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Top 5 Things I learnt from the AVN Masterclass

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

Last week I spent 2 days in Birmingham at the AVN Masterclass learning about 'putting excellence into practice'. It was incredibly valuable for me as small business owner, with no experience of how to run one, or anyone to guide me.

Prior to the course starting, I had to think about the following :

  1. What are your intentions for attending the Masterclass?

  2. What do you hope to leave with?

  3. What do you hope to learn?

  4. How do you want to feel?

I had a personal phone call from one of the team members following up on the pre-course work. This was very helpful, and got me focused and ready for the days. Luckily I was in the middle of my 45 mins business growth session that I love doing every week whilst Ella is doing her gymnastics, so it fitted perfectly.

My responses were:

  1. What are your intentions for attending the Masterclass?

    1. To work out an effective pricing strategy that reflects my worth

    2. To learn ways to grow my business in different directions.

    3. To reflect on how I run my business, and how I want it to run in the future.

    4. To create a 3-5 year plan.

  2. What do you hope to leave with?

    1. To gain lots of useful contacts.

    2. Strategies to improve my business.

  3. What do you hope to learn?

    1. Different ways to analyse my business.

    2. How to price my services.

  4. How do you want to feel?

    1. Motivated

    2. Inspired

    3. Informed

Reflecting back on the 2 days, I can absolutely say that I fulfilled all of my pre-course intentions, and I want to share the top 5 things that I learnt, and how they will help me with my business.

1 - There are people out there who can help!

Having started my accountancy business from scratch with nothing more than theoretical knowledge on how to run a business, 10 years of teaching about it, half a degree in it and no clients, I truly felt unnerved about that step into the unknown. I now know that there is the opportunity to work with coaches to help you on your journey. I very much felt like I had to do everything myself (which is probably a hangover from how i was as a teacher), but that is not the case. Having the confidence to ask for help, guidance or assistance is tough sometimes, but it will always support you on your journey towards growth.

2 - I was thinking too small!

When I first started, my ultimate aim was to have the same level of income I did as an Assistant Headteacher, for less hours work and more time with my family. I hadn't really considered what I would do when I achieved that or even thought about growth, employees, income levels or working hours. A change in mindset about where the business could go in 3/5/10 years made me think about it in a larger sense, and set myself short and long term goals based on that. Working back from that final vision has helped greatly.

3 - How much I am worth!

As a teacher I had a strong sense of my worth in the profession, 15 years, a 1st class Masters in Education, an Assistant Headteacher, and many great memories along the way. In addition I had a firm understanding of my financial worth for the hours I worked. I once worked out the average £/hr I earned across an entire academic year, taking into account working hours, evenings, weekends, working during holidays. It was a very damning realisation that all my hard work was not equating to financial security. Teachers don't earn enough, full stop! In a chat with Shane, he got me to think about the amount of money I personally want to earn as a sole practitioner, how many hours I want to work, and divide one by the other. It gave me an understanding of the value of my time.

4 - Systems are more important than me!

From the early days of my business I had convinced myself that I was the main selling point for my clients, that people were buying into me. Whilst this maybe true to an extent, what is more important are the processes that are in place to ensure they are getting value. This way the business becomes more than just individuals, but a system that delivers the service to the client. If everyone in the team buys into the system, then it becomes very powerful at ensuring quality. In addition, businesses that operate on a concise system of processes that meet the aims and values are valued higher in the eyes of clients and prospective buyers.

5 - Make time!

It is very easy to concentrate on the operational aspects of the business when things are busy or the workload is piling up. Ensuring that some time is taken each week to work on the business itself is a major driver for growth and progression. I've heard Shane say on numerous occasions that the number one client is the business itself. I for the past 9 months I have scheduled in 45 minutes every week to concentrate on 1 aspect of the business and carry out research and update my action plan. This may seem a small amount of time, but I find it beneficial to do it smaller and more regularly to ensure I actually do it, and not become bogged down in client projects. In addition I try and schedule in a 1hr slot towards the end of the week.

There was so much to take on board from the sessions that I could write dozens more, and I may follow up with this in the future. I would 100% recommend that anyone who was in the same position as me go to this masterclass. Look at it as an investment, and it will help to grow not only your accountancy business, but you as well.

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