TaxAssist Discovery Day - Feedback

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After my previous terrible experience, when reviewing an important business deal my starting point is  to look at what is being offered, the trustworthiness of business concerned and whether what is being offered will actually be delivered. Based on my attendance on the  Discovery Day, feedback from existing and ex TAA franchisees, TAA get a big tick from me on this criteria. 

The Day

Unfortunately I was late. I missed the crucial introductions with other potential franchisees. I understand all the people attending were accountants either in industry or practice. I regret not being there on time.

An extremely clear explanation was provided on the franchise package that was on offer and TAA business model. As I expected they did not pull any punches. In other words they said guys this is what we offer, our costs, our brand, our staff and our business model. If you buy into it lets talk. If not fair enough, thank you for your time. 

What they did not say join us and you will not regret it. 

Business Model

After being in business for over 10 years, they have made mistakes, learnt from it and fine-tuned their business model. If you follow their model it works. 

Systems 

With them systems all written down (it’s all done!)  and it is online. What a relief. I saw a sample of systems notes, they looked good. 

Sales and Marketing 

They have a team responsible solely for sales and marketing aspect. Making sure their website remains on top in Google terms. Plus all the other marketing activities that working as a solo even a small team you just would not have the time. 

Shop-front – Advice

They would provide advice on location, setting up and running of a shop-front. 

Much, Much, More

I have just mentioned some areas that are important to me. There is so much more they provide. 

Is it worth going on Discovery Day?

I am surprised the information they give away on the Discovery Day. Even if I do not join the franchise, I have picked up some real gems from the day that I will use. My day certainly was value for time (one day). 

Do your Homework

I am a little disappointed with some of the comments made about TAA. These comments are made by people who have not done their homework. In my opinion the way to do the homework is to undertake you own due diligence. This means attending the Discovery Day, speaking to existing and ex TAA franchisees.

I was part of the negativity about TAA - my reason was pure jealousy. How dare accountants without accountancy qualifications do so well! I trained for years and look at me! Who said life is fair?   

My Overall Impression about TAA 

A highly professional and a trustworthy business. They make it very clear what support they will provide and what they expect from you. Furthermore, they reminded potential franchisees think very very carefully before signing the franchise agreement. In addition, they went out of their way and made it clear the franchisees they are looking for.  

Which way will I go?

I do not know. Having said that I am impressed with TAA. If I sign up with them and follow their Business Model, the risks of losing out are minimal.

On my own I make mistakes, they cost me and I learn from them. One advantage of an established franchisor is I would avoid those mistakes and my progress would be at a far speedier rate. Let's also not forget the exchange of experience within the franchise network. The benefit of this is massive.  

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14th Feb 2013 18:48

Google?

Your practice and my practice are high on the first page (3rd and 4th) of Google but the local  Tax Assist office is on the second page.

What do the systems cover?

 

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18th Feb 2013 10:56

What search are you running?

petersaxton wrote:

Your practice and my practice are high on the first page (3rd and 4th) of Google but the local  Tax Assist office is on the second page.

What do the systems cover?

 

Hi Peter, what search are you running as I'm seeing our results are doing quite well for 'Accountants in Wimbledon'?

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18th Feb 2013 11:12

Post code

taxassist wrote:

petersaxton wrote:

Your practice and my practice are high on the first page (3rd and 4th) of Google but the local  Tax Assist office is on the second page.

What do the systems cover?

Hi Peter, what search are you running as I'm seeing our results are doing quite well for 'Accountants in Wimbledon'?

I searched on "accountants SW19" as the post code is more usually used in London.

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19th Feb 2013 09:34

Using the Adwords Tool

petersaxton wrote:

taxassist wrote:

petersaxton wrote:

Your practice and my practice are high on the first page (3rd and 4th) of Google but the local  Tax Assist office is on the second page.

What do the systems cover?

Hi Peter, what search are you running as I'm seeing our results are doing quite well for 'Accountants in Wimbledon'?

I searched on "accountants SW19" as the post code is more usually used in London.

Hi Peter, I've researched this using the Google Adwords Tool and Google reports there are less than 100 searches per month via postcode for SW19 compared to 390 per month for 'Accountants in Wimbledon'. 

 

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19th Feb 2013 10:59

Who's doing the searching

taxassist wrote:

petersaxton wrote:

taxassist wrote:

petersaxton wrote:

Your practice and my practice are high on the first page (3rd and 4th) of Google but the local  Tax Assist office is on the second page.

What do the systems cover?

Hi Peter, what search are you running as I'm seeing our results are doing quite well for 'Accountants in Wimbledon'?

I searched on "accountants SW19" as the post code is more usually used in London.

Hi Peter, I've researched this using the Google Adwords Tool and Google reports there are less than 100 searches per month via postcode for SW19 compared to 390 per month for 'Accountants in Wimbledon'. 

