An entrepreneurs success journey
How do entrepreneurs successfully evolve from start-ups to leaders? Well, going from starting your own accounting firm to business success is a process. The person you are when first starting your accounting practice is different from the person who will eventually lead your firm. Challenges will appear along the way. An entrepreneurs success relies on adaptation.
As a firm owner, your needs differ from employee needs. Somehow you’ll navigate the course going from control freak one person operation to trusted manager, then motivating leader and eventually esteemed mentor. Decide whether you prefer to remain a one person operation or aim for legacy wealth. There’s no right or wrong. It’s a personal decision.
The big shift
The shift from a one person solopreneur to team building turned out to be my biggest challenge. This also contributed to my greatest growth opportunity. My control issues interfered. It was like I had bumped up against a glass ceiling which restricted further growth.
Eventually, I realized I was the bottleneck. At that point, a decision was required. Continuing with the status quo would eventually lead to burn out. Opting to hire help meant giving up control. Pros and cons existed with both options.
Choosing to remain solo was rooted in fear. I got brutally honest with myself and realized my concerns about trusting another person. The solution, like so many other life lessons, meant letting go of control issues.
Business ideas morph over time
A successful entrepreneur acknowledges that the path is messy. The best firm owners view success as a process instead of an end result. Your initial business ideas continue to morph over time.
Here’s how to grow a successful accounting firm.
- Target. Focus on your dream firm. What does success look like for you?
- Talents. Emphasize your strengths. Discover where you’re exceptional and how that uniquely helps your clients.
- Trust. Trust determines whether you remain a solopreneur or expand. Your firm changes the moment you bring other people on board.
- Transform. Your first employee begins to shift your role from technician to manager. Delegation is teachable. Your business skills constantly evolve.
- Tune in. Communication and listening skills will reduce frustration from misunderstandings. Control issues are triggered when mistakes start to happen. At that moment, you consider taking back lower level responsibilities. That choice; however, is not an ideal solution.
I’ve been blessed to work side by side with my husband, Steve. In our first business together I worked solo in our satellite office. That’s because no employee ever met my high standards. Either they had great people skills or were excellent in administration, but not both. Working with employees was miserable so I opted to work alone.
As a steady stream of clients filled my practice, a new challenge emerged. Sticking with the status quo slowed down expansion. Potential new clients were placed on a wait list because my availability was limited.
The dark side
It was uncomfortable to admit that control issues were getting in the way. I was the bottleneck.
And yes, doing everything from start to finish was exhausting. It bled into my family time. Eventually, I refused to allow my fear to limit our business potential.
I now affectionately call this period my Lone Ranger Syndrome. Control issues and a fierce sense of independence contributed to our agency’s growth. The entrepreneur characteristics which got us started eventually turned into limitations.
What’s under the surface?
The problem, as well as the solution, was up to me. I realized the obvious problem is rarely the root cause. The growth issues were a symptom of something else. Something under the surface influenced my actions. Figuring things out on my own was possible, but not ideal, simply because I was too close to the issue.
Adaptation is an entrepreneurs success tool. Growing our business meant personal growth. Steve and I discussed how to restructure my role. Learning to trust someone else with my baby took a leap of faith. Fortunately, I felt supported by Steve during each and every step of the way. Functional, healthy growth was a shared core value.
The mindset shift
Did I mention my mindset shift? Transitioning from a micro-manager to a leader was the plan. New beliefs which encouraged team work emerged. Things improved because I fully committed to doing what was necessary. As a result, our agency grew to eleven employees. The entire operation of our satellite office wasn’t solely on me any longer.
Yes, my control issues periodically surface under high pressure moments. What it takes to be successful is a lifelong process. The challenges I faced back then set things in motion for my current success.
Firm owners realize success is messy. It’s a process. Obstacles and control issues are difficult to pinpoint on your own. Relieving the symptom instead of addressing the root concern leads to an inner struggle. The issue is rarely what you think it is.
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