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The Right Fit - Learning to Say Goodbye

Ingrid Edstrom
Posted by Ingrid Edstrom on Jan 7, 2022 11:55:48 AM

How do we consistently find the right fit in clients, vendors, team members, and relationships for us? How do we tell the difference between a good relationship that is having a difficult time and a relationship that just isn’t working for us?

It comes down to fit.

We can all feel it when something doesn’t fit right, but many of us tend to continue with relationships long after we have grown out of them. Sometimes they didn’t fit to begin with!

Nonetheless, we avoid the potential conflict of releasing that relationship for as long as possible.

I’ve heard that we are each an average of the 10 people that we spend the most time with. Inevitably, the people around us rub off on us, and we tend to develop more traits in common with them over time. Ditching an old habit can be very challenging when the people around us are not also shifting their behavior in the same way.

With that in mind, who do you want to be? We need to choose our company carefully. Continuing to invest our time in relationships that we know aren’t working for us is equivalent to investing money into a stock that you know is going to go down. In both cases, we are never going to get a positive return on that investment.

People grow and change.

Our needs change. Our interests change. In a constantly changing landscape of relationships, it can be difficult to keep our bearings. Change can be scary! We form attachments, and we fear consequences. Is there a risk of upsetting someone? Is there a risk to reputation or to other relationships by association? These risks and attachments bury us in layers of “should.”

“Should” is a dirty, six-letter word. It causes us to spin our wheels in negativity. It causes us to compare ourselves to others, measuring our value and success by the actions of those around us. By hanging on to the relationships that no longer serve us, we fail to open up space for new relationships to form.

Let’s re-frame the discussion.

There is no blame in fit. The pair of jeans that looks great on your best friend will not fit your body in the same way. Would you blame yourself, your friend, or the jeans for that? Perhaps a few of us could use to lose a few pounds, but it’s time to accept things as they are. Not a fit is no one’s fault.

While it is easy to get lost in the emotions of specific situations where it is easy to assign blame, those situations are symptoms of a deeper, blameless “not a fit” issue. Are you frustrated because a client continues to drop the ball? Does it hurt that a team member continues to use language that is offensive to your values? Are you baffled because a vendor seems perpetually aggravated by you? Some of these things may be able to be resolved with healthy communication. However, sometimes it runs deeper than that, and it may be time to walk away.

By changing the discussion from one of blame about specific actions to an overall focus on our common needs, we can turn the process of saying goodbye to a relationship into a very positive and liberating act for both sides. The final act shifts our focus from the conflicting positions of the issues where we struggle, allowing us to end the relationship with the intention of our common interests and needs.

Steve Fogelman of says that we measure our growth by the people we say goodbye to. Growth, change, and goodbyes are an inevitable part of life. Our fear around them is natural and overcoming that fear will facilitate a path to new, healthy relationships and lead to our next stage of growth opportunities.

Understanding the “right fit” is essential for you and your practice.

Determining if your clients are the right fit for you and your practice is a critical activity that you should take regularly. Jeans that fit you last year just may not fit you this year. So, how do you determine whether or not a client is a right fit and then say goodbye to those that aren’t?

1. Print your current client list.

2. Highlight the clients that you know you don’t want to work with or those that even cause that “cringe factor.” These are the clients that you just aren’t excited to work with.

3. Determine the percentage of clients that you are not excited to work with.

        • If that percentage is greater than 20%, go to step 4.
        • If that percentage is less than 20%, go to step 5.

4. If more than 20% of your clients fall in the category where you are not excited to work with them, then do a second sweep through that list. Pick out those clients where it will be easy to say goodbye to them. The rest of the list can be re-examined in one month.

5. Email the clients you are ready to release. Your email should reinforce that you want them to have the best fit for their needs. In addition, offer them options where they may find that best fit. Give them a two-week period to transition to their new bookkeeper and hold that transition period.

Transition your reduced clientele to value pricing.

With fewer clients, you will be able to invest extra energy into your FAVORITE clients, deepening your relationships with them built on the value and the results your services generate. In other words, you have created the opportunity to transition to value pricing!

I'm looking forward to continuing to delve into subjects that matter to you as an accountant or bookkeeper. Subscribe to The Woodard Report today and keep an eye out for my by-line!

Topics: Practice Management


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