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What Needs Are You (or Should You Be) Filling

Every accountant should build their service around meeting the needs and wants of their clients and prospects beyond doing their accounts, tax returns, offering advice etc.

Humans inherently have an in-built set of needs and wants.  These were expressed by Maslow in his hierarchy of needs.  Maslow observed that people only want the next level when they were fulfilled with their current level.

Let me explain.  Everyone starts at the bottom of the pyramid and moves up. 

The levels are:

  1. Physiological: This is basic survival. We all need food, water, sleep, clothing, shelter and basic sanitation to survive.  Your clients will have this covered.
  1. Safety- once people have the bare essentials covered, they then seek safety. Simply put they have shelter (a home), food, heat etc. and want to ensure they have these things in the future.  So, they want a stable income which covers all their bills.  If you are working with start-ups, this is where they usually are.  They need a stable income for them and their family before worrying about huge business growth.
  1. Love and Belonging- when people feel safe, they look outwards to building relationships. This goes beyond finding a romantic partner.  It includes building a network of friends and contacts.  This includes belonging to a club or networking group, being part of a community, being respected and liked etc.  You can help your clients to fill this need by making them feel part of your client community.
  1. Esteem- here we find people who want to improve their self-esteem. They want to learn new skills, raise their profile and take their business to the next level. Business owners will not look to take their business to the next level until they have a stable income (safety) and have a set of clients and customers (love and belonging).  It is at this point, you should be offering your additional services.      
  1. Self-actualisation- this is where people (and businesses) reach their full potential. Businesses at this level have the internal self-confidence to broaden their skill sets, expand and grow.  Individuals at this level will have personal trainers and life coaches.  Businesses will have multiple advisors including Non-Exec Directors.  They will be growing and will be looking to put in place succession planning. 

You should look at where your clients are on the pyramid and how you can help them to the next level.  People and businesses at the safety level will not have much to spend and will just want the basics from you.  At the esteem and self-actualisation levels, individuals and businesses will be very happy to invest in their business and growth. 

If you want a discussion on how you can grow your accountancy practice and help your clients, then please get in touch.  Click here