CPA Tidbits – “I’m more than a bean counter!”

beancounterSure, you have your trusty calculator by your side most all of the time, but this derogatory phrase – “bean counter” – doesn’t mean you slave over spreadsheets every waking second. You are much more than that – and your clients NEED to know that!

The strongest message you can give your clients is that you aren’t there to count beans, you’re there to GROW the beans! Many accountants would have a hard time grasping this concept but the ones positioned for growth will embrace it with arms wide open!

So how do you change your image from a bean counter to a successful bean cultivator?

  1. It all starts with trust – you need a solid reputation for providing top notch advice. We all know that behind every good business is a great accountant. Make sure your firm emotes that sentiment in every encounter with the public.
  2. Have a little fun – People, in general, appreciate laughter, humor, and honesty. Your reputation for being a capable professional can still thrive even if you stop being so serious. Your goal is to be approachable, relatable, and sympathetic to your client’s concerns. You may just reach a bigger audience by being yourself and reminding people that you are more like them than the IRS.
  3. Find people who can help you – You can’t do everything alone and you don’t have all the answers! So why not find employees who can offer specialized solutions for your top client issues and who aren’t burned out on crunching numbers and memorizing excel formulas? Learn to become a leader and excellent communicator to your employees – that will afford you more face-time with the clients and prospects who will help grow your business.

For more inspiration and ideas on how CPAs can live on the north side of average, let’s connect!

5 Tips to Turn Your Dream into a Career

DREAMS.jpg

It’s not considered work if you love what you do for a living, but could you actually make the something you love into a career? There are many career options out there, some you’ve thought of and some that are so bizarre might not have crossed your mind. There’s always a rising star popping up in the media, there’s always a new best-selling author, there’s even a guy who sells snow! The possibilities are endless as far as how you can make money and more importantly how you can turn your dream into a career. How exactly do you go about doing so? Use these tips to get started.

1.) Educate yourself: If you want to work in a particular field, you have to know it inside and out. Research what it takes to make it in your chosen profession, take necessary classes, or even find a mentor whose walked the same path and found success at the end of it. Educating yourself on everything involved in your dream will bring you closer to seeing it unfold before your eyes.

2.) Make goals: Once you’re aware of how to go about obtaining a position in your career choice, you can begin planning the necessary steps that’ll take you from where you are now to where you see yourself in the future. Setting goals not only pushes you through the journey, but allows you to see your accomplishments along the way.

3.) Work hard: As important as it is to set goals, there will be no progress if you don’t reach them. Put forth your best effort in any free time you can manage so you can achieve each goal and move on to the next one.

4.) Don’t make up excuses: Doubt will visit you without an invitation; it will lead you down a trail of thoughts which will have you questioning your worth, your talent, and your time spent. This is an inevitable factor. What is in your power is whether or not you let doubt consume you, and if you don’t want your hard work to go to waste, don’t allow it to stay. Maintain confidence, remain focused, and keep telling yourself you’re almost there.

5.) Don’t let failure stop you: Not everyone has an insane amount of luck to succeed on the first try. If you do, that’s great, but for the rest of us who have to face rejection, we must understand that it’s okay to fail. One or even multiple failures does not set you up for a lifetime of failing. You don’t stay on the ground when you fall, you get back up, brush yourself off, and keep going. So don’t give up; keep moving forward.

 

Your Brand May Need a Facelift

faceliftLet’s face it, we all want to develop a winning strategy! According to a recent Forbes article, “When it comes to building your personal brand, a coach can be a powerful resource who can help you get out of your own way, stand out, and take action to achieve the things that are truly important to you.”

1.) Developing a Winning Strategy: Although this article is specifically referring to personal branding, the same is true for what a professional coach can do for you. A coach can clearly set out a strategy that will help you achieve your goals by bringing an “outsider” in with an expert point of view. This can allow you to see strengths and weaknesses that you may have never considered previously. By identifying these items and setting a plan, you will be able to find your advantage in the market.

2.) Gain the competitive advantage: Once you know your strengths and weaknesses, you will also be able to identify your opportunities and threats. Knowing the competition is key to knowing how to compete in your market. A coach can help you know what will set you apart from the competition and help you gain the lead over your competitors.

3.) Being free to focus: Another important advantage that coaching presents is the freedom to focus on what is really important. The same Forbes article warns folks that don’t take advantage of a coach, “you could be limiting your career success. That’s because coaches help you identify and focus on what’s important, which accelerates your success.”

