"His video series on pricing has enabled me to up my prices by between 30% and 200%!"
This is one of the many wins that Buhir has got after joining Reza's mastermind programme.
Buhir Rafiq of Total Books based in Cardiff & Bristol
What was life like for you before you joined the Mastermind programme?
Before I joined the Mastermind program, I had been running my practice for 10 years and I've always been trying to improve it but I never had clear guidance on what to improve. And I was spending a lot of time dipping in and out (of content) prior to joining Reza.
I spent a year on another program with another mentor by the name of Mark Lee. So it was a set of emails and guides on those emails to follow, which was good - but again, I never really found the time to follow up and do the things that I was supposed to be doing.
And the way I've always learned is by being put to act and having accountability to complete the things I have to complete with deadlines and stuff. So I've just kind of bumbled along with my practice.
In a lot of things I had fallen behind, got last minute and although I've made a lot of good changes I really didn't know what to concentrate or what areas to specifically get better at, or what would help me improve the most or where to go with it really.
So I started looking at lots of different mentors, a gentleman by the name of Rob Nixon, Heather Townsend, Mark Lee, Della Hudson, Reza.
There's quite a few in the market I'd come across And I was looking at their material, looking on their websites, reading their blogs and joined them on LinkedIn and Facebook (and Simon Chaplin as well) and learning from them, but there was no structure there.
So now for me, it was like dip in, grab something, try it, dip in, try to grab something, try again. And I knew I really wanted a mentor. So I reached out to Reza. I was looking for a mentor and I read through his stuff that he was putting out that had come to light for me.
I'd seen Reza's videos on a couple of occasions before - actually four or five times - I'd seen his videos. And so I knew of Reza.
And then one evening, I was thinking about Reza and using him. So one early morning after my prayers, I just reached out to him and said, "Look, you know, I need some help and support. can I possibly start it with you?"
How has being part of the Mastermind group helped you?
I'd already made the decision before joining him. I wanted to join him. It was just an intuition, a supported intuition. So I decided to go with that. But what I'm getting is 10 times more than what I thought I would get.
It's structured, it's focused.
We have broken down in extreme detail through Reza's structured process of The 4 pillar assessment, where I am, what I want to do and where I wanna be.
What I need to action in positioning (my message and firm) and pricing and other areas like people and we're working on that, we work on it every month when I have my one-to-one with Reza where he tells me what to do (focus on).
He follows up on me and I work on those actions but over and above that we have our Facebook group. We have a tight knit community of about 600 people in the Facebook group, but there's also about 10 people in our Mastermind group.
So I've got a fly reel of experts that I can bounce my ideas and gain support from. And on top of that Reza's deep dive monthly (mentoring) sessions which are way over and above what I'd ever expected!
What tangible benefits have you seen?
A very weak area for me was always productivity and doing the least important things and just wasting time on things that were not really that relevant in me running my practice. I spent a lot of time through core sessions with Reza and through advices of the team and advices of books to read and things to put in practice that have saved me on average two to four hours a day by reducing bad habits.
This is something that Reza really concentrates on and (helping me to) improve good habits of prioritising time in the right place, doing the work that needs to be done when it needs to be done, working on the right thing one at a time to benefit my business.
In the six months I can easily say I've saved hundreds of hours through productivity learning how to be more productive, and utilise that within our business. So that's one area.
Reza has been kind enough to refer relevant software that he feels are useful to the problems that I have at the time. So one was pricing software. We went through a review (together) of Go Proposal, Practice Ignition and Cloud Pricing.
Reza gave me a run through of all of them (as he has access to them all so he can best advise us) and we made a clear decision as a team together on which one to choose and I concentrated on that.
Attached to that has been Reza's (online training content) video series on positioning and pricing. His video series on pricing has enabled me to up my prices by between 30% and 200%!
I realised I was too cheap and (Reza helped me) to put my prices up and I started doing it. I started running through a repricing for all of my clients which will be continued over the next year. So the ability to understand value pricing and offer my services not by the hour, but by importance to the client for what they need doing to resolve their problems is a big big step forward for me.
Also learning to use (the right) software and implementing it in my business. Reza focused on what core software I should have. He said you need your (own practice) Xero you need your receipt capture software and you need your practice management software in, and get them all working together.
So I've (now got my core App Stack) of Accountancy Manager, Xero and moved on to Hubdoc now so that's a massive step forward. If I didn't change to cloud and improve I could lose my practice basically because I'd fall behind the times and now it just keeps growing and growing.
And (now Reza is) pushing towards niching and marketing specifically into the niche I'm serving which is going to again increase my profitability considerably.
We've looked at our margins. We've looked at our profitability. We've looked at our pricing and billing - I've changed my work-in-progress (drastically). As an example, I'd start with somebody in April 20, they stayed with me for a year to April 21. I'd do their accounts for them nine months later on the deadline, which is what I used to do. So a year and nine months after starting, I would be doing some more work for them, even though they'd been my client for a year and nine months and answering their queries and resolving their problems and doing work for them and then I'd bill them one or two months after that. So actually I might be billing two years after I started and signing them up!
But what we've done now (after Reza's advice) is concentrated on monthly direct debits across the year from day one pre billing for the year in advance. So I've now got negative WIP which I had just realized and learned about.
I've got stability in my income through putting everybody on Go Cardless collecting via direct debits - that's a massive win for me. And my pricing is becoming (better) and charging for all of the things that we are doing (using) my pricing table. Using software and tweaking, measuring, doing more proposals.
I'm happy with the fees we charge now, more confident to run the (initial) sales meeting and just keep improving, keep pushing and anywhere I feel that there's weaknesses I just chuck in a quick query (on the Whatsapp group) and just keep sharing and supporting.
It's just a massive win-win. It's made me loads of money! It's made me tens of thousands of pounds (in saved time and extra fees) For example Reza says "use Loom it's going to save you time". Loom has saved me tens of hours every month. At my charge out rate of £100 an hour, that's 10 times a £100 which is a £1000 a month, just by him saying, "Oh, use a bit of software Buhir because this one's going to be good for you" as he understands where I am and pushes for me to use things, to write content to help me move the needle in my business".
And he reigns me in as well! Cause I always want to do a hundred things at once. So he's like Buhir, not this now and just concentrate on that. So yeah, if that helps (describe the) tangible (benefits).
What would you say to someone thinking of joining the Mastermind programme?
Just do it!
I haven't looked back what an absolute, no brainer.
We have this thing in our culture called the 'Laddu'. It's a round sweet thing that you eat. You can buy it from local Asian sweet shops. Very common. But if you looked at a 'Laddu', and you didn't know what it was, you wouldn't touch it. You'd be like, what is that? I've never seen it before - until somebody offers it to you with a cup of tea that has tried it and you eat it. And then (you say) actually I know what one of them is now, I will definitely get one next time! 'Cause it tastes absolutely awesome. So it's like that. You don't like to try it but once you try it, you're smitten!
So, that's my thoughts I'm a (self appointed!) brand ambassador (for Reza) because he's done so much for me. And I wish everybody (like me) had the opportunity to help their practice to grow as well as I have (with the help of a mentor).