I have a goal.
If Martin Luther King uttered those words throughout his iconic speech, it would have fallen flat.
Goals are important. Most accounting professionals; however, start a firm without specific goals. Or, the business plan ended up gathering dust in the back of your filing cabinet.
Why? Because goals are dull, boring and stagnant. A business plan is concrete. Either you’re succeeding or failing. Rarely is business growth a zero-sum game.
The Story Behind the Numbers
For whatever reason, you own a firm instead of working in someone else’s firm. Many of your peers talk about firm ownership, but remain tied to a steady paycheck.
The numbers tell a story. You, more than most people, realize the importance of knowing your numbers. They offer insights after-the-fact. And they influence the future.
The interpretation, understanding the meaning behind the numbers, is critical. That’s why I’m not a fan of business plans. Goals fail to capture the vision and its full story.
Ditch the Business Plan
I have a dream.
Martin Luther King’s vision inspired a movement. Although all the steps weren’t clearly defined, the story of potential stirred millions into action.
You may wonder how this applies to you?
Whether you’re a bookkeeper, enrolled agent or accountant, you have some ideals about a dream firm. A strategic plan supports your vision. When you aim for your target, you’re more likely to get a bullseye.
The numbers, on their own, aren’t enough. Weave the facts, along with the numbers, into the fabric of your dream firm’s story. Then, the strategic plan acts as your guide.
Define the specifics of your dream firm. Your brain has an inner GPS, known as the Reticular Activating System. According to neuroscience research, that part of your brain responds to meaningful, precise details. It’s similar to putting the exact address into your phone’s GPS.
Write down all your ideas. Don’t just dream about them. Get specific with your numbers.
Here’s an example. You’re aiming for $150,000 in revenue this year. Now, calculate your annual expenses and profit margin.
How many clients do you need to earn $150,000 in revenue? 10 at $15,000. Or 25 at $6,000? My clients use this FREE Raise Your Rates Calculator resource to pinpoint their numbers and value price their services.
Where will you work? Will you be in the same town or is your business location independent? Do you have a home-based business or require office space? Will you have a small team of one to three? Or, manage a team of 10?
What services do you offer your clients? Do you sell training in addition to your services? And do you have a marketing budget? If so, what will that cost?
The details tell a part of the story behind the numbers.
Why Does This Matter?
The numbers matter. It’s the story behind the numbers which fuel your motivation.
Ask yourself why does this matter?
Get real with your answer. The more personal, the better.
Here are some of the reasons my clients seek a dream firm:
- Flexibility to be there for family.
- Freedom to travel and work from anywhere.
- Funding your retirement.
- Building a church for your church.
- Paying off your mom’s mortgage as a retirement gift.
Making money is important. Money, as a primary motivator, isn’t sustainable.
- You eventually burn out.
- The fear of losing income causes you to tolerate headaches.
- Say yes to the wrong opportunities and bright shiny objects.
- Quit when it gets messy.
Without a meaningful purpose, you eventually stray away from your dream firm. It’s your story about why it matters that keeps you from calling it quits too soon.
Purpose and Achievement
Set time aside to work ON your strategic plan.
The process starts with the vision of your dream firm. Reverse engineer your plan, this means starting with the end in mind. Unlike goal setting, you work backwards from the end vision to now.
Since your plan is a fluid, living document, expect tweaks and revisions along the way. Similar to MLK’s I have a dream, you won’t initially know all the steps involved.
Why an Inspiring Strategic Plan Matters
Success means different things to different people. This is why it is critical to clearly envision your dream firm based on your purpose, your why. You will adjust your steps along the way; however, the end goal remains crystal clear.
Whenever setbacks disrupt your plans – they do happen in business – your strategic plan will guide you back on course. Remember, this is your dream firm’s GPS. It adapts and re-routes, as necessary.
Accounting professionals tend to minimize their achievements. Acknowledgment, however, plays an important role. Give yourself permission to celebrate each completed milestone. Maybe it’s a pat on the back or a celebration dinner.
Your Dream Firm’s Strategic Plan
I’m all about accounting professionals being well-paid for the difference you make for your clients. The numbers matter and you’re uniquely qualified to tell the story behind the numbers. So, when we embed your story into a strategic plan it serves as your dream firm’s blueprint.
What would your inspiring strategic plan look like? To find out more about how I help you eliminate roadblocks on the way to your dream firm, claim this FREE resource.
Loren Fogelman, founder of Business Success Solution, is an expert in pricing strategy and sales for accounting professionals. She delivers talks across the United States at major conferences such as Inbound as well as many accounting niche conferences. From 2018 to 2021 she’s been steadily recognized by HubSpot in its list of the world’s top 22 business coaches.