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Strategy Development – Analyzing Your Current Resources

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In this session, I want you to think about what assets you already have. What resources do you currently have access to, and will they be the kind that will give you a competitive advantage?

By now, you should have an idea of what target market you are interested in serving, and what those prospects need and want in the way of features in a service that will solve their problems and needs.

In order to fulfill these needs and wants of the Customer Segment or Segments you will be targeting, you will need the capabilities that are required to deliver the features you will be delivering.

In the needs analysis you performed using the “Rainmaker Needs Assessment,” you identified the features you will be including in your solution to your target market needs and wants.

For each feature, you will need different resources or combinations of resources, and whether they are physical, financial, intellectual, or human, they can be combined in very different ways to achieve very different solutions.

If your practice is heavily involved in annual tax return preparation, you may find the Parker Tax Pro Library the one you need for research. Maybe if you’re more heavily involved in complicated tax representation, and need in depth technical detail, BNA’s library may be better suited. Or, if you’re into Estate Planning, you may find a CCH or Thompson-Reuters product more appropriate.

Your choices of these key assets is dependent upon your definition of your target market, how you will deliver your value proposition and how you expect to maintain your relationships.

Your physical assets may include your office, and your operating equipment, such as desks, computer system, your library, and of course, your client accommodations.

Your intellectual assets will include your practice branding, any trade names you may have developed, as well as specialized processes and procedures.

Your client lists, prospect lists and marketing methods may also be classified as intellectual property. Most of your intellectual property can be classified as “trade secrets,” and as such, should be protected in contract and these protections should be enforced in practice.

In a professional services firm human capital and their knowledge are crucial resources. Click To Tweet

In a professional services firm human capital and their knowledge are crucial resources. The skills you and your staff possess are among your most powerful strategic resources.

It is very easy for you to lose a large investment in training and knowledge when an employee leaves your firm. But, the knowledge and training in the firm becomes embodied in firm specific routines and cannot be transferred. A factor which increases employee and skills retention.

Your use of human resources will be matched to each of the other components of your business model. For example, your aligning of your human resources (staff) to the delivery of your services will define one use of your human resources for the channel portion of your business model.

Your financial resources absolutely define your ability to maintain your other resources, to deliver your products or your message through your delivery channel or your marketing channel. It defines your ability to acquire additional resources and enter new markets.

In this session, I want you to take a look at how those assets and resources match up with the strategy you are choosing, and how they will affect the tactics and marketing channels you choose.

In short, I want you to look at your existing resources and determine which ones are Strategic Resources, and which are non-Strategic. Click To Tweet

In short, I want you to look at your existing resources and determine which ones are Strategic Resources, and which are non-Strategic.

Strategic assets are anything rare and valuable that a firm owns. They include plant and equipment, location, brands, patents, customer data, a highly qualified staff, and distinctive partnerships.

As we have discussed, a sustainable competitive advantage is achieved by implementing a value-creating strategy that is unique and not easy to imitate. This type of advantage is achievable when you have the appropriate strategic resources and can use them.

However, resources are a cost, and must be monitored carefully, so the first thing to do is to understand what is a Strategic Asset or Resource, and what is a Non-Strategic Asset or Resource.

Nieto and Perez identified and compared the characteristics of strategic and non-strategic assets in 2002. The breakdown they came up with is …

The strategic assets’ characteristics imply that sources of sustainable competitive advantage are often related to intangible resources.

Intangible resources, also named knowledge, invisible assets, absorptive capabilities, core competencies, strategic assets, core capabilities, intellectual property rights, trademarks, information technology such as databases, networks and skills such as capabilities and competencies, organizational memory or any other denomination with a similar meaning, and intangible resources such as reputation and brand name, employee know-how, customer loyalty, social relationship, culture, employees’ expertise and their commitment and loyalty, technology etc.

Observing that most of these intangible resources have an inherent capabilities focus, it becomes a competitive advantage to develop unique capabilities as your Strategic Resource.

In fact, your ability to use any one of the Strategic Resource types I just described might probably become your most important resource. Especially capabilities that you develop through the coordination and integration of activities and processes in your firm.

Don’t you just love the way circular logic works?

Your success or failure is as much a result of matching your practice’s capabilities to your market, as it is the implementation of the strategy you select for your market.

This means that you must develop unique and distinctive capabilities, needed and wanted by your target market, that your competitors do not, or cannot, provide. By developing these unique capabilities, you have essentially developed your practice differentiation.

This interrelationship between your capabilities and your practice strategy illustrates a simple methodology for developing your competitive advantage.

The capabilities you develop from your Strategic Resources is the glue that holds your Business Model together and that drives your success or failure because capabilities are inherently difficult to duplicate or substitute.

The capabilities you develop from your Strategic Resources is the glue that holds your Business Model togethe Click To Tweet

Download and print out the Rainmaker’s Strategic Resources Worksheet and use it to develop your list of Strategic Resources by clicking HERE.

Once you have the names, or descriptions, of your resources listed, list the Unique Capabilities you have or can develop for each resource, which are needed and wanted by your target market.

  • As you list the capabilities of each resource, refer to the list of Strategic Factors to determine whether it is a strategic resource or a non-strategic resource, and then indicate this in one of the two columns between the names of the resources and the list of capabilities of the resources.
  • Once you have done that, beside each capability, list the problems or tasks of the firm, your practice, that this capability solves.
  • If a highly qualified employee enhances your ability to deliver monthly consulting or accounting services, write that down. If specific knowledge gives you the ability to perform a unique type of consulting project or service, enter that. You’re looking for a way to understand the usages of existing capabilities.
  • Next, identify processes where capabilities have been combined with other capabilities into routines or processes used in your firm. These processes, or routines, are where you can develop an advantage over your competitors because they are unique to your firm, and difficult for your competitors to copy.
  • Finally, for this worksheet, identify potential new processes in which your existing Strategic Assets may be used to create a new Competitive Advantage. These new processes and routines which solve the needs you have previously identified will become the foundation of your Value Proposition.
Your assignment for today is to use the Rainmaker Strategic Resources Worksheet to develop a list of the key assets you currently have. In our next session, we’ll talk a little about what resources you may need in the services you are developing for your new target market.

Later on, in our series on developing your accountancy marketing strategy, we’ll discover a process you might be able to use as a way of developing some of the new assets and resources you need.

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Best to you and yours,




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