gain an unfair advantageGain an unfair advantage

Success and failure go hand in hand. Long lasting success is impossible when you avoid the risk of failure. Success becomes even sweeter when you stick with your vision through those rough, challenging moments.  Accounting professionals who persist beyond the obstacles gain an unfair advantage, although you may not recognize it at the moment.

I started exploring the parallels between sports and successful accounting firms a couple years ago. Many similarities, like passion and tenacity, exist. The differences, however, captured my attention. The subtleties which cause an athlete to rise to the top also apply to accounting professionals who are pursuing their dream practice.

This awareness happened when I became a competitive rower at 44y/o. During this time I also began transitioning from my practice as a therapist into business coaching. These two life changing opportunities occurred simultaneously.

Say goodbye to your comfort zone

My comfort zone, as I knew it, ceased to exist. The daily challenges which arose during this life change were exciting and uncomfortable. The unexpected bonus was how my personal and professional growth created a competitive advantage.

Needless to say, the lessons from sports adapt easily to business ownership. Even if you’ve never been an athlete, or those days are long gone, maintain an open mind. A subtle shift in attention can lead to the exact competitive strategy which you’ve been seeking. It’s similar to a ship making a one degree change in course. Over time, the ship arrives at a different port than if it never diverted from its original course.

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1. Coaching is a game changer.

Rowing provided my first experience with coaching. This was my most valuable lesson for two reasons. First, an outside set of eyes can reveal your blind spots. Changes occur more quickly when you receive feedback than when you’re figuring things out on your own.

Not all coaches are created equal. This was my second insight. I skillfully avoided several of my rowing coaches because they were too critical. The downside meant losing valuable coaching opportunities. I wondered how to benefit from their coaching although I didn’t agree with their negative style. I realized these coaches wanted the best for me. This small, but radical, shift in perspective allowed me to approach something instead of avoiding it.

2. Constant practice to build your skills.

Elite athletes are a rare breed. They train, consistently fine tuning, for competitive advantages.  Instead of winging it, they follow a proven system. There’s a science to getting results.

Complacency lives at the opposite end of the spectrum. I’ve witnessed more than one successful firm owner become complacent once they achieve success. Living in your comfort zone dulls your entrepreneurial spirit. Eventually you topple and lose the ground you worked so hard to gain.

Mastery occurs when you seek ongoing learning. Those who rise to the top, and maintain their lead, are driven within. Emphasizing the process instead of the numbers is a competitive strategy.

Living in your comfort zone dulls your entrepreneurial spirit. Eventually you topple and lose the ground you worked so hard to gain. Read full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet

3. Community instead of isolation.

Athletes develop a tight knit community. Training with other athletes, who you may race against, is a common practice. Even highly independent athletes eventually show up to the game when it’s time to compete.

Success rarely occurs in a vacuum. Networks, masterminds and accountability partners are how entrepreneurs gather. Masterminds, whether I’m a facilitator or a member, has deeply impacted my business. There’s something sacred about joining a like-minded group of people who get what you do and don’t think you’re crazy. Access to a group of entrepreneurs who share insights, discuss “real” challenges and receptive to ideas is priceless. Where else can you gather with a group of people who are ready to freely share resources?Laser focus helps entrepreneurs gain an unfair advantage photo credit: Shipley upper via photopin (license)

4. Concentrate to stay on the right course.

Paying attention to everything which lands before your eyes, or pops into your head, is distracting. Progress is impossible when you’re constantly losing focus. Remaining focused under high pressure moments can offer less talented athletes an unfair advantage over naturally gifted athletes who become distracted. Losing focus, even momentarily, can cost them the win.

Consider all the day to day distractions you face. An accounting professionals makes multiple decisions each day. ADHD or being a creative individual is not an excuse. I’ve worked with many who were able to laser focus when they were doing the very thing which mattered most to them.

There’s a high price to pay when you lose focus. Eventually you’ll realize you veered off course in a different direction. Decisions like those cost time, money and frustration.

5. Competitive advantage is your edge.

Similar to elite athletes, success minded firm owners strive to be their best. You want to make a difference with the service you offer. Your purpose, what I call your mission, to help others keeps you going more so than if your sole purpose was the pursuit of money.

The common mistake is when you want to be all things to all people. Defining your specialty is difficult when you are attempting to serve everyone. This is like being a hoarder where you refuse to let go of anything.

Athletes realize the way to rise to the top is to specialize. Specialization based upon your unique strengths is your unfair advantage. This is what defines you from others seeking to serve the same clients. What “one thing” is your unfair advantage?

As a results junkie, I want you to succeed. Too frequently we expect success to occur in a certain way. You’ve dreamed about it, created your vision board, and committed that scenario to memory.

Specialization based upon your unique strengths offers you an unfair advantage. Read full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet

Expect the unexpected

Rarely do things work out as planned. So when your defining moment does appear, you fail to recognize it. You expected something radically different. When you finally realized this was your golden opportunity, the opportunity had passed. Don’t let this become your reality.

Innovation is the solution. Brainstorm how these 5 advantages apply to your accounting firm. Instead of competing with other firms seeking the same clients, make a bold move. Differentiate yourself from the competition for an unfair advantage. Attention grabbing actions will get you noticed.  What will you do differently so you rise to the top?

Ready to gain an unfair advantage? Follow these recommendations for your accounting practice to be successful, and grow without being a slave to your firm. With this approach, you attract clients who happily pay your fees. Right NOW claim your FREE RESOURCE to earn more while lightening your workload.