Let me say right up front, I am as guilty as the next person for falling prey to the ‘shiny new object’ syndrome.

However, I have learned over time to recognize when I’m falling under its spell. And I don’t just see it with business tools, it can show up everywhere. In your house, your car, your garage, your kitchen, your wardrobe – everywhere.

Marketers are very good at finding our ‘hot’ buttons and that’s how we get exposed to them. Their message is very skilfully crafted and we fall prey over and over.

You are probably a victim already

How many options do Accountants have when it comes to choosing software to help build their Practice whether it be the ‘complete system’ for setting up to deliver business advisory services, or to improve practice efficiency or marketing to  get more clients? Heaps and heaps of options!

Often’s the case  we put the ‘cart before the horse’ when it comes to choosing what we spend our money on and when. We are easily pulled toward the shiny new object whether we need or are ready for it or not!

A case in point would be; do you work on getting more clients first, offering them the same services as all your other clients or do you upgrade your skills to provide more value to your current clients. The ones who already know you, like you and trust you?

Or do you re-think your product/service offering, re-design your business model and then go out and get the clients you want and are better suited to service?

Moment Of Truth – I was a ‘rev-head’

When I was younger (in 1970 to be precise) my brother and I used to race a 1963 Holden sedan at our local speedway and with a small amount of success too I might add!

Our Father was the mechanic but he taught us how to strip and rebuild engines, gearboxes and all other manner of motor vehicle bits’n pieces. Came in handy too, keeping our road cars ‘on the road’.

The one thing he taught us that I always remember is, it makes no sense loading up the top end (of an engine) if the bottom end won’t take it.

So in a business sense, the analogy would be it makes no sense getting more people (customers) through the door if the business is not ready to handle the extra work.

Back to the ‘shiny new objects’

If you take a few moments before pushing the ‘BUY’ button when you are checking out a ‘shiny new object’ determine not only HOW you will be better off using it but also, WILL you make the changes necessary in your Practice to take full advantage of the all the new ‘bells and whistles’ that come with the ‘shiny new object’.

Although many if not most of the ‘shiny new objects’ you see have a lot of features that are useful in your Practice, this doesn’t mean you’ll use them. I know, I’ve been there.

For 12 years I had access to one of the most comprehensive and professional set of business advisor tools in the world and I barely scratched the surface when it came to full utilisation of what came with the license.

I gave it a pretty good crack at using all of them, the software, the strategic planning system, business planning tools, newsletters, white papers, training videos, seminar presentations, you name it I had it.

But eventually I settled in to using just a few and the minority was all I needed for the majority of what my clients needed or wanted.

Lessons from Vilfredo Pareto (1848 -1923)

A friend of mine was approached by his wife to agree that she use their credit card to buy a $2,000 kitchen appliance. You’ve probably head of these or may even have one in your home.

Mine was the new ‘bread maker’ which we used religiously for about 3 weeks buying every known bread ingredient that the maker said we could use and then NOTHING. We soon consigned it to the dark corners of our kitchen appliance cupboard with all the other shiny new objects we’d bought over the years.

Anyway, the $2,000 kitchen appliance sales people do a fantastic job of convincing buyers that they no longer need any of the other appliances (which they no longer use anyway) in their kitchen and can put them in their next garage sale, presumably to help defray the cost of the new appliance.

Well guess what? If Pareto’s law (and it does) comes into play, for every 100 $2,000 kitchen appliances sold, 80 of them will sit in the back of the cupboard within 3-6 months with the other 20 taking a further 6-12 months to whittle down to 4 in use at the end of the 2nd year.

Here’s the lesson.

Be very cautious that you will use 80% of the features (bells and whistles) in your shiny new object and not 20% AND you make the changes necessary in your Practice to accommodate their use.

Take a look at this video

Most will be familiar with Robert Koch’s book ‘The 80/20 Principle’. I bought mine about 15 years ago. If you don’t have a copy (and I recommend you get one) then go to my web site and click on the Amazon.com panel to get yours.

perry-marshall-200Well another guy named ‘Perry Marshall’ bought a copy of that book and took all
of the lessons he learned and created his own book titled: ’80/20 Sales And Marketing – The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More. I got my copy about 12 months ago.

If you click on this link you can see Perry explain the 80/20 principle in a way you probably haven’t heard or seen illustrated before.

Do your homework first

For some practitioners, patterns of past behaviour are ignored and more and more ‘shiny new objects’ fill their shelves or their hard drive.

So look back to the last time you bought (sorry, invested in) a ‘shiny new object’ and how much impact it had on your Practice.

This will give you a strong indicator of whether or not you are likely to use all (80%) of the bells and whistles in your ‘shiny new object’ or will this also join the other list of ‘shiny new objects’ on your bookcase and software cupboard.

Happy hunting

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