I never meant to be an accountant. I love to teach, so my first company was a computer training company. I used QuickBooks to run my business, and before long my clients were asking me to teach them QuickBooks. And then they asked me to do their bookkeeping!
About 3 years into this, one client who happened to be a graphic arts company told me my company name did not reflect what I was doing, and they gave me a new name complete with letterhead, & business cards. That is how Ten Key Business Solutions was born. Before long I was providing high-level QB consulting, data file repair, payroll services and solving complex accounting issues.
Was it my ideal business? No.
Building Your Ideal Practice
My business. like so many others, came about accidentally. I didn't intentionally examine what I was doing and compare it to what I wanted to do.
There are seven key areas of your practice that you need to focus on, assess, and create a plan to bridge the gaps between where you are now and where you'd like to be with your practice. I also mentioned that the first three areas could be considered the proverbial 3-legged stool which creates the foundation of your entire business model. Of course, there are always more things to fine-tune, but if you'll put your first efforts into these 7 areas, you'll have an incredible structure to build on.
- Ideal You
- Ideal Service
- Ideal Client
- Ideal Technology
- Ideal Business Process
- Ideal Engagement
- Ideal Team
Being the Ideal You
In the last article, we drilled down on the first leg of the 3-legged foundational stool to explore what it means to know the Ideal YOU. I encouraged you to search out that common thread that weaves throughout your life leading you back to your original motivation, which drives you even to this day to reach for a specific feeling, fulfillment, or accomplishment. Once you identified your WHY, I challenged you to write out your personal vision/mission/purpose statements followed by your business vision/mission/purpose statements.
Defining Your Ideal Services
So now, let's take a look at the 2nd leg of the 3-legged foundational stool and identify your IDEAL SERVICES. So often people end up building their business accidentally. It starts out with having a skill or providing a service because someone needed it.
I've talked to many bookkeepers whose services developed similarly. They stepped up because they could solve the need, and then the next thing they knew, they had built an entire business around that skill or service. It didn't mean that they "wanted" to be providing the service, but they were good at it and there was a demand for it, so it was a natural fit.
Defining your Ideal Service isn't about what happens by accident.
It's about clearly identifying those services that, when provided, will bring wealth to your clients and provide wealth directly to you in the form of fulfilling the objectives that lead you straight to your vision and purpose.
So, what are the qualities of an Ideal Service?
1. An ideal service aligns with your vision because it speaks to your WHY. If you ever wonder why you're doing something, answer the question with your vision statement. If it fits, you know you're on the right track.
2. Your Ideal Services fit within the high-level bullets of your Mission Statement. Sometimes your mission statement will change as your business grows and matures, but for the most part, everything you do should easily fall within one of those bullets.
3. Your Ideal Service upholds your Purpose. When you created your purpose statement, you clearly defined the change you intend to have in the world. When you deliver your Ideal Service, it should clearly lead in the direction of that outcome.
What are the benefits of defining your Ideal Services?
In addition to aligning with your vision, mission and purpose, your Ideal Services should appeal to your Ideal Clients. There should be a natural fit so your clients need and want what you love to do, and so there is a significant market demand among your Ideal Clients for your Ideal Services.
Your Ideal Services creates wealth for your clients in the form of monetary gains as well as intrinsic gains such as lowered stress, better work-life harmonization and appropriate owner remuneration. Your Ideal Service also creates wealth for you as the provider in both monetary gains and non-monetary gains such as the fulfillment of your vision/mission/purpose work, delight in creating synchronous win/win outcomes, and fulfillment in building and nurturing strong, healthy client relationships.
Your Ideal Services are priced to your value and produce a healthy profit. The age of hourly billing is gone as you bring all your years of experience, knowledge gained through investments in your growth and education, and all of your triumphs and tragedies to the moment. You protect your client, you nurture your client, and you invest in your client, which are actions that can only be priced in terms of the wealth you generate for your client, not the passage of a minute on a clock.
In addition, once you define your Ideal Services you can more easily implement standardization and automation and, ultimately, scalability. They require minimal oversight from you, the practice owner, thus minimizing their impact on your capacity and freeing your to lead your practice to greater heights.
Here is my challenge to you.
As you start to define your Ideal Services, be sure to take an inventory of the services you currently provide and decide which ones no longer fit your model. You'll want to create a plan for terminating those services and easing the impact on any clients receiving them. Also think about services you WISH you were providing, and determine any knowledge gaps that might be holding you back from incorporating them into your business model.
Thank you for joining me on this journey to an Ideal Practice. My next article will focus on the 3rd leg of our stool, identifying your Ideal Client. Until then, be the best YOU providing the best SERVICE possible!