Who does not battle the fear of change? It is all around us. Throughout our entire life, we have battled change growing up in our childhood and throughout our professional lives. As a business owner, that fear of change is even worse! What if the decision we make is wrong? We have many people counting on us to make the right decision. We have family, friends, team members, clients, and our clients' team members that are counting on us. What if we change and it is the wrong decision to make?
I face this fear every day. I have a team and their families are dependent on me to make the right decisions (not to mention my own family). I had to make the decision to completely change my business model from what it used to be. As I have discussed in the article “I Used to Love What I Do, But Now...” I had to change what I did. My business was a job, not a passion. I was working all the time and not getting much in return.
The fear of changing this model was terrifying. And it still is sometimes.
Without fear, I know I am not growing as a person. I look back to who I was 6 years ago, and I am not that same person. As my business has changed, so have I. I would like to think I am a better person than I was then.
As I have talked to so many people in the accounting community, I realized that many of us want to change our business, but fear gets in the way of doing it. It paralyzes you from making those hard changes. Yes, you change technology and the way you do things a little, but when it comes to big changes, you stop if challenged. Whether it be by your clients, team, or, most importantly, yourself!
Just an example, you decide that you do not want to do tax work any longer. You are having trouble finding staff and tax law is getting more and more complicated. The IRS is getting more and more difficult to work with. You are tired of the cycle of it all. You are tired of working from January to April and not being able to do anything outside of work. You just have too much work to do. You want to be able to help your clients with more than just compliance work, but during tax months you can't do anything but tax. Then you have a new bookkeeping client come to your door and they want you to also do their tax work. What do you do? Do you say yes to the tax work with the fear of losing the bookkeeping work? Or do you stick to what you want and say no to the tax work? That is a hard decision!
That is what I am talking about fear. You are a business owner and in the above example, you have the fear of leaving work on the table even if it is work that you don't want. What if they go somewhere else and they take all the work? As a business owner, you are looking at cash flow and overhead expenses and thinking well what would it hurt to take one more. In my example above, it may eventually hurt. If you do not deal with this fear head-on, you will still be in the same situation year after year.
I had someone tell me, “Ask your clients what is wrong with our industry," and they will tell you what they don't like. It may not necessarily be about you, but it will tell you what is important to them.
I asked a bookkeeping client this and he told me that he hates getting answers from his tax preparer that do not make any sense because he did not take the time to really read the question he was asking. He also went on to say that he really hated that most of the year the tax preparer would not answer his questions and when he did, they were at 11:00 at night. He could tell that he really did not even put much thought into his answer. This told me that quality business advice was important to this client. Not a tax return that was just paper for the government.
My point in telling you this is that if we do not change and give our clients what they really want and need, someone else will.
You do not have to be all things to everyone but sometimes we get hung up in that we must answer quickly. It is not really the quickness that matters, it is the thought-out answer. When you give thought-out advice, that is where the magic happens in getting paid for the value of your services. If you are too busy to help your clients from January to April, you need to address your fear and start thinking about how you can change your business to better serve your clients that desperately need our help year-round. Not just when it is not year-end or tax season!