I just wonder who is doing the searching. It could be bots or anything. Whenever I talk to people who are looking for an accountant in London they search by post code. It makes more sense to look at the area you would consider and enter post codes rather than try to work out the relevant area names. For example. I am in SW19 but I'm not in Wimbledon. Colliers Wood and Southfields (most)  are not in Wimbledon but they are in SW19.
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19th Feb 2013 11:07

Who's doing the searching

taxassist wrote:

petersaxton wrote:

taxassist wrote:

petersaxton wrote:

Your practice and my practice are high on the first page (3rd and 4th) of Google but the local  Tax Assist office is on the second page.

What do the systems cover?

Hi Peter, what search are you running as I'm seeing our results are doing quite well for 'Accountants in Wimbledon'?

I searched on "accountants SW19" as the post code is more usually used in London.

Hi Peter, I've researched this using the Google Adwords Tool and Google reports there are less than 100 searches per month via postcode for SW19 compared to 390 per month for 'Accountants in Wimbledon'. 

I just wonder who is doing the searching. It could be bots or anything. Whenever I talk to people who are looking for an accountant in London they search by post code. It makes more sense to look at the area you would consider and enter post codes rather than try to work out the relevant area names. For example. I am in SW19 but I'm not in Wimbledon. Colliers Wood and Southfields (most)  are not in Wimbledon but they are in SW19. Other areas are a lot more complicated.

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19th Feb 2013 11:56

That's fine but

petersaxton wrote:

Your practice and my practice are high on the first page (3rd and 4th) of Google but the local  Tax Assist office is on the second page.

Your initial statement about being higher is quite misleading when it's only for one specific search.  We market our practice based on where they are located and based on the maximum opportunities of being seen which works very well.

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19th Feb 2013 12:03

Misleading?

taxassist wrote:

petersaxton wrote:

Your practice and my practice are high on the first page (3rd and 4th) of Google but the local  Tax Assist office is on the second page.

Your initial statement about being higher is quite misleading when it's only for one specific search.  We market our practice based on where they are located and based on the maximum opportunities of being seen which works very well.

I searched for "Accountant Wimbledon" and FT was first and TaxAssist was 12th.

How many searches do you want before you retract your statement that it is misleading?

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19th Feb 2013 15:55

Have you cleared your cache?

petersaxton wrote:

taxassist wrote:

petersaxton wrote:

Your practice and my practice are high on the first page (3rd and 4th) of Google but the local  Tax Assist office is on the second page.

Your initial statement about being higher is quite misleading when it's only for one specific search.  We market our practice based on where they are located and based on the maximum opportunities of being seen which works very well.

I searched for "Accountant Wimbledon" and FT was first and TaxAssist was 12th.

How many searches do you want before you retract your statement that it is misleading?

I've run all of these searches, cleared out my internet history/cache and run searches on different PC's our positions are on page one.  FT features well on most of these searches also.   Google's Preview tool - http://adwords.google.co.uk - also provides the same results. 

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Thanks for reporting back FirstTab. I am currently considering franchises as well.

I have reviewed the TA brochure and it mentions that they may reduce the initial fee (£35k) for qualified accountants due to reduced technical training.

Did they mention that and in particular the level of reduction on the Discovery Day?

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18th Feb 2013 11:04

Full training provided

Hi papalazarou, the franchise fee is the same for anyone who joins the franchise.  The Chartered accountants who come through our training always state they were glad to have gone through the process as they may have been working in industry and had not been through a set of small business accounts for many years.

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By Flash Gordon
15th Feb 2013 09:28

Current clients

FT, what will your current clients think about you joining TA? Is it going to change their perception of the service you offer? Sounds like a hell of a lot of money when you're already established in your own right.....

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.

I would say Tax assist is great if you want to build that type of 'high street' practice with lots of bookkeeping etc. 

That said I would rather forget the franchise fee, get a prominent office, lots of signage and do the same thing myself without the overhead (ie you could blitz the local paper for the same annual fee every week to build the trade up) but that's me, that's not you.

However it all comes back to you, Tax Assist can perhaps generate some leads for you with their brand, but can you convert them and you still have to run the business as now and do the work. Ie that wont change, just as putting on your suit doesn't change who you are, although it might help a bit if it boosts your confidence, but that is just temporary. 

 

 

 

 

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15th Feb 2013 16:27

Thanks for the response all. 

I think it is best for any questions about TAA to be addressed to them. This includes questions on their costs. 

Flash - I do not think my clients would mind which way I go. 

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15th Feb 2013 16:54

.

 

 

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15th Feb 2013 21:45

Questions?

I don't think any questions are needed.

