What successful accounting businesses do differently

There’s so much negativity we can choose to expose ourselves to. The news will tell us all the businesses that […]

There’s so much negativity we can choose to expose ourselves to. The news will tell us all the businesses that crumble during an economic downturn, while your mate down the pub will tell you to batten down the hatches of your business.

But exposing yourself to such negativity is a choice, and you can choose not to.

The news won’t report on the businesses that are thriving through tough times. And your mate down the pub, probably won’t encourage you to take risks in times of uncertainty.

But there are successful accounting businesses that thrive in tough times, there are entrepreneurs who take risks when everyone else tells them not to, and there’s no reason why you can’t be one of them.

I did some research on businesses who’ve succeeded through a recession and found many household names that didn’t just succeed – they started during a recession.

And there’s a lot to be said about building your business in a storm: it forces you to think in different ways than if you build it in sunny weather.


What successful accounting businesses do differently:

  1. Facing storms head on
  2. Focusing on psychology
  3. Continually raising targets
  4. Being realistically optimistic

5 ways you can strengthen your mindset:

  1. Guard your mind
  2. Pursue growth every day
  3. Focus on your health
  4. Aim higher
  5. Give even more

What do successful businesses do differently?

They face storms head on

Whether it’s a recession, or a pandemic, storms will come. It’s the only guarantee I can give you in business.

While businesses that fail turn around and try to run away from the ‘storm’ and get blown by the wind, successful businesses face them head on.

They know they cannot move backwards or stand still, but make progress by continuing to look forward and make incremental advances.

They focus on their Psychology, NOT the economy

The effect of your mindset on your business looks cyclical at first glance, but it can be a downward (or upward) spiral.

If you have a negative experience, for example, if figures are down and your accounting business isn’t performing, it can trigger you to believe the situation is bad. This makes you feel panic, and in a panic, your reaction is to restrict salaries, give client discounts, and generally cause bedlam in the business.

And what happens?

The results from these actions confirm your initial belief.

But we can flip the spiral upside down, and that’s what successful entrepreneurs do…

They are willing to let go of their beliefs in order to try something new.

They continually raise their targets

Most businesses believe there are easy times and tough times but, in reality, there are tough times and tougher times. If it isn’t tough, it’s because you aren’t doing enough. For example, if we hit one of our targets at GoProposal halfway through the month, we don’t sit back and consider it an easy month, we raise the target and aim even higher.

They are realistically optimistic

Successful, longstanding business owners know that recessions come around like winter. We should be planting in the spring, protecting in the summer, harvesting in the autumn and preparing to do it all over again in the winter.

And just like the best farmers, we must assume each winter is going to be longer than any other.

This means you can be optimistic in knowing the winter (recession) will end, but you’re being realistic with what cards you have to play now. Consider which of your clients can you best serve.

What clients are out there looking for a better accountant who is more proactive and positive?

5 steps to strengthen your mindset

It’s one thing to know what traits successful entrepreneurs embody, but HOW can you reframe your own mindset to align with theirs and develop a successful accounting business?

It’s something we must train our brains to do through our daily habits and actions.

I identified 5 behaviours that started to change my levels of success for the better…

1. Guard your mind

There are two ways negativity can get in your head from the outside in; through the news and through people. It’s your job to build boundaries to protect it.

From the news:

The news’s core role is NOT to inform you of what’s happening. It’s to keep you watching, reading, listening or scrolling. And it does that through negativity, scaremongering you to want to know more. I’m very careful to only take form it what I can and need to act on. For example, when the pandemic hit, I got the instructions I needed, for example, when to wear a mask. After that, I stopped listening.

From people:

People who love you can be full of negativity. And yes, you can ask for distance from them. If someone is negative towards your business plans, you can avoid speaking to them, even if it’s for a whole year, if your gut is telling you they will negatively impact your focus.

2. Pursue growth each day

You must actively pursue growth every day. No matter how educated you are, you can always learn more. You can always be a better version of yourself. Pursuing growth rewires your brain and doesn’t allow recessive thinking to get in.

3. Focus on your health

This is more important than your finances, business and relationships. If you can’t be healthy and strong you can’t be the best you can be for everyone else. If you haven’t got time, it’s because you haven’t prioritised it.

4. Aim higher

Whatever aim you have in your head right now, set the bar higher. It doesn’t matter if you don’t hit it. But setting stretch goals enables you and your team to think bigger.

How can you double your fees in one month? How can you double your staff in a year?

Don’t let a voice in your head tell you these are unrealistic, because when we become aspirational thinkers, our brains start to achieve more.

5. Give even more

A positive for business owners during the pandemic was that most people overcame their fear of video and being in front of a camera. They opened themselves up beyond zoom meetings, utilising their newfound confidence to help people, sharing their niches through webinars and recorded help videos, all for free.

When you give to people who don’t have as much as you, it sends a strong signal to yourself that you have more than enough. There’s always a way we can give more.

If your focus for the next 12-24 months is on growth and contribution, you can and will create a successful accounting business and come out of this in a very different situation.

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