Challenges in any business sometimes come from the unlikeliest of sources. I noted this the other day upon a visit to WHSmith, the newsagent that simply refuses to die. Whilst browsing for something I didn’t come in for, I noticed that their product range had somewhat broadened. I could now use their services to make a will, create a tenancy agreement and gain power of attorney over my ageing mother (although it didn’t specifically state that). To think that I only went in for a protractor and a Pritt Stick.
After a little research, I discovered that this particular challenge has actually been present for a few years. The Legal Services Act came into effect in October 2011 and had the ambition to make buying legal services as easy as shopping for beans. Really expensive beans, obviously.
Of course, it is not just lawyers who face new competition. The whole professional services industry – legal, financial, accountancy and management consultancy – has seen both legislature and advancements in technology create real challenges for an industry that is notoriously conservative when it comes to change.
In some respects, it is perhaps the smaller outfits that suffer most. Legal services are now available in newsagents and supermarkets, there’s a plethora of accounting software – such as Zoho Books or QuickFile – and endless forums and free information around business management and problem solving. These new entrants tend to make use of cloud technology, meaning they can operate with much lower running costs than established firms.
In addition, the commoditisation of services in many sectors is pressurising this business sector model towards value-oriented services rather than traditional project fees. This increasing automation of ‘back-end services’ is forcing professional services companies to focus marketing activities around value, personalisation and engagement. All the while driving revenue and cutting costs.
This is not a problem that is yet to be solved, but here are some important considerations for all firms in this sector.
1. Put your expertise on show
2. Remember that the web is the definitive source of everything
3. Manage and measure your content performance
So while challenges can come from unexpected quarters, so too can sage advice…
“Change does not change tradition, it strengthens it. Change is a challenge and an opportunity, not a threat”
HRH Prince Philip
Withum is a large US accounting firm that has gone out of its way to show us how rock ’n’ roll its practice is. Expect plenty of high 5s and private jets in this well produced and engaging corporate homage.
This is an oldie but goldie from Postbank. Made just around the time of the last financial crash, it deserved to have far more views than it got then.
Please enjoy responsibly. And share the love.
Although it can be hard to entertain and engage in video, the infographic offers an opportunity to present what could be quite serious material in a colourful and engaging fashion. US firm Costner Law has created a drink-driving advice one that does just that.