Fuel Your Firm's Growth With a Strategic Planby
If you're struggling to improve your accounting firm's growth and profitibility, you may need to develop a strategic plan. As business coach Loren Fogelman explains here, a strategic plan allows you to start tracking your firm's goals, helping you to move toward making your dream firm a reality.
Growing your accounting firm is like making a cross-country trip from New York to Los Angeles. Either you forgo a map and head in a general westerly direction, or you plug the end destination into your GPS. Which one sounds more like your firm’s growth strategy?
Many small firms, especially those that begin as a side business, grow organically. You eagerly accommodate all client requests and, as a result, find yourself all over the map. Eventually, exhaustion replaces enthusiasm, and you run out of gas.
A strategic plan serves as a roadmap, keeping you on course toward your dream firm. It helps you gain clarity about who you serve, what you offer and how to grow. Instead of your firm running you, you run your firm.
Does Your Firm Need a Strategic Plan?
Do you ever realize that a string of hectic work days has turned into hectic work weeks? It can feel like sitting in rush-hour traffic alongside other commuters. A strategic plan can help you avoid the inefficiencies that make work hectic. It’s like a fast pass to the express lane.
Accountants, tax advisors and bookkeepers often overlook the importance of creating a strategic plan because working in the firm jams up the calendar. Consequently, they fail to set aside time to work on the firm. Your dream firm can feel like an impossible destination, but an inspiring strategic plan can accelerate your firm’s growth.
Forget About SMART Goals
Leave the SMART goals where they belong--in the 80s. SMART goals, like business plans, are something you’re encouraged to develop. Yet, this goal-setting strategy fails where it matters most: motivating you. As with New Year’s resolutions, your drive to complete SMART goals gradually dwindles over time.
The timeframe for completing SMART goals is often inflexible. While we would prefer business growth to be straight and linear, it gets messy. That’s why setting a specific date to achieve a goal isn't realistic. Sometimes you’re required to extend a deadline because of an unexpected roadblock. SMART goals are overly rigid, whereas the world is highly dynamic and ever changing.
A better solution exists. Consider why you first started your accounting firm. You envisioned one day arriving at a specific destination – your dream firm. Your strategic plan maps out the course.
If a roadblock shows up, no problem. Simply alter the course to your final destination. You’ll remain engaged from start to finish because of what your dream firm represents to you. It’s important to remember it’s not all about the destination. The reason why you want to achieve this goal is what drives you forward.
Know Your Numbers
I realize you’re busy working in your firm, which brings in money today. But it’s like driving along an old, historic highway with traffic lights and stop signs. Working on your firm means your actions today will propel your firm forward, putting you in the express lane.
You might know everyone else’s numbers; schedule time to zero in on your numbers. You’re more likely to achieve what you want if you define and track your numbers. Pinpoint the weak spots that lower your numbers. Then, carve out time to strategically plan how to improve your numbers. Finally, determine your next steps.
Figure out what decreases your profits. Is it low-value clients? Do some services have low profit margins? What about your team members? Ask yourself these hard questions to improve your own financial picture.
Boost Income and Profits Without Working Additional Hours
Time is your most valuable asset. You never get your time back; once time passes, it is gone forever.
Many of the accounting professionals I work with wonder how to increase revenue and profits without sacrificing their precious time. At that point, we create the roadmap to strategically increase revenue and reduce workload.
Those strategic plans include:
Clients: Review your clients, from low value to high value.
Cash flow: Plan to increase profit margin and revenue.
Core services: Communicate your value with your services offerings.
Consultations: Enroll high-value clients this way, especially when you don’t want to sell your services.
Community: Define who’s on your A-team.
Here’s an advanced insight: You end up doing less, not more. When my clients implement their strategies, they are no longer grinding away at their firms. Earning more money and getting back your personal time is well worth it.
Bypass the Goals
On your cross-country road trip, you’ll pass breathtaking scenery and navigate around hairpin turns. Similarly, your strategic plan adjusts for wrong turns along the journey. Define milestones, which serve as stepping stones within your roadmap.
Since your strategic plan is fluid, modify your milestones as necessary. Every 90 days, carve out time in your calendar to review your progress and adjust your milestones. Circumstances that are beyond your control will require you to re-route your course, and you'll gain insight along the journey.
Growing your dream firm requires consistent, steady action. Let’s turn your vision into a reality sooner rather than later.
A Strategic Plan Highlighted by Value Pricing Will Speed Up Your Growth
Your plan maps out your firm’s journey, allowing you to earn more while working less. Make today the day that you kick-start your firm’s growth. Zero in on your numbers. Then, start the journey toward your dream firm.