Keep your eye on the prize

I need to start packing for my afternoon flight to the Bahamas, but before I sign off for the day, I wanted to share a quick thought that came from my preparation for a training call I’m doing on Wednesday.

The thought I had boils down to a simple question: What’s your exit plan?

Very few small business owners have an exit strategy. They have no idea where they’re taking they’re business. They’re driving the bus without a destination.

I think this is a very strategic error to be making. When you have a destination, you know what you’re working towards. Goals, especially end goals, are important for helping you make good business decisions.

In other words, when you’re working towards an exit strategy, some ultimate goal for your practice, it provides a clear context in which you can make business decisions. Every business decision either moves you closer to the prize, or it takes you further away.

The subject of Wednesday’s call is how to work with ideal clients only, and fire the bad ones. When you have an end goal in mind for your practice, you’re able to actually define what constitutes a good and bad client. The bad clients get thrown overboard, and then you implement marketing strategies to attract ideal clients (who generally pay premium fees).

But none of this is possible if you don’t have the end goal in mind. What are you truly trying to achieve with your tax practice? Where do you want it to be in 12 months?

Life became a lot more pleasant after I strictly defined what I wanted out of my practice. Basically, I wanted a practice that consumed as little time as possible, but with decent revenue, such that I could have both the time and money to travel as I please. Being able to take a totally random trip to the Bahamas is how I wanted to live, and so over the course of about a year I built a practice that affords me that luxury.

Seriously contemplate what you want out of your tax practice, and how your client selection process plays into your goals. (Hint: If you accept every client with a pulse and a check, you’re doing it wrong.)

Factor your exit strategy into your business decisions on a daily basis, and you’ll be moving towards accomplishing that end goal.