Greetings from Albuquerque – yep, still here … right on old Route 66 – where we are waiting for some veterinarian follow-up on Buster, our German Shepherd. Next stop – Lajitas, Texas, where we will ride out the rest of 2018.
I hope you found our last conversation about LinkedIn ROI to be useful. If you are sharing content that is not generating the engagement you want make sure the content is valuable to your connections, tell your audience why you think the content is important enough to pay attention to, and always reply to people who Like/Comment/Share what you post.
On to this week. If you’ve been following me, you might know that last week I spoke in North Haven, CT, Nashville, TN, and Baton Rouge, LA. During that tour, I heard anecdotes from practitioners about how some CPA firms are dropping their BVFLS services and moving those service providers back into traditional accounting and tax work. What’s going on?
And if you’re new here, welcome aboard. This is what we do!
A book worth picking up: Company of One. Author Paul Jarvis asks the question, what if the by-product of business success isn’t scale or growth, but freedom? He then proceeds to make a compelling case for making your business better instead of bigger … and that staying small and questioning growth can be more durable and even more enjoyable.
Hey, I make no judgments about what constitutes a “successful” BVFLS practice because success means different things to different people. But if you’re questioning what you’re doing and why (as a firm owner or employee), Company of One may help you clear your mind. The book will be released on January 15, 2019, and is available for pre-order now.
And apparently, it’s not just traditional CPA firms that are having problems sustaining their BVFLS practices. Some BVFLS-services-only firms are also losing traction. All this, while many BVFLS firms are just crazy busy. We seem to be experiencing a bi-polar world.
I think it’s time to recognize – if you haven’t already – that BVFLS is a mature market. And while opportunities still abound, it’s not the wild west land grab that existed in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Still, there are definitely things you can do to improve your odds of success going forward. Here are some questions whose answers can give you the motivation and energy to not just survive, but thrive.
At the macro level
From 30,000 feet, I would ask: #1 – Do you still love this work? And I mean love it. Because if you don’t, you will be crushed by the people who absolutely do and who will do anything and everything to be successful at it. If you’ve lost some lust, ask yourself why. Seth Godin says it is easier to find passion in something you are already doing than to start something new that you hope to find passion in.
Relatedly: #2 – How would you rate the quality of your projects? Think about this in terms of the work you love doing, the clients you enjoy serving, and the fees you are collecting. If there is SOME work you love doing, increase your authority in that industry niche or practice area so you can get more of it.
Rate your contribution to the BVFLS profession. Up to now: #3 – Have you been a thought leader or a thought follower? While I am all in favor of you showing up at industry conferences specific to your practices, the most successful BVFLS practitioners give back to the profession that launched them.
At the micro level
It’s probably been a while since you lost an engagement because you lacked the technical skills to do the work. Thus: #4 – How active are you with your network of leads, prospects, and referral sources that you want to land? Pursue, and I mean pursue relentlessly, the people who can send you the work you want.
People do business with people they know, like, and trust. So: #5 – How well do you present yourself? Make sure your appearance matches the practice goals you have and the aspirational clients you want. Compare your presence and communications to other successful practitioners. Adjust as necessary.
As the saying goes, people don’t plan to fail; they fail to plan. Therefore: #6 – How proactive are you about mapping out your plan? Envision the practice you want two years from now. Then develop the annual goals, quarterly strategies, and monthly tactics you need to meet (or exceed) to get there.
Apathy … lethargy … sluggishness. You know what I’m talking about … the Thanksgiving-turkey-tryptophanic-like effect of practice inactivity and inertia.
If you want your practice to fuel you, you have to take the time and make the effort to fuel your practice. YOUR answers to my six questions can do that.
In real life
Our practices are a direct reflection of the amount of time, effort, commitment, and passion that we put into them.
If there are “bad” practices, it may be because we currently lack the energy, attitude, or imagination to make something great out of them. I can help with that.
Reading that can help
Badass Your Brand by Pia Silva. You’ve already found your Simon Sinek why you do it. From a marketing and positioning perspective, this book can positively influence what you do and how you do it. I’ve been recommending Badass to all of my coaching clients.
– If you like what I write about, tell a colleague.
– If something resonates and you want to reach out directly, email me.
– If you think we share common interests, connect with me on LinkedIn.
– If you want a sense of how well your practice is working for you, take this Practice Self Assessment.