If you have ever flown anywhere you would have witnessed flight attendants giving you the safety procedures in case of emergency.
One of the most logical pieces of advice is that we put on our own mask first, before helping others.
Makes perfect sense right? How can you possibly help your kids or others on the plane if you have no oxygen yourself.
So what does this have to do with running an accounting/advisory service?
If there is one thing I have seen over and over again it is accountants constantly canceling appointments or meetings due to an “urgent request”. We even see it with our members occasionally who offer up the “Sorry, client has emergency so can’t make that coaching session today”!
I get it, clients are important, but when did they suddenly become more important than our own business?
One of our members said to me one day… “Darren, I have gone from reporting to one boss as an employee to reporting to 103 bosses as a business owner”!
Now I am not for one second saying we shouldn’t be bending over backwards to help our clients. But we must be mindful not to overlook our own business health while doing so.
From what I have witnessed over the years is, it is usually sales and marketing that gets ignored or downgraded as a priority every time a client needs something. A lot of time I can almost see the relief when an accountant manages to ‘escape’ the world of marketing to do what they are trained in.
I get emails every month from accountants who say… “sorry, I missed that webinar of yours due to a client needing something” or “a client called in unexpectedly and so I couldn’t get on to the call”
I put this down to three primary reasons:
- Not having yet mastered the mindset of being a business owner over being and employee
- Fear of losing clients
- No particular passion for sales and marketing
Changing your mindset to think like a business owner means building systems and processes that enable you to scale but also understanding that you set your own terms and salary.
An employee will generally do what ever is asked of them, so when the boss says, “Hey, stop doing that for now, I need you to do this urgently for me” an employee will do it… without question normally. A business owner might still do it, but they will do it for an additional price, they will not dump everything else without a second thought, they will check their job scheduling system and suggest some times that the job can be done by. Every client thinks their work is the most important… you do not need to as well.
If the fear of losing a client exists then that tells me that an accountant either doesn’t believe in themselves or that they are not in control of their client base and have generally handed over all power to their clients. This usually happens at the proposal stage where an accountant makes concessions to win the client which the client then takes full advantage of.
Attract the right client, offer the right solution to their problems and charge accordingly. When this is done right the client should worried about the you dumping them, not the other way around.
So this leaves sales and marketing. I am not going to say much on this other than… Marketing done right means selling is not required, automating your lead generation and referrals strategies ensures a constant flow of high quality leads and when you couple this with outcome driven pricing packages then the two issues above will be minimised. But for this to happen you have to make Sales and Marketing your #1 priority every week! If you are not putting sales and marketing first then you are not putting your business first.
So… back to our lovely flight attendants.. when it comes to helping businesses grow, put your own mask on first before helping others.