When I first started my Accounting Practice it was growing around an average of 30% per year simply from word of mouth only and soon I was working over 100 hours per week.
This was burning me out and not sustainable in the short term let alone the next 30 years as I was only in my early thirties.
I was at a crossroads because this business that I had built that was supposed to give me life was taking the life from me. I didn’t see my family, I was missing out on watching my children grow up, I barely saw my closest friends and I had no time to do the things I enjoyed.
What was the answer?
- Sell the whole lot and do something else?
- Sell smaller clients and just look after the larger clients?
- Should I bring in another partner to help relieve the workload?
- Just keep growing the business hoping it would get less painful?
I was burnt out and did not want to grow it anymore… I was working really long hours without commensurate compensation.
However, each of those actions was simply addressing the symptoms and not the problem which was changing “What I did” without changing the “How I did it”
The secret of success was in “How I did it”…
Let’s for a minute address each of these:
1. Sell and do something else. If I changed “What I did” but not “How” I did it, then within a few years I would replicate the problems in the first industry into the second industry and soon I would be looking to change “What I did” again! You have seen many business owners including Accountants and Bookkeepers change industries and then within a few years, they change again.
2. Sell Smaller clients and just look after the larger clients. The problem here is I would go from being really busy with the small clients to being really busy with the big clients. I would still be a prisoner in my business, even more so as bigger clients tend to expect more from the partner/owner of the firm.
3. Bring in another Partner to relieve the workload. New Partners are normally brought in to assist with running the business and keep everything together. The problem with this is if we build our businesses around being “People Dependant” instead of being “Systems Dependant” we can only reach around $1.2 million per Partner before we need to bring in another Partner. If we build a strong systems based foundation then it becomes highly scalable and the business can go to $5 million in turnover before needing another Partner. Again this was in the “How”.
4. Keep growing the business and putting up with the pain of it. Most people associate growth with pain. In other words, the more clients they had the more pain/headaches they had. So they conclude that they do not want to grow it any larger. But if you could grow without any pain then why wouldn’t anyone want to grow it, especially if you understood that you need to reach a critical mass before it gets easier and not harder. Again the solution was in the “How”.
Instrumental in the “How” was understanding that there was a difference in “being busy” versus “being productive”. I needed to do the right kind of work because we can waste so much time going to work and just being busy.
If you hadn’t a chance yet to get our ebook The Accountants 20 Hour Work Week – I encourage you to download a copy. In it, I illustrate the three strategies that you can implement straight away that will give you much more time, as money as you like and free you from being a prisoner in your business.
About Ed Chan
A graduate from the University of Technology (Sydney) with a Degree in Business (Accounting Major) and worked in the Chartered Accounting environment for many years before starting Chan & Naylor from a small home office and growing it into a National Financial Services Organisation with offices in most major Capital cities around Australia that services more than 6,000 clients.
Ed is the Non-Exec Chairman of Chan & Naylor, an Accounting Group he founded from a small home office and is now a National Financial Services Organisation with offices in most major Capital cities around Australia that services more than 6,000 clients.
Ed also speaks at many Business Seminars around Australia in Best Practice Methodologies on how to build successful businesses.
Chan & Naylor is the model firm studied by students when completing their MBA at the University of Queensland and for Accounting students passing their CPA exams.
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Latest posts by Ed Chan (see all)
- Burnt out and ready to sell? Read this first! - June 16, 2020
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- The Importance of Responsiveness When Managing An Accounting Firm - February 17, 2020