Today marks the 5th anniversary of my business. On November 7 2005 I started what is now called Nixon Advantage. It was started with the idea that it would be a ‘lifestyle’ business working from home.My first months revenue was $2,000 (I made a loss) and since that month I have been profitable ever since. Little did I know that the service (coachingclub) I designed would be so powerful that I would build a multi million dollar revenue business that employs 16 people.

It’s been a wild ride. What the next 5 years will look like – watch this space?

Coaching

Someone has already done what you want to do. Don’t be so arrogant to think that you know the answers to everything. Hiring outside experts to take a fresh view on your business will shortcut the length of time to implement…dramatically.

If you want to improve your software efficiencies then hire the software usage coach. If you want to improve your communication skills then hire the communication coach. If you want to improve your fitness then hire the fitness coach.

If you want to improve the financial performance of your Accounting firm and build a lifestyle you only dreamed of then hire US – the Nixon Advantage team.

We have a team of coaches and world class methodology standing by to help you.

Build your support team

To think you can do everything on your own is flawed. There are so many projects to implement, so many new skills to learn. Hire some extra people, outsource some of your projects, get others around you who can help you. Delegate to others to get things done.

As the partner or leader of an Accounting business your job is to do a little as possible. However, with what you do it needs to be seriously valuable and ‘high dollar productive’ work. Partners / Principals or Directors should only be doing 3 things. 1) High end chargeable work for a low percentage of time available 2) Nurturing existing clients to find out what they need and 3) Leadership – driving performance of your business.

Everything else is administration. Build a support team of professional administrators and a network of confidants.

Accountability

Let’s face it. We’re all basically slack. If we can get away with it then we will. If we are not accountable to anyone then we won’t necessarily do it. It’s human nature. Very few people are disciplined enough to do what they say they are going to do without any intervention from anyone else.

Me included.

This year I ran the London Marathon. For my condensed training program (17 weeks) I met my trainer (Craig the accountability running coach) every weekday morning at 5am. I would get my butt out of bed at 4:20am and go and do what I had to do – not what I wanted to do. It was terrible. It was like ground hog day. Another hour of training every morning.

I turned up – every morning. Why? Because I was accountable to Craig. I said I would meet him and I did. With limited training (and I wasn’t a runners shoe beforehand) I completed my Marathon by not walking, not stopping and in 4 hours 20 minutes. All applause gratefully appreciated.

If we want something bad enough then we need someone to push you and keep you accountable. Our coachingclub members are accountable to their coach and their peers in their group – they get things done because they said they would.

Implementation – ON time

Just having the motivation, getting buy in and coming up with the plan is not good enough. You need to actually dedicate (as Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth would say) working ON time. You need quiet time to get things done.

No clients, no team members, no suppliers, no damn interruptions!

You need to work out your system for working IN time. I had a seminar delegate one day commit to every Wednesday would be his working ON day. So he proceeded to rip out every Wednesday in his paper diary for the year. He figured that no one could book an appointment with him if the page didn’t exist. What he didn’t realise what that Thursday was on the back!!!

I take my laptop to the cafe’, I write on airplanes (I am on a flight from Christchurch to Sydney as I write this), I come up with ideas when I am on my own. I find that my working ON time (which involves a lot of writing) does not happen very well in the office.

Think of your working week as 10 half days. At least commit to a morning or afternoon per week working ON – that would be 10%. And then build up the time. The more time you spend working ON your business the more your goals will be achieved.

Master Chunking

Once you have your list of projects now what you have to do is chunk them down into categories. You may have a cashflow group, a workflow group, a client service group, a services group, a capacity group etc.

Once you chunk them then this will make the allocation of projects easier to the relevant people.

Key projects

As a result of your planning what are the projects you need to implement to make a difference? It starts as a list and then each project needs to be given a project champion (person who is responsible for the project), and a finish date.

I first learned the value of project management when I was the General Manager of a company. The company was in a mess ($340K losses and $1.1M in debt) and in 15 months my team and I paid back the debt and turned the loss into a $2.5M profit – at the same time increased the revenue by 97%. The team came up with 149 projects to do – we implemented 134 in 15 months.

Our coachingclub members use the Accountants Strategy Map. It’s a list of 390 projects categorised into 10 key areas. All of the projects have been done before by other Accounting firms. If they implement 3 projects per month then it will take over 10 years to complete the list.

Planning

How often do you put your feet up on the desk and simply think about ideas? How often do you surf the internet for ideas? How often do you get you and the team away from the office and plan what you are going to do? You might call it a team or partner ‘retreat’. I prefer that you call it a team advance! You are not retreating – you are supposed to be advancing.

Many of our coachingclub members use an idea from Anne Barry in Stones Corner, QLD. Every quarter Anne and the team have a structured ‘innovation day’. They bring in a temp to answer the phones and for the entire day the team innovate. They come up with new ideas. They plan.

Spending time planning what you need to do will be paid back in motivated team members and improved results.

Buy In

Is everyone in your firm on the same page? Are you all signing off the same song sheet? Are the partners aligned? Is there anyone on your bus that has their hand firmly on the handbrake of the bus?

You need the partners (if you have them) and the team all rowing in the same direction. If you do not have ‘buy in’ then you will have a hard job implementing anything. Getting buy in is not a singular event. As fabulous as our seminars are, sending all of your team to just one of them does not change the behaviour.

You need to create ‘buy in’ events on a regular basis. Our coachingclub members use a series of on-line learning resources to educate and continually get buy in from the troops.

The more ‘buy in’ you have the easier implementation is.

Almost everyone reading this article has had a good idea that they have not implemented. Or you set a goal and the necessary action steps were not implemented – thus the goal was not achieved.

The ideas may have come from a seminar, a book, a podcast, the internet, or even one of my articles or blog posts!

All good ideas at the time but little or no implementation. What a waste of energy coming up with the idea. As my friend Michael Sheargold says “the power of an idea is in its implementation”.

I am an implementer. I get things done and I get them done because I follow my 9 step process. Each day for the next 9 days I will add one more step.

Motivation

You need to start with WHY you would want to implement something. People are either motivated by fixing something or achieving something. If you are 100% delighted with your business progress then you will implement nothing.

As an adviser to Accounting firms my biggest competitor is perceived apathy. The perception is that everything is OK so you get comfortable and apathy kicks in. You need to work out WHY you want to do something different. When we ask our coachingclub members they tell us it is a mix of 8 reasons WHY they implement. Maybe

  1. Cashflow improvement
  2. Reduced risk
  3. Increased profit
  4. Team excellence
  5. Client delight
  6. Personal excellence
  7. Revenue growth
  8. Lifestyle improvement.

Work out a strong set of reasons WHY and you will start implementing.