There doesn't seem to be any logic in you paying TaxAssist so much money. I'm sure you will come to the same decision.

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Alternative idea?

FT,

How about as an alternative:

1.  Hire a P/T marketing person to do mailshots/ telemarketing etc.  say 3 days a week £15k.  at 50p in the pound, this should generate around £30k in new fees.  You will need to  do appts., lets say 1 in 3 convert to clients at an average fee of £1k.  £30k in fess is 30 clients, which is 90 sales meetings (+follow ups, chasers etc).  Allowing for holidays, that's around 2 a week, which is manageable (you'll also have sales meets of networking activities, referrals etc)

2.  Hire a good quality AAT to do the technical work for both the new clients and existing ones.

3.  Spend your time doing the following:

1. Creating and documenting your systems.  Take 1 at a time and complete it.  Aim for 1 a week and in a year you'll have 52 new systems in place

2.  Meeting with new prospects

3. Following up with prospects

4. Selected networking events

5. Clients meetings

Wouldn't that give you a better return on your £35k?

BUT, before you do any of that - work out who it is you wnat to serve and what your proposition is

 

 

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By Flash Gordon
16th Feb 2013 14:28

Another alternative idea...

Pay Stewie to be your business mentor, do what he tells you, save a fortune, earn a fortune, retire young(ish) and travel the world :)

Repeat after me 'Stewie's ideas make perfect sense, I will carry them out' - keep repeating until it sinks in and you're putting them into action!!

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16th Feb 2013 15:11

Maybe FT should go for it!

It would solve all his problems, wouldn't it? Agreed, the cost is high, but so long as he follows the 'business model' he is virtually guaranteed success. Isn't he?

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19th Feb 2013 12:31

Anon

I was hoping remain Anon. 

What a give away! 

 

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19th Feb 2013 15:06

Sorry!

sorry

I was hoping to remain anonymous, too!

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19th Feb 2013 16:07

Yes

and FT still comes higher than TaxAssist

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19th Feb 2013 16:47

That was never the point

petersaxton wrote:

and FT still comes higher than TaxAssist

This was never the debate, I stated you had been misleading with your general terms that we are not on page one which simply is not the case.  We've never made comment about your website and we would kindly ask that you don't mislead others about our positions in Google.

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19th Feb 2013 17:31

How can you say that?

It always depends what you are searching for. You can't just ignore that.

I wasn't misleading at all. I searched on "Accountant SW19" and I stated the results. TaxAssist decides to "optimise" for "Accountant Wimbledon" and still comes below FirstTab. I would suggest that you would consider better SEO than what you are doing. If FirstTab signed up with you it would appear that his Google ranking would be inferior to what it is without signing with you. I would kindly ask that you shouldn't ask people like FirstTab for money so you can push them DOWN the Google listings!

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20th Feb 2013 12:35

You've avoided my point

petersaxton wrote:

It always depends what you are searching for. You can't just ignore that.

I wasn't misleading at all. I searched on "Accountant SW19" and I stated the results. TaxAssist decides to "optimise" for "Accountant Wimbledon" and still comes below FirstTab. I would suggest that you would consider better SEO than what you are doing. If FirstTab signed up with you it would appear that his Google ranking would be inferior to what it is without signing with you. I would kindly ask that you shouldn't ask people like FirstTab for money so you can push them DOWN the Google listings!

It does always depend on what you are searching for so I'm glad you have made that statement because:

"Your practice and my practice are high on the first page (3rd and 4th) of Google but the local  Tax Assist office is on the second page." was your original statement which misleads anyone reading this as you did not clarify the search you used to the reader therefore it was misleading.    It was only when I brought this up did the reader find out more.

The fact is our sites are optimised for the largest amounts of traffic available.  We are ranking very well and there was only one single search term we are behind on which I've shown drives extremely low volume (under 100 searches per month).   We rank in position two for 'Accountant Wimbledon' so again your statements are incorrect. 

All in all, whille SEO is an important marketing activity for growing your accountancy practice, it isn't the whole picture of how to start, grow and run a successful practice.  It literally takes us a day to go through all of the support, facilities, guidance and leads we provide our accountants with and people make the choice to come on our Discovery Days based on the information and the prosepctus we provide.  I think FirstTab has done a great job with his website positions but we've never asked anyone for money, people choose to join our network and want to invest in their future to grow a sizeable practice in retail based premises.  

 

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20th Feb 2013 13:13

Websearch

I've just searched accountants SW19 and Taxassist don't appear on the first page!

 

p.s I don't know who FT & Peter are, but I know Taxassist aren't there.

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20th Feb 2013 13:20

Google search for 'Accountant Wimbledon'

7th on my google search Taxassist!

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20th Feb 2013 13:45

Quick points

Despite the fact I am on first page in my local area I am not doing as well as I would like to. 

