Business Q&A with Kevin Appleby and Graham Arrowsmith
This week’s episode involves a business Q&A session. Kevin and Graham discuss what’s fresh in their businesses.
It’s a long time since we talked to each other without having a guest on the show. Each week we find out what our guests are up to, but we rarely talk about our own businesses. Graham recons its 40 episodes since we last chatted without a guest. So what’s new in our world?
What is Kevin Appleby doing?
We started our Q&A with Kevin’s consulting business. Kevin is developing management accounting courses alongside the work he is doing with his current Home Office consulting client. These courses enable Kevin to share his consulting skills with other finance professionals.
Developing the 21st Century Finance Business Partner
Kevin has been developing courses aimed at management accountants. As we publish this episode these have only just gone on sale. Kevin has delivered 4 and 5 day courses in the past as single events. But there is a big lesson learned from this. It’s a single high value sale and requires a big time commitment from the customer. This isn’t a price issue, but rather the time spent away from the office. The new courses address this issue and both make the training more accessible while also increasing the potential lifetime value of the customer.
The courses take a modular approach. Module one gives a high level overview of the skills a management accountant needs in the 21st Century. Further modules lasting one or two days will give a deep dive into specific subjects. WE are packaging the first 3 modules together and running these over a 5 day period later in the year. Customers can buy all 3 modules or single modules. Eventually there will be a series of 7 or 8 modules.
Module 2 focusses on helping your business team develop strategy and reporting progress against the strategy using scorecards and dashboards. Module 3 looks at cost management and zero based budgeting. You can take all 3 modules as a single course.
Helping the accountant in practice become a broader business advisor
Kevin is also talking to one of our previous podcast guests, Patrick McGloughlin, about developing training for accountants in public practice to help these people develop better consulting skills.
The accountant’s traditional compliance and book-keeping are being commoditised by the rise of service providers such as Xero and Quickbooks. Making Tax Digital is also simplifying and automating much of the accountants traditional work. To survive and grow the accountant needs to learn new advisory skills and take on more consultancy and coaching work, but he was never trained to do this. Patrick and Kevin are looking at what might be done to help fill the gap.
What is Graham Arrowsmith doing?
Graham is spending much of his time with business partner Steve building a brand new business. Its too early for us to share details about that. But, when the time is right, we’ll dedicate a whole episode to it.
Graham has a new 3rd sector client
Graham’s main business, Finely Fettled, has a big new client. Graham is getting really excited about working with them. They are operating internationally and are looking to attract individuals who want to make a philanthropic investment.The charity is dealing with the homelessness problem.
This charity’s target donor is likely to be part of the affluent over 50’s demographic that Graham specialises in, and Graham will provide an end to end direct mail service for the charity. Graham is working with copyrighter Martin Booth to develop direct mail. Martin was our guest back on episode 148.
Much marketing done by charities focusses on what the charity does, but this campaign is focussing on the donor and what he achieves as a result in investing in the charity’s work. Graham and Martin are doing this by focussing on the conversation the client is already having in his mind.
Finely Fettled specialises in direct mail to the affluent over 50’s. From identifying the right people, crafting copy for your irresistible offer and call to action, designing direct mail sequences, handling postage and capturing respondents through phone, RSVP cards and optimised landing pages. Graham regularly runs successful campaigns in the UK, but the thing that’s exciting him most about working with this charity is the international aspect, particularly running direct mail campaigns in the USA.
How is Graham’s partially addressed mail service developing?
Back in episode 164 Graham told us all about his new partially addressed mail business. This service uses just the address of a potential customer and doesn’t rely on a list of names.So Graham’s progress to date is an obvious question for the business Q&A.
Graham is having great success working with a Theatre based near his home in Yorkshire. Graham has identified the theatre’s typical client by analysing the data the theatre already holds. A geo demographic profiling service matches existing theatre goers with look alike potential clients in a 10 to 15 mile radius of the theatre. This gives postcodes to send partially addressed mail, and then uses the Royal Mail partially addressed mail service, This service means that names of potential clients aren’t needed and the mailing is always compliant with GDPR.
How will Graham know if this campaign has been successful? Firstly, there should be an increase in theatre attendance over the next 3 months. The theatre’s booking system will capture details of new customers. Graham can take this data and use attribution analysis to compare with the mailing postcodes. This analysis should give a very good measure of success.
Whats happening at Silsden Town Hall?
Regular listeners will have heard about Graham’s role as a trustee of Silsden Town Hall. He’s been making some videos and they are great viewing. Take a look at the People of Silsden interviews
What’s the future of The Next 100 Days?
A business Q&A wouldn’t be complete without looking at the podcast. We’ve got some ideas of future shows, and we will be taking a more themed approach, doing a season of episodes around a common subject.
Over 50’s; should we explore this further in the future?
Graham and I are both of a certain age! But aside from this the over 50’s are an Interesting demographic, and quite the opposite from millennials. Graham specialises in marketing to the affluent over 50s, and Kevin has worked with coaching clients who have businesses with a big one 50s customer base. Over 50s have varying degrees of affluence, and the empty nesters start focussing on new things often with time or money to spare. Hobbies become more prominent, and there are new possibilities to travel. So, what sort of marketing do they respond to?
What do we get out of the show?
We’ve never monetised the show, so the reward hasn’t been financial. The value of the show in growing our own business networks has been huge. We’ve already mentioned working with some of our guests, Patrick McGloughlin and Martin Booth. But its more than that. Craig Simpson is a direct mail marketer in the USA and was our guest back in January 2018, and Craig is supporting Graham with his current campaign in the US. Kevin has been working with Jo North, as both face a similar problem of marketing professional consulting services in a world where people with much less experience and qualification can set themselves up as “experts”. Jo is launching a new membership and will be back on the show in a few weeks