|Small Business Information|
Get Out Of The Rut And Back On the Track
Do you sometimes find yourself just going "through the motions" of your business from day to day? Has the excitement gone out of your daily routine?
What happened? Remember way back when you began doing this? You were excited and enthusiastic about what you were going to do. What went wrong? Where did the excitement and enthusiasm go? More importantly, how do you get it back?
Of course, this may be a signal that it is time for you to make some changes or to "move on." On the other hand, maybe you just need to get back in touch with why you are doing this in the first place.
If you are in your own business, it may not be possible to move on, so you'd better learn ways to bring back the excitement. There is nothing more depressing than to see a small business owner (or employee) who has stopped enjoying their work. These are the people who sit in their stores or offices just waiting for the day when they can retire. They feel "stuck," unable to get out. They have lost their zest for living.
Are you one of these people who are just going through the motions? This is surely a "death rattle." Your life is too important to let it slip by, living a life, as Throeau said, of "quiet desperation."
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How can you put back the zest? For starters, go back to your original business plan or personal journal and re-read the reasons you embarked on this business or career in the first place. What were your goals? You must have been excited back then.
Are these reasons still valid? Do they still ring true for you today? If they do, get back in touch with the "feelings" you had before. Sit quietly and mentally "go back" to that time. Feel the feelings you had then. Get the juice going again. Relive the experiences that led you to this place. Rekindle the flames you once had.
If you have drifted from your original purpose, perhaps you need to re-think why you are doing this now. In the case of your own business, maybe you need to change or modify your original direction. This could be as simple as offering a new product or service, something that gives you passion. Perhaps you could open new markets or venture into exporting to get your juices going again. Do something that puts the joy back in your day. Paint your store! Change your tie! Perhaps all you need to do is delegate some of the tasks you dislike and concentrate on doing what you love.
Complete this simple exercise. On a sheet of paper, answer the following two questions:
1. What I really enjoy about my work/business is that I... (This could be that you have the opportunity to travel to interesting places or meet people or help others, whatever you enjoy most.)
2. The real benefit to my customer from my work is...
I know a building contractor whose attitude toward his work changed when he changed his perception from that of simply a contractor to realizing the real benefit of what he did was he helped people turn their dreams into reality. This had a major impact on his self-esteem.
Sometimes, I run across a store that still has one of the old signs that read: "Through our doors pass some of the finest people in the world. Our customers." Maybe it's corny but I can't help but feel special in a place like that.
If you are going to a job today just because you went there yesterday, you are in a danger zone. You deserve to be enthusiastic, excited and even ecstatic about your livelihood. Sometimes you have to re-create that feeling.
Remember the words of the late Norman Vincent Peale who said that what happens to us is not nearly as important as how we interpret what happens.
Live with passion!
© 2004 Jim Donovan - PO Box 1147, Buckingham, PA 18912 - (215) 794-3826
Jim Donovan is the author of "Handbook to a Happier Life, a motivational speaker and coach. For a no cost bonus product & more, visit http://www.JimDonovan.com
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My 16 year-old daughter said, "Gee Dad! You look just like an accountant" And she wasn't being complimentary. Accountants are perceived to be boring, stodgy and conservative. Over the years we've been the butt of many jokes. I've heard them all. Why did the accountant cross the road? Because he looked up the file and that's what they did last year! Ha Ha! What do accountants use as a contraceptive? Their personality! Ha Ha!" Why do accountants become accountants? They don't have the charisma to be undertakers! Ha Ha! What do they call an accountant at the bottom of the sea? A bloody good start! Ha Ha! I think I am the exception. That's why I've begun to call myself a business strategist and counselor. "You're still an accountant," says teenage daughter. I am still an accountant and I'm still as passionate about it as the day I started. Because accountants have an impact on people's lives. The advice we give changes people's businesses which in turn changes their lives. I'm excited in my role of accountant. Accounting is not stodgy. Accounting is exciting. Accounting is cool! My ambition is to become the "cool dude of accounting". (do they still say "dude", do they still say "cool". Remember that song: When I say, "cool, man, cool, I don't mean cool, man, cool, I mean you leave me cold, Jack") We were throwing some ideas around with some of our clients as we do from time to time, looking for that unique benefit that our firm gives to our clients. That unique something that distinguishes us from other accounting practices. One said, "You have helped me to improve my business. Not only am I making more profits and have more to spend, but I also have more time to spend away from the business. The more time I spend at home with my family the happier my life is. And the happier I am the happier my wife and children seem to be. When my wife is happy all sorts of good things happen ? even our sex life improves. That's it! You can advertise that using Kelvyn Peters CPA and Associates improves your sex life" I don't think so! Sorry, we haven't accepted his idea. You're completely on your own in that department, but we can help you improve your business and consequently your life. And your goal might not be extra profit but extra time for living! We know we can because we are doing it for others. We repeat ourselves so often because the truth is the truth and there is only a limited number of ways to tell it. You've heard this before. If you are spending every waking moment in a hassle about your business, there must be a better way. There is! Accountants have been ripping off their clients for years In 1973 I attended a workshop for accountants at the Finance Management Research Center then headed by Dr Keith Cleland. The workshop was intended to drag participants into the 20th century. "Accountants have been ripping off their clients for years", he told us. The 25 participants were shocked. These represented vibrant accounting firms from all around Australia, both large firms and small. They were at the cutting edge of the industry. Otherwise they would not have been at this kind of workshop. To a person they resented that comment and one fellow wanted to punch him on the nose. (It wasn't me, but I would have held his coat). By the week's end we discovered how we were charging high fees for things that our clients couldn't understand, couldn't use and didn't need. At the same time we were neglecting the information that they did need to increase their profits and safeguard their businesses. 20 Years Later what's Changed? I attended a week long seminar hosted by CPA Australia in 1993 which was to train us in "client based accounting". Dr Cleland presented the initial module. He did not openly criticize accountants this time, after all, it was the CPA's hosting it, but he gave almost the same speech (same jokes, too) as he had 20 years before. "These things aren't taught in Universities", he said, "so the accounting profession has mostly ignored them. They have let small business down but things are changing". Know-it-all, Kelvyn Peters had to jump to his feet and say that the doctor had said exactly the same thing 20 years ago. Where were the signs of change? Universities were still not teaching accountants how to help their clients. "This seminar with CPA Australia and the suggestion they might make client based accounting a speciality is a good sign", he replied. 10 Years Later? Nothing has changed. Our hopes have withered on the vine and small business must look elsewhere for help. Recently I was called in to assist an ailing restaurant. We were happy to work with their existing accountant. We'd rather do the fun stuff and let the accountant do the boring tax returns and compliance work. In this case the client insisted we take over the whole of the accounting function. The accountant was most unhappy. "They are difficult clients", he said, "I have kept the fee lower than it should be and I have done extra to help them". Indeed, he had! The financial statements were beautiful to behold with colored graphs and key ratios compared against industry average. (most accountants still don't do that. I had advised that both wages costs and cost of foodstuffs were too high. Our focus was to form tactics to reduce them. "But I had already told them that", said the Accountant, "what do they need you for?' I told him that the client knew the kitchen wages were too high and what he wanted was for someone to show them how to reduce the wages in the kitchen. "I can't do that", he said, "I'm an accountant". I would have to camp down there in the restaurant to see what's going on. And they wouldn't pay the fee". Yes they would. They were going to pay me. Most accountants see their role as being the provider of financial statements, cash-flow projections and tax returns, and there's the rub. 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