Click here to learn more or call me at 404-287-2627.

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