A coach takes the pressure off by guiding you through the branding process. A coach can clear up the branding details for you so you can focus on your product or service and know that you have the tools you need to succeed and attract customers.

These are just a few reasons to love what small business coaching can do for you. To talk more about this, or anything else, please contact us.

-Valerie

Deciding Where to Focus in Your Business

focus2I’ll never forget the one, gut-wrenching moment when a business mentor called me out on everything great we were doing at our firm. “Valerie, you keep telling me all the things you guys are but what I’m not hearing is who are you not?” It hit me like a bullet between the eyes! He was right! In fact, he was so right that there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by since where his words haven’t echoed like a freight train in my mind. We had grown an amazing business but were wondering why we couldn’t get to the next level and it had to do with one simple thing…we were focused but not focused enough!

Until that day, I thought I fully understood the power of focus, – in marketing, in strategy, in client service, in virtually every area of our business. For me, focus always came instinctively and, as a business owner, my nature has always been to question whether every action we take will lead to a nice return on investment (ROI).

Return-on-investment usually boils down to money; what will give us the best return for a given investment of resources. I believe you can only pay yourself in two ways: 1) by making more money, or 2) by finding more time to do the things you love. I think we often forget to focus on what parts of our business we find satisfying and fun because we’re too busy focusing on what the market looks like or on what types of customers we can reach.

So, for us, the question, “who are we not?” led us to the answer we’d been searching for all along. It redirected our focus to the opportunities we saw in the marketplace and away from the parts of the business we didn’t enjoy. Today, the payback has been exceptional, and I owe it to a perceptive, bold coach who was willing to risk telling me something I may not want to hear.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you could use some advice on keeping your business goals in focus.

 

5 Tips for Winning at New Year’s Resolutions

winning at new years resolutionsJust yesterday when chatting about turning the page to 2016 a friend said to me, “I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I didn’t become a better person!”

Ok, here’s the thing.  We all have something we really want.  We think about it often, it’s in the back of our minds every single day in some way or another and it’s very personal to us.  Getting fit and healthy perhaps?  A new business endeavor?  Organizing your life?  Spending less and saving more?  Enjoying more time with friends and family?  Simply put, one of two things have happened – we’ve either made a conscience choice not to pursue our goal or we’ve likely failed before at trying to achieve it.

If you’re contemplating a New Year’s Resolution for 2016, you should know that scientific research tells us you have a 92% chance of failure*.  So what are the winning 8% doing successfully?  They’re throwing glitter at the new year and kicking adversity in the face!  Here’s how:

  1. They Want It! Sometimes we just think we want something, a stark difference than truly wanting it. Other times we think we should do something because of outside influences but we don’t actually want to do it. Start by asking yourself, am I making this resolution just because…or do I want it so badly I will sacrifice whatever it takes to make it happen?
  2. They have their priorities straight. When looking at your life, you need a list of your top five priorities. Write them down right now. Seriously. Write them down. If your resolution doesn’t fit into the top five, you’re going to have a tough time achieving it. Consider focusing on another goal that is perfectly aligned with one of your priorities.
  3. They are confident their goal WILL be achieved. Research indicates that the winning 8% have a higher degree of confidence than those who eventually fail. You should consider your confidence level. If you are not at least 70% convinced you’ll make it happen, it’s not worth your commitment or energy.
  4. They don’t tell anyone about it. Numerous scientific studies dating back to the 1920s support the idea that you should keep your resolutions to yourself.   Seems backwards from what we’re taught, huh? And it’s not just about self-accountability. Think about the feeling and emotions that would come from telling your friends your goal has been achieved. It’s a euphoric idea, isn’t it? Science tells us that when we share a big goal with our friends, your mind is tricked into thinking it’s already been reached.   When your goals are acknowledged by others, it feels real to your brain – like social substitution for that euphoric state. Moral of the story, don’t Facebook your resolutions this year!
  5. They embrace the power of positive thinking. We all have a choice to tell ourselves we will succeed or tell ourselves we won’t. As one of the most victorious Biblical characters, David said, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is,” Proverbs 23:7. When establishing a new habit your first step should be to create an ongoing practice of constructive thoughts. A pattern of negativity will simply squash your big plans.

I’d love to share more ideas with you on living a life on the north side of average!  Subscribe and share today!  Happy New Year to you!

*John Norcross, University of Scranton, 1985