It’s time to recalibrate the purpose, nature and measure of worth for business relationships and strategic alliance partnerships.

Indeed, the review must extend to supply contracts, collaborative marketing initiatives and networking activities.

There is increasing awareness that such connections are effecting little, no or declining mutually beneficial outcomes. The direct and indirect costs are formidable.  

Individual self-interest and territorialism are significant common barriers, impediments and filters to the original idealistic objectives of team and joint endeavours.

The subsequent and recurring investments of time, money, people and resources are recording little tangible, quantifiable and monitorable benefits.


Pursuit of immediate, now profits misses a key strategic outcome.  

Profit is not the purpose of business. It is a consequence.

Fundamentally, all activities in commerce should, or must be to the benefit, advantage and reward of existing, prospective and, yes, to past customers and clients.

Value is the countervailing force to cost. When value exceeds cost satisfaction, repeat and referral business, loyalty and sustainable competitive advantage are natural outflows and consequences.

Subsequent increased incomes are often recorded, received and, for some, banked.

Therefore, deliberating, determining, defining, articulating and sharing the value that one intends to bring into a relationship, no matter its scale, nature or complexity, are imperative, and are effective and key accelerating elements.

That’s right, a focus on the input, not the take-out of an existing or intended connection. It’s refreshingly different … and of interest to others.


Accountants are an interesting breed. They enjoy a privileged position in commerce. The power, authority and influence they exercise, particularly with many owners of small to medium sized enterprises are daunting, if not alarming.

They are, in many instances, the first and the last point of reference for important, significant and substantial decisions.

In recent times, with an economy that is challenged, confronted by headwinds and typified by rampant, widespread discounting, squeezed margins, contracting discretionary expenditure, accounting practices are themselves being subjected to review - and accountability.

Increasingly, the discipline and its practitioners are being identified as a cost, rather than a revenue-generating factor.

Perhaps expectedly, the first agenda item for many accountant-client meetings is their fee total, and how best to lower such.

Introduction of lower-standard bookkeeping services is well intentioned, but misguided. The real issue is value. References to cost are symptomatic of the underlying concern.

Complementary services, including financial planning, insurance consultancy, estate planning and legal services, are typically recognised by clients to be primarily for the advantage of the accountant rather than themselves.

Likewise, the conduct of client events addressed by providers of accountancy software packages, at the conclusion of which attendees are invited and encouraged to contemplate the outlay, and investment in expensive packages are widely identified to be offensive and inappropriate. Discount offers do not temper the negative resultant emotions.

I have been retained by a number of astute accountancy practices to address existing and prospective clients on how they can best increase their revenues, enhance and sustain their competitiveness.

Strict parameters ensure no so sales squeeze to buy professional services at the conclusion.

Value is derived from investment in the relationship, to the advantage of the client. It works … - for both parties - in the immediate, intermediate and longer term.


Requests and demands for suppliers to contribute to, or pay for cooperative advertising, featured point-of-purchase displays, product sampling exhibitions and the like, are often repetitive, costly and ineffective.

There is a better way. The challenge is, to find it.

We have enjoyed the experience of providing insights on consumer and client perceptions, preferences, purchasing criteria and buying patterns which enable, and empower, the participating partnering entities to capitalise on their own creativity, innovativeness and entrepreneurship.

I think it’s called, win-win.


The inordinate number of hours which are committed, and usually wasted, in attending business networking events is breathtaking.

It is difficult to justify spending time with 100 other business people, each of whom is seeking to increase their revenue sources.

Few, if any, ever register and attend such gatherings with the intention of investing or effecting expenditure.

It is important to evaluate the worth of such activities. They need not necessarily be summarily dismissed. However, they are an opportunity – cost. Alternative pursuits exist.

There is value in consistently identifying, respecting and quantifying the opportunities that are forsaken by attending such networking events.

Convenors, coordinators and facilitators are usually ranked highly among those who profit most.


In communication, I learn most, and benefit best when I listen … - to the other people.

In research, I ask concise, targeted questions and gain invaluable insights … - from other people.

At conferences, I’m inspired most by the interactive workshops I facilitate following a keynote address, - by the participants.

There is a lot to learn, earn and spurn from the benefits, advantages and rewards, which are directed to, and enjoyed by others in relationships, alliances and partnerships.

Barry Urquhart

Conference Keynote Speaker 

Marketing Focus

M:        041 983 5555

T:         9257 1777

E:        Urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au

W:       www.marketingfocus.net.au