How to finally get leverage in your accountancy practice
(This is the third and final article in a series of posts written to help you have the best year ever in 2017. If you have not yet read the previous two articles then please click here to first figure out exactly where you are going. Then click here to create your winning plan for 2017.)
If you’re reading this then you’re just a 2 minute and 27 second read away from understanding how to finally get leverage in your practice.
You have your vision of where you want to go, and you have a plan of exactly how to get there, but you’re still missing one key thing…
How do you finally get the ball rolling so that you can take action on your plan and achieve your vision?
Here’s my 3 step process for getting leverage in your practice:
Step 1 – Do you have the right people on the bus?
As a business owner you can be doing 1 of 2 things:
– Looking forwards building your business, your practice
– Or looking backwards fixing your team and their problems
You can’t be doing both things at once, it doesn’t work.
If you’re so focused on looking backwards fixing your team and dealing with their problems, you aren’t going to be focused enough to really grow your practice looking forwards.
So the first thing you need in place in order to finally get leverage is an A+ team.
If you’re aiming for the Olympic gold (I.e. your business dreams) – you need an A+ team behind you.
It’s ok to have a B or a C team if you choose, but please recognise that you will not win the Olympic gold this way.
If you truly want leverage in your practice, you need an A+ team – non-negotiable!
Do you have an A+ team?
Here is a basic exercise that takes 5 – 10 minutes max.
Take a sheet of paper and across the top write the following formula:
A + A = A+
First A stands for “Attitude”, second A stands for “Ability In Their Current Role”.
For each of those 2 A’s we give an average from 0 – 10. 0 = shockingly bad, 10 = brilliantly great. Don’t overanalyse this with your brain – go with your gut feel. The first number that comes up is probably the right one.
Then get the average of those two numbers – which provides your answer. My rule of thumb… If someone scores LESS THAN 8, you have to ask yourself the question… “Why is this person on my team?”
Points to note:
Low Attitude numbers – Do I really want to pay you for the next 10 years as you decide that you want to change your attitude? People are generally born with this. One rotten apple in the cart is all it takes…
Low Ability numbers – 2 things at play. Either we have a square peg in a round hole situation – it is just the wrong person for the role. Either keep them, and move them into a different correct role in your practice, or (as blunt as this is…) move them on. The other reason Ability number could be low has to do with it being a training issue – which is 100% sitting on your shoulders. Get it sorted with a systematic approach.
And the excuse of “but the legal system is so tough and I know I have the wrong person in the job and they’ve been with me for 17 years, BUT…”
Ultimately those are excuses.
Once you’ve made the decision that you are in fact going for the Olympic gold and that this person needs to move on, get yourself a good HR agency to guide you through the process (because there absolutely are landmines to be careful of) and make it happen.
But it starts with a decision, followed by a process.
But the choice remains – are you aiming for the Olympic Gold.
Step 2 – Are you delegating effectively?
Once you have the right people on the bus, it’s time to start moving work off your shoulders, and on to your A+ team.
And in order to do this, you need to understand how to delegate effectively.
This is an absolutely crucial skill to learn if you truly want leverage in your practice…
The Who What When triangle
This is an incredibly simple, yet powerfully effective tool for delegating.
I won’t go into any great detail about how it works, there is a more comprehensive guide with practical examples here.
But basically for every task you delegate you need a:
– Who – the person who is responsible for completing the task
– What – what the task/project is
– When – by when the task needs to be completed
The mistake most people make when delegating is only having 2/3 things above in place e.g. a who, a what but no when.
When this happens delegation simply won’t work.
All 3 things need to be absolutely clear if you want to start delegating effectively and shifting work off your shoulders.
Step 3 – Shift your focus
So the third and final step in how to finally get leverage in your practice is to shift your focus.
But what does this mean?
Fundamentally, your practice is made up of 3 core areas:
– Marketing/Sales – getting the work
– Operations – doing the work
– Finance/admin – the glue that holds it together
This might seem over-simplified, it is, but just run with it for a minute…
If you had to rate your current focus/time spent in each of those 3 areas, on a scale of 0-10, where would you spend most of your time?
I’m guessing that operations would score quite highly, then finance/admin, and finally marketing/sales lower.
If your time is spent mostly in operations, you will never truly get leverage in your practice.
Once your A+ team is on board and you are delegating effectively, you need to shift your focus more and more towards the marketing/sales side of the practice.
This is the part where you will really begin to see big changes happening!
I’m not saying you should start spending as much time in marketing/sales as possible starting tomorrow – first you need to make sure your operations + finance/admin pieces are firmly in place.
Otherwise, you will turn the tap on (i.e. more leads into the business) and your practice might be like a bathtub with holes in it – no matter how much you turn the tap on, water is still going to keep flooding out.
This will happen if your foundations aren’t in place first.
So although you need to shift your focus, first make sure you have plugged any potential holes in your practice!
The secret ingredient for success
There’s one final thing that I should mention…
If you truly want to get leverage in your practice, there’s a secret ingredient for success.
And this is where most people fall down, because they have all of the knowledge above, yet they aren’t getting the leverage that they want.
The secret ingredient for success is…
It’s that simple. None of this is worth a thing if it’s not implemented.
And over the years I’ve found that there’re 2 ways you can go about implementing…
You can either do it:
– The slow way – taking your time, making mistakes over the next 15/20 years
– The shortcut way – being focused and accountable for the next 2/3 years
If the latter sounds like the better deal to you, then why not arrange a 20-minute practice growth session with me, and let’s discuss how you can finally get leverage in your practice (without it taking the next 20 years).
Arrange your practice growth session now and let 2017 be the year you get leverage once and for all!