This morning, on the way in to my office, I was listening to a radio program that talked about how most television reality shows are scripted. In other words, very little is actually spontaneous.
I’ve thought this for years. Too much of the juicy, coincidental stuff that creates angst for “real people” in these shows just can’t occur happenstance. Still, most of us feel compelled to watch for one reason or another. I generally stick to Top Chef, but have been known to venture in to the Real Housewives territory. Yet, I still say NO to Honey Boo-Boo.
This got me to thinking about accounting firms and reality shows. What’s the connection? I think there are two kinds of firms: those that leave their future to fate and those that script their lives in real time.
Firms that don’t script or write their future certainly live in what some may think of as a more dynamic, creative and exciting environment, but I don’t think that’s the case at all. What they’re doing by not mapping out what they want to accomplish, in a strategic manner, are risking too much. They are the firms most likely leaving money and clients on the table.
How can you write your firm’s future while still leaving room for creativity? I think it’s all about setting goals:
- Client-Focused Goals: What kinds of clients do we want to attract? How can we keep the clients we have? How can we develop more referral sources to keep the pipeline going?
- Staff Goals: What can the firm do to ensure it keeps the most-promising staff around, not for the next year, but for the next 5 years? What will be the source of new staff? What does the firm need to offer in the way of benefits beyond the obvious? How can the firm train its staff to deliver and sell its accounting services?
- Firm Goals: Are there other service and industry niches the firm should be in to set itself apart from the competition? Is there a realistic succession plan in place? What are your projections for revenue for the next 1, 2 and 5 years? How are you going to measure success? What kind of investments are being made in technology?
It also doesn’t matter if your firm has 3 people or 300 people; the issues are mostly the same, even with the succession planning discussion. The bottom line is that you must think about all of these issues if you are going to survive for the long term. While it might be fun to fly by the seat of your pants, the plain truth is that you’ll have a much happier, satisfied client and employee base if you figure these things out.
Write your script today!