Happy New Year!
One of my mentors for the past 15 years has been Stephen Covey, author of the bestselling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. His ideas were instrumental in helping me turn my practice from struggling to highly successful.
One of the seven habits that Stephen identifies is “To Begin with the End in Mind.” What he means by this is that being able to create a clear picture of where you want to go will help you get there much faster and more easily.
It’s rather like embarking on any journey to an unfamiliar destination.
Imagine you were driving to Alaska for the first time. Without a map or clear directions, you’d end up taking many wrong turns or driving in circles for hours and perhaps not even getting there at all.
It may seem a fairly obvious error. But that’s the way many CPAs attempt to run their practices or their careers. They have no clear picture of their desired destination and no map of how they plan to get there.
The end results can be the same – a great deal of wasted time and even failing to get where they want to go.
A Strategic Objective can serve as a clear picture of your desired destination and can be your road map for getting there.
A Strategic Objective is a one-page document that describes your practice at its best and addresses the following big questions:
• This is who we are.
• This is how we operate.
• This is who we serve.
• This is our competitive advantage.
To create your Strategic Objective, you need to sit down and develop a clear vision of where you want to go with your practice. Envision in your mind exactly what it will be like at some stage in the future – perhaps three, five, or ten years down the road.
Creating the first draft will take you a few hours and then you’ll spend a bit of time over the next few days refining it.
Here are some crucial questions that will help you develop your Strategic Objective:
• What is the big picture for your practice? Think of your practice
as a product and specify what the end product will look like in the future.
• Who are your employees? How many? Describe them.
• What will your gross billing be? $200,000; $500,000; $1 million;
or several million dollars?
• What services will you provide?
• What types of clients will you be attracting? Geographic areas?
• What is your Unique Service Proposition (USP) ? What makes
you different from the competition? What is your reason for
• How many days/hours will you work each week (during tax
season , in the off -season)?
• What is the legacy you will leave behind?
As soon as you have a clear Strategic Objective for what you want your practice to look like in the future, you will be much closer to making it a reality.