Why most firms become stuck and a proven strategy for becoming unstuck

James Ashford
James Ashford
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A lack of clearly defined and clearly communicated goals is why most firms become stuck. Either stuck being able to grow themselves or stuck being able to properly serve their clients.

Start-ups and the large firms both have challenges they’re looking to overcome in achieving growth, and very often they become stuck, not knowing which direction to take.

Firms wanting to get unstuck need to answer these questions:

  • Where are you trying to get to?
  • What’s your goal?
  • Have you clearly defined that goal?
  • Have you clearly communicated that goal to everyone on your team?
  • Is everyone clearly reminded of that goal every single day?

It is important firms realise their goals because without that direction they are unable to make decisions.

Decisions are nothing more than small directional or acceleration changes on the journey towards your destination. With clear goals, your decisions become much easier to make because you can ask:

  • Should we go this way or that way?
  • Should we go faster or slower?
  • Will it help us to take us closer or further away from our goals?

Without goals, you become stuck and decide not to make decisions.

How to clearly define your goals

Your goals should be able to be written on one sheet of A4 paper and should outline:

  • How many clients you’re wanting to impact.
  • How you’re going to impact them
  • With how many staff
  • How much income that will generate
  • What wider impact you will have in the world; and
  • By when

So it could be something as simple as:

  • In 2020 we will help 300 clients build more profitable, predictable and scalable businesses.
  • These are served by 20 team members who we constantly help to flourish.
  • We are generating £150,000 per month in recurring revenue
  • We have helped over 100,000 children around the world to have a better level of education.

If your goals are any more complex than that, then they’re probably not useful. And remember, goals should be a destination and not a direction.

How to clearly communicate your goals

But if I walked into 99.99% of accountancy firms around the world, I guarantee I would have no clue where this firm was heading and therefore, neither would their staff.

Earlier this year I was invited to speak at Infusionsoft’s annual conference, ICON in Phoenix. I was taken to their head office, and they had their goals clear for all to see.

They had just completed their Everest Mission and now they were on with their Mars Mission. Their Everest Mission was displayed on a 10ft banner, which hung over a mock football field where they held all of their meetings, in the centre of their impressive offices.


Every member of staff was reminded of their goals every day and in every meeting.

The kicker in all of this

So if you don’t have clearly defined goals, which are clearly communicated, then you don’t know where you’re going. And therefore, you cannot make the correct decisions to get you there.

So you become stuck. Either stuck going in the wrong direction, stuck not going fast enough or just plain stuck.

But here’s the kicker: if you don’t define your goals then there’s a good chance your clients don’t either. And if your clients don’t have clearly defined goals, which you’re aware of, then how can you help them?

And so you become stuck in not being able to give your clients as much value as possible.

How to become unstuck

Here is a clear action plan which firms committed to their goals should complete within a week and the take action.

  1. Agree on your goals as described above – Make sure they are destinations and not directions. Make sure they excite you and your team. Make sure you spend no longer than one hour agreeing them.
  2. Design a banner or poster - You could get the artwork done on fiverr.com or by your marketing team. Either way, no excuses.
  3. Have it printed – whether that’s on an A0 poster for £10 or on a banner for £100.
  4. Display it where all of your team can see them every day – 15 minutes
  5. Help your clients to do the same and even get their posters printed for them – just set a plan to repeat the above process in the very next client meeting you have. Or you could sell this as a service.
  6. Make sure your client managers know your clients’ goals
  7. Reference your clients’ goals with every meeting you have, every management report you produce, every P&L you look through and in every decision you help them to make.

There are many ways a firm can become stuck, but in every case, getting unstuck starts with clearly defining and communicating your goals.

About James Ashford

James Ashford

James Ashford is author of "Selling to Serve", founder of GoProposal & The 7 Systems and Director at My Accountancy Place.


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