You’ve got the accounting part of your firm down pat. You’ve got your virtual accountants getting some serious work done on your outsourced accounting work, saving your firm both overhead and time, giving it the room it needs to grow. However there’s something else you might be forgetting to do for the benefit of your firm and it’s simply this – you’re forgetting you’re also an entrepreneur.
Being an accountant and being an entrepreneur are not the same thing
It seems pretty obvious when it’s spelled out but you’d be surprised at the number of accountants who run their own firms but only ever wear their accountant hat.
Being the driving force behind the firm’s very existence requires different aspects of your personality – it’s not a concrete position like your payroll specialist, your virtual accountant, or the guy who cleans your office. Being the entrepreneur is perhaps the one thing that cannot be wholly committed to a documented workflow system.
Here’s the number one quality you need to bring to bear as the entrepreneur – the willingness to actually act on your plans as opposed to just dream about them.
Goals are concrete mileposts
The goals you have for your firm are not ephemeral wishes; they are an essential part of the work you put into your firm.
They are the directive that drives everything you do – the people you hire, the work you ship off to your virtual accountant, the décor of your office, the language you use when you speak to clients, how much money you spend on marketing, the flavour of your marketing, the list goes on and on.
Let’s get you started (if you haven’t already) – the very first concrete act you’re going to make as an entrepreneur (as opposed to as an accountant) is to take 10 minutes and make a list of goals. Write down what you want to have achieved for your firm exactly 1 year from now, then 5 years, and then 10.
Is it to have brought in a certain number of new A-list clients? Perhaps you want to expand to include more virtual accountants. You want a new, more successful-looking office. You want to crack into a business industry niche. You want to raise your prices to match the competition. You want to expand the menu of services you have on offer.
Of course, this part is up to you. What’s important here is that you act – that you actually write these goals down on your calendar (and then subdivide them into monthly milestones). Dreaming about these things will get you nowhere.
Hire virtual accountants and in-house talent that can help you reach these goals
Now that you have goals you’ll have a clearer picture of the people you need to get on board to help you achieve them. If, for example, your 1-year goal is to crack the restaurant niche, then you can aim your hiring at people who have dealt with that industry before. If you want to expand your menu of services without slowing down your workflow then you can investigate nabbing another virtual accountant or two.
You’ll also know who you shouldn’t hire, the people who will get in the way of your specific goals.
Hire people who are goal-specific.
Look around for models
You don’t have to entirely reinvent the wheel. Look around for other firms (or other businesses) that have accomplished something roughly in the same wheelhouse as your own goals. See what they did right and what they did wrong and build off that.
For example, say you want to increase the number of your A-list clients. Take a look at how other businesses upped their referral game and emulate them. Your goal isn’t to create a new referral system that nobody has ever heard of before; your goal is to bring in X numbers of new A-list clients within a year, and these referral systems are the tool you use to help you achieve that goal.
The work that you and your virtual accountant do is going to keep your firm where it is now (as opposed to slipping) but what’s going to boost your firm above your competition is how you act as an entrepreneur. Dreaming is for people who are sleeping, acting is done by those who are awake.