Today's post is by Rod Burkert. In one way, shape, or form, Rod has been performing business valuations since the late 1980s. In July 2000, he started Burkert Valuation Advisors in Philadelphia where he ran a "traditional” valuation practice for 10 years.
From March 2010 to March 2022, Rod traveled full-time throughout the US and Canada in an RV with his wife and their dogs. When he saw the possibilities of a location-independent BVFLS practice, he started rbCOACHING, which focuses on strategies, tactics, tools, and tech that can build/grow/scale BVFLS firms.
Today, Rod has settled in Bisbee, AZ and focuses solely on his practice building coaching … all created by leveraging his professional network, content marketing, social media, virtual assistants, and available technology.
We have a large body of knowledge that teaches us how to do the work, but few resources that teach us how to get the work. And even as we acquire the technical skills that enable us to perform better valuations, we need to position ourselves with buyers of our valuation services so that we can land new clients and apply those skills. How (and where) do we learn that?
CPE is never a cost; it’s an investment.
Think about it. Your CPE produces assets … either intellectual property (technical valuation ability) or research and development (practice building skills).
But I suspect many of you are out of balance … too much technical valuation ability and too little marketing and positioning skills. Want proof? Look at your last recertification reporting. How many CPE hours did you invest in practice building skills? The reason I know that it’s not many is because there are few people in our industry willing or wanting to teach these subjects.
Today, our marketplace is more competitive, our clients more empowered, and our value less obvious. We’re undifferentiated. The resulting commoditisation of our work has us competing with do-it-yourself websites that offer cheap valuation solutions, giving our prospects, clients, and referral sources the impression that this is all we have to offer.
More technical skills won’t cure this.
When I started doing valuations in the 90s, I was taught that BV was more of an art than science. You were probably taught the same thing. Today, at least, the consensus is that valuation is a craft.
At the same time, there is a growing acceptance that marketing is more of a science than an art. For example, research conducted by Duke University’s Dan Ariely has unlocked amazing insights on how human beings make (seemingly) irrational choices, including buying decisions – insights that have major implications for selling things like … BVFLS services.
You likely know of (seemingly) less qualified people who win work, sometimes beating you out. Why is that? Maybe it’s because they have learned how their audience of prospects, clients, and referral sources seek authority, develop trust, and make buying decisions. Don’t you want to learn that?
In college, most of us took accounting, finance, and economics classes because that’s what we needed to start on the path of becoming technically proficient in our careers. Who took marketing or psychology classes beyond the (required) introductory level?
Behavioral science. Buyer psychology. Pricing theory. Marketing technology. These are the new subjects you need to master if you are to build a successful valuation practice in today’s digitally connected economy. You definitely want to learn that.
I’m not saying you should ignore technical valuation skills. Start with that … learn your craft … but also invest more in practice building skills. Because really, how many cost of capital, DLOM, and pass through entity updates can you possibly attend in one recertification cycle?
What do you think?
Everyone has a different idea of what a successful practice is. The practice you want is personal because it is based on what “successful” means to you. I help practitioners focus on the strategies, tactics, tools, and tech to build/grow/scale their versions of successful practices. If you want some help with that, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org