Getting out of your own way: Part 1

Exponential growth starts with defining your why and building your vision

This is Part 1 of a three-part series. Here are the links to the other articles in this series.

Part 2: Empowering others so you can lead into the future

Part 3: The art of communication while leading others

Big goals for 2023 and growing your CPA firm?

Executing change and scaling a mountain can feel very much the same: insurmountable.  Each task though can be accomplished with specific steps, sometimes small, that create a clear path to the summit. The key is execution. 

Exponential growth, scaling your firm, starts with defining your ‘why’ and creating a clear vision.

Define your why

The best place to start is determining your purpose and what your firm has to offer.  Taking time to reflect on your passion and firm’s purpose will give you a roadmap to propel your team forward to execute.

1. Why does your CPA firm exist?

Let’s face it. Owning your business isn’t for the faint of heart. There is a reason that you decided to go into business for yourself. Whether you’ve been in business for 20+ years or are new in your entrepreneurial journey, revisiting what you set out to do brings clarity and reignites your passion.

2. Who do you serve?

Every firm has an ideal client.  The one that needs exactly what you have to offer.  It takes courage to admit that your firm is not for everyone…and everyone is not for you.  Narrow your focus to include only those who will benefit from what your business has to offer.

3. What is your company’s specialty?

Change is hard.  Don’t look at it as giving up or losing opportunities.  Reframe your thinking.  Look at your current situation.  What are you really good at?  Where does your expertise lie?  Find that niche and commit to capitalizing on it. 

4. What drives you every single day?

What gets you out of bed and into the office each day? Passion is contagious. How does this passion translate to exponential growth? By focusing on your long game and turning your ‘why’ into a vision that everyone in the firm is empowered and inspired to participate in.

Your vision

Now that you’ve identified your why, let’s roll that positive energy into a clear vision for the business. Creating and documenting your vision is the critical first step to get into a position to move forward in sync. It is the foundation for creating a brand and a team that come together harmoniously.  This is not the time for flowery language, ethereal concepts, and words that sound impressive but mean little.  

Rather, create a simple, clear, and timeless vision by following these few simple steps.

1. Determine your core values: what professional values must each person in the organization represent?  What do those values mean, and how can you provide examples of what they look like to your firm in various scenarios? 

2. Find your core business: who can you serve best? What is your firm’s superpower? Something that you excel at in your market?

3. Plan for the future: what are your specific measurable goals for the next 90 days? One year? Three years?

4. Include the team: how does each role fit into this new vision? Be able to communicate to each person how their role fits into the big picture. Communication is critical- both individually and at the team level. Every team member plays a crucial part, and by allowing the team to understand the sum of the pieces, they will work together more effectively to achieve both short and long-term goals. 

5. Issues List: yes, there will be challenges. Document every obstacle that is standing in the way of any team member. Prioritize them based on how they impact your goals in the next 90 days, and address them head on. Left unaddressed, the ‘issues’ on this list can derail your progress entirely.

Steering your firm in a new direction begins with knowing where you want to end. 

Once you invest the time to identify your why and your firm’s why, the next step is doing the work to dissect why you are different, what your niche and superpower are, and roll everything into a vision that can be communicated with the team. With a vision in place that everyone buys into and understands how they fit into, you are well on your way to building the momentum that will lead to achieving your growth goals.

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