No time is ever the right time

You just had to deal with the Oct. 15 extension deadline, so this was definitely a bad time time to even be thinking about preparing your marketing campaigns for the upcoming tax season.

Right now, you need to be spending two hours at a time on hold with ACS trying to catch up on tax resolution case work, since you couldn’t do any of that during the two week IRS furlough.

And in just a few weeks, of course, the holidays are hitting, so you’ve got family obligations, shopping for gifts, and squeezing in those last minute year-end tax planning appointments.

Of course, once January rolls around, you have to focus on hiring seasonal tax prep staff, making sure your annual tax software updates are all good to go, and making sure your tax return client folder vendor has the dark blue ones in stock that you prefer to use.

Then… Well, then comes three months of hunkering down doing returns. Then comes retreat season. And taking the kids on summer vacation. And catching up with late filers again. Or something else. Or this, or that…

You just can’t seem to find the time to work on your marketing.

Tomorrow marks the three year anniversary of the day I left a stable job and entered private practice. It also marks the day that I started working with a few other licensed tax professionals to help them turn their businesses around. I also had extensive consulting obligations to my prior employer. I also had a completely unrelated side business that wasn’t doing too well and needed my attention. Plus I had substantial training time committed to two sports. And…and…and…

There just aren’t enough hours in the day. There’s always something coming up. We have to deal with this, and then that… There’s just never time to spend working ON the practice rather than IN the practice. No time is ever the right time. Argh!

Do you feel this way? Do you feel like you’re not really in control of your own business, let alone your schedule? Do you comprehend that certain things should take priority in your firm, but you just never manage to get around to them?

See also  Tax preparation fees

Every business owner, in every industry, feels this way. But one of the major distinctions between successful firms and unsuccessful firms, by whatever metric one chooses to measure success, is that successful practitioners spend considerable time working on things that grow revenue, increase efficiency, and increase the client base.

If your business goals have anything to do with increasing your income and/or decreasing your working hours, then you need to be focused on that goal for a part of every day. Day in, day out, without fail. If you genuinely want to grow your practice, then you have one top priority each day. Just one, not two or six.

And that top priority should, realistically, get done first thing in the morning before anything else. That one thing should be scheduled in your appointment calendar as an appointment with yourself. It’s time blocked out to work ON your practice. It’s time in which you are not allowed to be interrupted: No phone calls, no voicemail, no email, nada. Unless it’s a genuine emergency involving flood, fire, blood, etc., this is time for working on the most important things in your practice.

This is also not a time for client work, or doing your own payroll or bookkeeping. No, this is not a time for administrative tasks. Specifically, this is time that should be spent working on either marketing or systems implementation.

Each day, the actual tasks that you’re doing during magic time may differ. Today, perhaps it’s reserving space in the January, February, and March Val-Paks and working on your insert. Tomorrow, maybe it’s creating the next three emails in your autoresponder sequence that goes out to leads from your web site. And maybe Friday you’ll be starting on putting together the monthly client/prospect newsletter for November so that you can get it to your printer by the end of next week.

If you don’t proactively schedule time at the beginning of your day to work on the most important things that move your practice forward, then you’ll simply never move forward. Whatever goals you’re trying to reach in your practice, they just aren’t going to happen if you’re not actually working on them. And that means blocking out time, eliminating distractions, and making sure other people know that you’re not available during that time.

See also  Six Sigma application to accounting processes

Take action on the important things, and schedule the time for them in your daily routine. Otherwise, the right time will simply never come of its own accord.