Updated: Apr 11, 2022
When you contemplate your practice succession, you will have to consider many things and review many aspects of your practice.
Let's explore some of the aspects around your client base that can affect the value of the practice.
As a business, you know who your clients are. Have you ever conducted a detailed analysis of your client base? Typically, very few businesses do.
Typical questions you need to ask to perform a client analysis:
What is the average age of your customers?
What are the levels of fees associated with different age groups within your client base?
Which family groups comprise your top 20 clients (for example), and what level of fees does your business generate from this group of clients?
Are your clients' businesses growing?
Are your fees likely to increase in the future?
Are there other services that you provide that your clients will need in the future?
How will your client's service needs change over five to ten years?
Has your top 20 client groups changed over the last few years? If so, what are the reasons for the changes?
As a business, are there any learnings from these changes?
How might a future owner view the changes in your top clients over the years from a valuation perspective?
Who are your A-Grade clients?
Do you have B, C & D Grade clients?
Do you grade your clients using different metrics?
If a client pays their fees on time and is always pleasant to deal with, will they be viewed differently from the client who is always late paying their bills and is never happy?
What is the fee growth potential across your client base?
What are some of the opportunities in your client base to grow future fees?
What skills/expertise/resources are required to provide these services in the future?
How many of your business clients are aged over 55, and what fees do they represent across your practice?
How many of your business clients have a succession strategy in place?
How are you assisting your client with their succession strategies?
Does your practice have relationships with the younger family members of your business clients?
What changes might you expect with your business clients aged 55+ over the next 5 – 10 years regarding their business activities and the services you provide?
Do you need to be thinking about attracting younger clients to your practice?
How many of your clients pay their fees monthly or quarterly? More and more firms are opting for these types of business practices.
How do your clients engage with the practice? Do they usually visit your office, do you travel to their businesses, or do you have online sessions or phone calls?
Which team members work with your clients, and how is this information recorded in your systems?
Conducting a detailed client analysis can help you gauge how your successor might view your client base.
In addition to doing the right things well, you need to do the right things at the right time. Developing your succession plan is an ideal opportunity to develop strategies and tactics, both now and in the future.