Four Steps to Gaining Business Clarity

How does your current business look compared to the one you dreamed about before you started your entrepreneurial journey?  Do you now have clients you love, a dream team, the financial rewards you are comfortable with, and plenty of free time?

If not, don’t give up.  You can still get there, and a little business clarity may help you get there even faster.  Here are four steps:

1.      Choose your business model wisely.

Business models in the accounting profession, and professional services in general for that matter, are surprisingly homogeneous.  The main way to leverage growth is to hire talent and have them deliver client services.  While that’s a great business model, most accounting practices (and especially solo practices) are stuck because they are still operating as technicians and not as true CEOs of their business.  I did this for years before I realized what skills I was missing to become a CEO.

There are also many more revenue options that can help to increase the top line.  A few examples include retainer work, technology fees, software commissions, and product sales.

The phase of business that you are in can also have a huge impact on profitability.  Accounting firms in general struggle with optimizing processes.  Often, when employees are hired at a higher skill level, there are no standardized processes; the employee simply serves the client in the way they feel is best.

Getting clear about your business model will lead to improved profitability.  Oh, and that time problem you have now will disappear.

2.      Figure out the vision thing.

When we first get in business, we’re pretty much happy to have any client who pays us.  From there, we build a client list based on who shows up.  After a few years, we’re so happy to have a growing business that we may not realize that our clients are running our business (and we lost control quite a while ago).

Doing “the vision thing” will help you take your own business back and shape it in a way that gets you back on track to fulfilling your dreams.

3.      Develop a revenue plan.

I’ve lost count of the number of accountants that come to me saying, “I want to do fewer taxes…. less bookkeeping… more consulting…. more training.  Very few accountants are happy with their current revenue mix.

Why not take a proactive stance and attract the clients you want so your mix changes to what you want to do in your business?  This step is about creating a revenue plan for your business.

4.      Create your marketing plan. 

Once your revenue plan is complete, it’s simple to create a marketing plan.  It’s great if you can fill your practice with referrals; however, most accountants I hear from say that they are not getting enough referrals to make the income levels they want to.  That’s where marketing comes in.

Rather than approaching marketing reactively (e.g., “My week’s not full – I need to do something!”), take the time to create an annual plan that will keep your pipeline more than full.

Try these four steps to create a great start to 2013, and if you’d like more in-depth information, it’s not too late to join Accountant’s Accelerator 2013, where we will be doing this 4-hour series and a lot more throughout 2013.  The link to sign up and find out more is right here: