Last week, we were delighted to host our annual Elites Masterminding conference here in Cincinnati. It’s always my favorite two days of the year, and this year was no exception. 30 of us commandeered the elegant Seasongood Room at the University Club, and put our heads together to pose questions, discuss challenges, and share successes with each other. Everyone left with notebooks full of what the MBA-types would call “best practices” and “key learnings,” and renewed enthusiasm for the possibilities and opportunities in a planning-based (rather than a compliance-based) business.

Most of the discussion focused on three broad questions:

  1. How can we automate and outsource marketing for new clients? Most of this group are long-term members, and understand that the best clients tend to come from referrals. They’re also comfortable with their planning-based marketing message. But most of this group are also pretty ambitious — lots of members have cracked the million-dollar revenue mark while participating in the network. And they want to at least test colder marketing strategies for broader groups of prospects. That usually involves creating systems to identify prospects, establish initial contact, and automatically follow up with them until they’re ready to sit down for a tax assessment.
  2. How do we actually implement the planning strategies we bring to our clients? How do we bridge the gap between telling a client, “you should take advantage of the Augusta Rule,” and actually determining the fair market rental value, executing a rental agreement, and audit-proofing the whole transaction?
  3. How can we find the people we need to operate our businesses? How do we compensate them to motivate them to be their most productive? How can we “clone” ourselves so that we can focus our personal efforts on the highest and best uses of our limited time?

Part of the reason this meeting is so valuable is because we learn what members need from TMN. For example, with regard to #1, we’ve partnered with a social media marketing company to create complete done-for-you campaigns, with all the ad copy, email sequences, and marketing funnels you could ask for.

With regard to #2, we’re focusing much of 2019 on building and rolling out our Tax Operating System®, another done-for-you system to automate the whole implementation process. (This will be the “killer app” that guarantees TMN’s success in the market — seriously, once you try it, you’ll never leave.)

And with regard to #3, technological developments in machine learning and artificial intelligence will solve that problem for you. Ten years from now, you probably won’t need to hire seasonal tax preparers because technology will be doing all that work. (But don’t worry . . . the robots have told us to tell you that there will be even better opportunities to reinvent your business around the planning and advisory services that clients really want.)

The final lesson from the Masterminding Meeting is the power of community. This was an entirely crowd-sourced event. No PowerPoint® slide decks, no CPE credits, no paid vendor presentations. Just an elite group of peers, gathering to share what works and what doesn’t. And we’ll continue to take advantage of the power of community to make your TMN membership more valuable. Consider these additions:

  • Based on member suggestion, we’re adding a monthly “technology call” to the existing Wednesday Business Development Call and Tuesday Technical Call. The Technology Call will be your forum to ask other members about the technology you use in your business.
  • The Tax Master Network Members Facebook group is up and running, and already drawing more traffic than the old Forum.
  • The “Ski Master Network” will be meeting on January 23 and 24 in Frisco, Colorado, to ski the Copper Mountain resort. Now, I know your knees aren’t what they used to be. And I know you’re worried about taking time off to go skiing with just weeks to go before tax season starts. But the whole point of this TMN enterprise is to build a business that doesn’t depend on tax season volume. You really can take a few days to connect with the rest of us on the slopes, and you could probably use a little more physical adventure in your life. (Email to let us know if you’re interested, and we’ll get you the details as they become available.)

That’s it for today. We’re sorry if you couldn’t actually join us in Cincinnati, but we promise that you’ll still benefit from what went on in that room. And if you like what you see, consider joining us next year for an even better experience!

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