WARNING: Rant about to happen.

Hindsight is a wonderful teacher. In hindsight….

  • I wasn’t ready to get married when I was 22 but I did it anyway. I’m still married 26 years later – to the same person!
  • I wasn’t ready to start having children at the age of 25 but we did it anyway. We now have 3 wonderful, grounded young adults.
  • I wasn’t ready to run the London marathon, but I did it anyway. I finished in 4hrs 20min, I didn’t stop, and I didn’t walk. Never doing that again!
  • I wasn’t ready to compete 4 times in the Australian Archery Championships, but I did anyway. Picked up 2 gold and 2 bronze medals and made the Australian team twice in the process.
  • I wasn’t ready to cycle the ‘bike leg’ of a triathlon but I did it anyway.
  • I wasn’t ready to start a global technology business 3.5 years ago, but I did it anyway. Operations now in 6 countries.
  • I wasn’t ready to start my Accountants coaching business 12 years ago, but I did it anyway. So far 434 Accounting firms coached and >$850M of profit added …. counting.

I could go on. I have never been “ready” for anything. I have the attitude to just get started and get ready along the way by getting external help.

As I look back on my life the big achievements have always involved someone external coaching or mentoring me. I tend to get started and get people around me who know what they’re doing, they guide me along the way – as I get ready.

Which brings me to Accountants. When are you ready?

Let me give you some hard data.

I am currently accepting Accounting firms into my Boardroom coaching program. I have positions available in Europe, North America and Australasia. I have been systematically inviting firms I know to participate in the program. The program is about systematic growth of revenue and profit.

Excluding the ones that have already been accepted this is what my current response is:

  • 236 – Not interested
  • 190 – Not ready
  • 83 – currently interested

I really respect the ‘not interested’ group as they’re telling me outright that it’s not for them. It’s the ‘not ready’ (NR) group that perplexes me. Some of the NR group have legitimate reasons like: Personal health, partnership disputes, being acquired, acquiring, sabbatical etc.

However MOST of the NR group have reasons that I think are just bogus. Too busy, systems are not right, wrong people, wrong clients etc.

Here’s my coaching. The systems will never be right. The people will never be right. The clients will never be right. You’ll always be busy! It’s not how much time you’ve got, it’s what you do with your time that’s important.

After coaching Accounting firms to success for so long I find many reasons are excuses. However (and this may sound like a contradiction but stay with me), I did discover a 3-step process for fast growth:

  • Step 1. Get better with what you’ve got – pricing, client communication, internal systems
  • Step 2. Get capacity – people, technology, workflow
  • Step 3. Grow assertively – marketing, sales and value-added services

I totally get it that to grow fast that you need systems and you need capacity.

HOWEVER…. and this is a BIG however. These 3 steps are NOT SEQUENTIAL STEPS. They happen at the same time. As you’re cleaning up, you’re still growing & increasing profits. As you’re getting capacity, you’re still growing and increasing profits.

It’s only the pace of growth that will be determined by the systems and capacity.

I live by this simple success formula:

Goals + Vehicle + Decisions + Actions = Results

I set written specific goals for the result I hope to get. I tune up the vehicle (business or body) as I get going. I make decisions and I implement what I need to implement.

By doing this, the result I achieve is NEVER exactly what I wanted in the timeframe I wanted. NEVER. But often I’ll get close.

Most accounting firms experience moderate growth or flat growth. In medical terms the word ‘flatlining’ means dead.

In business terms if you have flat or moderate growth it is because of the decisions and actions (or inaction) that you made/did/did not make in the past.

Often because you thought you were not ready. The time to start tuning the body was yesterday. The time start developing your business was yesterday. The time to hire external help to guide you whilst developing your business was yesterday.

Don’t wait to get ready – you never will be!