Speaking to the entrepreneurs out there, let me ask you, how happy are you with your practice? Do you love your clients? Are you passionate about the services you provide them? Do you have a reasonable work/life harmonization?
I suspect every person reading this article would answer these questions in varying degrees. No matter where you are with your practice, you are likely moving towards a vision or a goal that you haven't reached yet. The distance between where you are today and where you want to be in the future defines a gap, and if you want to successfully traverse this gap, you need to have a plan.
Building a plan to reach your ideal accounting or bookkeeping practice
Over the last few years, I've had the opportunity to work with hundreds of small bookkeeping and accounting practices. Some of the common struggles I've heard from the owners and practitioners in these practices are working long hours; inability to scale; inability to find good help that's capable and willing to work; and, critically, a lack of a defined and intentional path forward.
I've worked alongside these accountants and bookkeepers as they've built and executed their plans for their own ideal practices. And I'd like to give you the high-level structure that I used with these practitioners, so you can use it to begin building your own plan.
Now, as our friend Peter Hickey from down under tells us, the number one reason for the failure of a plan is the failure to execute. So, keep in mind that this is just the first of many steps.
To create your ideal business model, you need to identify the gaps between where you are and where you want to be and then define action steps to move forward. When completed, you'll have a solid strategic plan for bridging the gap to your ideal practice.
Defining your ideal accounting or bookkeeping practice
The first step to building the plan for your ideal practice is to define where you want to be. Your ideal practice will have seven different components and you need to examine and define your ideal for each of these components.
1. Ideal YOU - When building a house, the most important thing to consider is your foundation. The first three ideals listed here will build your foundation. Using the well-known Covey principle of "begin with the end in mind" and a good bit of introspection, you will fully understand who you are as a person and as a business owner and where you REALLY want to go with your practice.
2. Ideal SERVICE - By crafting a menu of services that not only brings wealth to your clients but also aligns with your vision, you will be able to work "on purpose" and be fulfilled as a human being.
3. Ideal CLIENT - Just stop working for people who don't align with your ideals. Create an "Ideal Client" profile and learn how to curate your client list by greasing the hinges on your back door and placing a guard at your front door.
4. Ideal TECHNOLOGY - Your front office and back office technology stacks need to work FOR you. Use single entry or no-entry data capture, security, cloud technology, technology integrations and other technology pieces to make sure your tech is making your job easier and more automated and is creating a valuable client experience.
5. Ideal BUSINESS PROCESS - Clearly defined and tested business processes not only allow you to automate but also make team training and onboarding significantly easier. They also clarify the outcomes owned by each role within your practice. The key to a highly functional SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) manual is that it is continuously curated and democratized for easy access by every member of your team.
6. Ideal ENGAGEMENT - Now that you're only engaging with ideal clients, make sure the parameters around your engagements are clearly defined, which will not only make it easier to price your engagements but will also protect you in cases of misunderstandings or failed memories.
7. Ideal TEAM - Building out your internal team and external resources should be an intentional, well-informed process that helps you avoid the pain and cost of a bad hire and enables you to strategically hire or engage based on specific criteria for the job at hand. By streamlining your team and having the right people in the right seats on the bus, you'll maximize your team's productivity, promote longevity and create a healthy culture.
Over the coming weeks, we will explore these seven components to help you create a strategic plan to bridge the gap between you and your ideal practice. Make sure you are subscribed to The Woodard Report and this valuable information will be delivered directly to your inbox.
Or, if you prefer, learn more about Woodard Institute's Practice Transformation courses, including The Ideal Bookkeeping Practice, a 10-week course that will guide you step-by-step through building your own ideal practice.