As my OP outlines TAA provides so much more than Google listings. I remained impressed with what they offer. 

I am at due diligence stage. Even if things do not work for me with TAA, I will still retain the utmost respect for TAA for their openness and their honesty. 

 

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20th Feb 2013 14:22

Statements of the obvious and some I can't agree with

 

“It does always depend on what you are searching for so I'm glad you have made that statement”

I think the vast majority of people understand that. It’s not like I was discussing non-accountant related searches.

“"Your practice and my practice are high on the first page (3rd and 4th) of Google but the local  Tax Assist office is on the second page." was your original statement which misleads anyone reading this as you did not clarify the search you used to the reader therefore it was misleading.”

That doesn’t make it misleading. What I searched for is what the majority of people who look for an accountant use in South London.

“We are ranking very well and there was only one single search term we are behind on which I've shown drives extremely low volume (under 100 searches per month).   We rank in position two for 'Accountant Wimbledon' so again your statements are incorrect.”

In EVERY case (not one) you are behind FT so you will not be helping him in his Google ranking.

“it isn't the whole picture of how to start, grow and run a successful practice.”

Of course it isn’t. I don’t think anybody was saying it was. Maybe I’ll be criticised again for being misleading when I don’t state the obvious.

“we've never asked anyone for money”

Now that is misleading!

“As my OP outlines TAA provides so much more than Google listings.”

I don’t think anybody is saying that they don’t.

As Stewie has said. It would appear that you could get what you need for a lot cheaper than TaxAssist expect you to pay. But I have heard that TaxAssist don't ask for money so you may be on to a bargain there!

 

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20th Feb 2013 15:02

An old saying

petersaxton wrote:

As Stewie has said. It would appear that you could get what you need for a lot cheaper than TaxAssist expect you to pay.

"Buy cheap, Buy twice".  You can get anything cheaper than someone else is offering but you have to get the right support and the right advice from experienced professionals who can demonstrate success.  Working from home won't grow the business you may wish to grow.  We know because our franchise started that way and we realised we needed to make that change. 

As we can all see the search results differ for users depending on if they are logged into Google (with a Gmail account perhaps) or possibly haven't cleared their cache.  Google have proved that the majority of people in South London don't search by postcode.

Overall, I would be wary of taking advice from someone who may be friendly on here but could be a competitor.  It looks to me like you offer the same service in almost the same area. 

 

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20th Feb 2013 15:52

Those comments were uncalled for!

taxassist wrote:

Overall, I would be wary of taking advice from someone who may be friendly on here but could be a competitor.  It looks to me like you offer the same service in almost the same area. 

Your comments about Peter are quite offensive, as they imply he has an ulterior motive, and is deliberately giving bad advice. You may not agree with his views (as many don't) but those comments were uncalled for, and unprofessional.

EDIT: for the sake of clarity. My remark was a general remark, in that none of us have the full agreement of all members, all of the time. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we don't!

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20th Feb 2013 15:38

I'm sorry but it should be highlighted
My comment is purely there to advise. I have no inention of offending but anyone on here should take care with the guidance provided as it's an industry forum and it is not always in everyone's interest to give out the best advice.

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20th Feb 2013 15:45

Long standing members

taxassist wrote:
My comment is purely there to advise. I have no inention of offending but anyone on here should take care with the guidance provided as it's an industry forum and it is not always in everyone's interest to give out the best advice.

The long standing members on here know that Peter treats FT no different to anyone else. I agree that a lot of rubbish is spouted on this forum, for personal gain, or other motives, but I have never seen Peter be influenced by gain or competition. 

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20th Feb 2013 15:52

Thanks

ShirleyM wrote:

The long standing members on here know that Peter treats FT no different to anyone else. I agree that a lot of rubbish is spouted on this forum, for personal gain, or other motives, but I have never seen Peter be influenced by gain or competition. 

Thanks Shirley, I will take that comment on board as you are probably on here more than I am.  For clarity, I didn't say he would but I just urged caution that is all.

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20th Feb 2013 15:39

Motives

 

“Working from home won't grow the business you may wish to grow.”

FT doesn’t work from home.

“Google have proved that the majority of people in South London don't search by postcode.”

I think they do. I think the searches are skewed by bots and businesses checking results rather than looking for an accountant to help them.

“Overall, I would be wary of taking advice from someone who may be friendly on here but could be a competitor.  It looks to me like you offer the same service in almost the same area.”

Now you are showing how desperate you are. There’s plenty of accountants around me. I don’t think I would talk nonsense purely to influence FT. I think plenty of people agree with my comments.

I would have thought you have a lot more to gain by FT giving you £35,000 plus regular amounts in the future. I’m more than happy for people to make their own judgement about our respective positions and our motives.

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