Mark Zyla’s four-step approach to building authority in BV

BVWireIssue #209-1
February 5, 2020

practice management and growth
business valuation marketing, valuation practice management

When you think of fair value measurements, one name that immediately comes to mind is Mark Zyla, who recently launched his own firm (Zyla Valuation Advisors), which is based in Atlanta. How did he become a leading authority in this area of practice? It doesn’t happen overnight, as Zyla explained during a recent interview with Rod Burkert (Burkert Valuation Advisors LLC). “You need to have a long-term plan,” says Zyla, who used a four-step strategy to build his authority—to great success.

  1. Choose a practice area. Pick an area that you are interested in and that hopefully has some promise. Zyla mentioned that estate and gift would be a good area for someone just starting out. Even though recent tax law changes have put a damper on this area a bit, it’s relatively “low risk,” and there is a lot of guidance available. Whatever niche you choose, go into it gradually and don’t immediately abandon every other area of your practice.
  2. Start giving back. Become involved in the valuation profession by serving on committees at your professional association or other group. Zyla was part of the group that developed the first valuation in financial reporting advisory from The Appraisal Foundation. He currently chairs the Standards Review Board at the International Valuation Standards Council. Not only does this help cement your authority, but it also puts you on the cutting edge of thought leadership that you can apply in your own practice.
  3. Write. When asked what one thing contributed most to building his practice, Zyla pointed to his book, Fair Value Measurement, Practical Guidance and Implementation, which has just come out in its third edition. Burkert agreed that writing a book has become extremely important to differentiate yourself in this profession. “A book is today’s business card,” he says.
  4. Let the world know. It’s one thing to become an authority, but you need to let everyone know about it. Get out in front of people by, for example, speaking at conferences or webinars. And don’t just target events your peers attend; get in front of potential clients and referral sources, such as business owners and attorneys. Zyla is also a big proponent of social media as a good way to broadcast your authority.

The interview was part of Burkert’s webinar series, Practice Development INSIDER, that features some of the leading valuation practitioners revealing their time-tested ideas behind building a practice. The next webinar will be February 7 and will feature Gary Trugman (Trugman Valuation). For more information on the series, go to Burkert’s website.

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