What assets aren’t you selling?

February 18, 2009

Often individuals and organizations become so focused on their primary business, they don’t fully appreciate all their core skills, talents, and resources. Sometimes it takes an outsider, or a bestselling book like Strength Finder 2.0.

Charles McCabe founded People’s Income Tax, Inc. in 1987. He planned to open multiple tax offices in central Virginia, so he started The People’s Income Tax School in 1990 with the intention of staffing his offices with graduates from this program. McCabe couldn’t have foreseen how the tax-preparation industry would shake out. Over the past two decades, People’s has lost market share to national tax firms, TurboTax, TaxCut, and IRS Free File. The tax school, however, is thriving.

Initially, the tax school was a way to level-out the extreme seasonal cash flow of the business. When Warren Drake, a vendor from Drake Software, asked, “People’s Income Tax is the only independent tax firm I know of that has an income tax school like Block’s; why don’t you sell it to other independent tax firms?” McCabe was tempted to brush the idea aside. Thankfully, he didn’t.

Peoples’ highly seasonal tax business has morphed into a year-round operation with seasonal tax preparers working during the off-season to develop and update curriculum, sell to licensees, exhibit at national trade shows, provide instructor support and administer the learning management system (LMS) used to deliver tax courses directly to thousands of distance learning students via the Internet. Peoples’ new vision is to become the standard for tax preparer training nationwide, and they are well on their way to attaining that goal. The tax school revenue from e-learning alone was up in 2008 (month-to-month compared to 2007) by 44% for October, 90% for November, and 248% for December.

With a poor holiday shopping season in the books; layoffs, foreclosures, and bankruptcies dominating the news; and no clear end to the recession in sight, it’s time to take stock. Not just of who is left, but what is left. Discover your strengths as a brand and as an operating entity. And play to win on those assets. What assets aren’t you selling?

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