10 lessons I learned as a business owner that accountants like you need to know too. Here they are in a nutshell…
Lessons learned blog by James Ashford from GoProposal
I had a great chat with Scott Scarano and Nikole Mackenzie on their podcast, ‘Accounting High.’
There were no holds barred. We delved into my scarcity mindset phase and the later creation of GoProposal, right through to the exact figure I aimed to sell GoProposal for to give my family the life we want.
Scroll down and listen to the whole episode, ‘Jedi Mindset Shifts,’ now.
If you don’t have time, I identified 10 lessons I learned as a business owner that accountants like you need to know too. Here they are in a nutshell…
This is a rule not just for accountants, but what everybody needs in life. Most people find it difficult to charge what they are worth and stand up for it, but it isn’t really your fault.
The thing that steers decision-making in our brain is primitive. It isn’t designed to make us rich or get anything we desire, rather it’s designed to keep us alive by keeping us part of the tribe and keeping us safe.
Understanding this psychology can help you challenge it head-on…
When challenged to raise your prices, it’s that decision-making part of the brain kicks in. Your fear of rejection manifests as a fear that you’ll lose all your clients.
Also, by nature as an accountant, you’re trained to find everything that’s wrong. That makes you a great accountant, but when you’re looking at your own business decisions, it’s detrimental to look for everything that could go wrong instead of what could go right.
I often talk about how GoProposal is run on systems, and how important it is to have systems* in place from day one if you’ve any chance of making your business successful.
It is through these systems that enabled the team to run the business efficiently without me in it, even though our marketing strategy gave the illusion that I was present every day…
*Don’t know what systems you need to implement in your business? We have a free download that walks you through the 7 Systems of a Successful Accountancy Firm here.
From the very beginning of GoProposal I was positioned as a ‘Key Person of Influence,’ a strategy inspired by Daniel Priestley’s book of the same name.
I documented what we were doing through video marketing, made many stage appearances, and all this was filmed and saved as assets for the team to use and manage my LinkedIn profile.
Now, we encourage the team to document and share their own learnings and experiences to become key people of influence too, to showcase them all as experts in their fields.
Don’t be afraid of encouraging your team members to do the same. Not only does our large online presence drive customers to us, but we’re great at recruiting too, even in a candidate’s market where it’s difficult to find strong employee’s. We’re inundated with strong applicants for our roles.
We have robust playbooks that maintain our standards. People challenged me that these standards would slip as we grow. I argued that would only happen if I let it! We have very strong values which aren’t cute gimmicks like ‘table football.’ We hire and fire by them.
If you don’t already have a set of values outlined in your business, make it a priority. Work with your team to develop them and have them written on the walls. Hold people accountable to them. Ensure that improvements to processes are constantly updated in your playbooks.
”I hired an Ops person at a time when I wasn’t really ready to hire for a non-sales role who wouldn’t bring in revenue. She was a huge believer in the GoProposal methodology, and I hired her anyway. Even though she wasn’t a sales person, she used GoProposal to reprice clients and generated more revenue than her salary. She knew how to prove her value.
Nikole Mackenzie, Momentum Accounting
I’m often praised for my positivity and abundance mindset, but I haven’t always been this way. I went through a long phase of having a scarcity mindset. I felt like everyone and everything was against me, down to the name of the street I grew up on being ‘Littleworth Road!’
When I went to a talk with Tony Robbins, I told myself that this was going to be the event that changed my life, and I was right. It was my breakthrough moment. The student has to be ready for the change.
How does this relate to your accounting firm? You have to be open to, and ready to make significant changes to your business if you hope to see a change in the results you achieve.
I gave two company owners the same training. One took on all the advice and thrived, while the other continued to struggle.
One day, I asked the question, ‘Can you tell me how you buy stuff?’
The first said with enthusiasm that they buy what they want, when they want, and if it isn’t right, they just return it.
The other is a cautious shopper. She likes to take her time and not rush into anything, and this was the attitude she projected onto her clients too.
I realised that we don’t see the world as it is. We see the world as we are.
Therefore, it’s important to prioritise working on yourself first, for 80% of the time, and your business 20% of the time. In doing so, your business will take care of itself.
I consider myself blessed with the people who surround me, but I’m very intentional about surrounding myself with good people.
A peloton is the group of cyclists who shield the main cyclist as they get through the race. You’ve got to get your peloton right.
Notice when you’re around someone negative, or listen to the news, which is full of negativity? You need to get skilled at blocking that negativity out! Give yourself the brain space to become hyper-focussed on your business and growth.
The trick of success is to set the bar low, because it isn’t about the result it’s about your trajectory. It’s a strategy from James Clear’s Atomic Habits. All you need to be successful is to be on an upward trajectory, but people get hooked on the final result.
For example, if you’re excited about a new £1000 client, what about the clients you already have who aren’t paying enough? It’s more cost efficient to retain and upsell clients you already have than to keep bringing on new contracts.
Remind yourself that while the purpose of your business is to make money, you ARE there to help people. You’re helping your clients to grow their business and achieve their own personal goals as a result.
Remember, you can’t help everybody, but you can help everybody within your reach.
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