TFYW#068: Don’t Let These Two Assumptions Hold You Back

Dec 29, 2023

Let’s dive into the assumptions holding us back.

Assumptions To Challenge

We need to challenge two key assumptions before we grow.

In early 2015, I was completing my first year as the financial controller for an oil and gas services manufacturing company.

That summer, the product manager gave his two weeks notice and decided to move on.

During those two weeks, our HR consultant was in the office preparing to hire a new manager.

At one point, she and I sat in the boardroom chatting about the vacant role.

She asked if I would be interested in taking over production in addition to my finance responsibilities.

The question blew my mind.

With one question, she challenged two key assumptions and beliefs I had built my career on:

  1. Skills – Could I learn new valuable skills outside of my formal training?
  2. Value – As a trained CPA, could I offer real value outside of a strict finance role?

I told her I would be interested in the role.

We spoke with the owner, and the following week, I was leading my small remote accounting group and the 17 person production team.

I ran both groups for almost two years before I left to start my firm full time.

In many cases, we don’t necessarily need someone to tell us what to do but instead question why we do what we do.

We need an injection from a different perspective or context about our skills and value.

Skills

The next stage of growth in your firm is on the other side of a few new skills.

When I started my firm, I leaned on my dad quite a bit to start my firm. At that point, he had run his firm for decades and had decent advice.

However, all of his advice and assumptions came from the perspective of a solo operator, entrenched in a brick-and-mortar environment.

One central assumption he had around his skills anchored my perspective.

Here’s the story –

My dad refused to do any CPE or CPD (for my Canadian readers) that required him to do a quiz to complete the hours.

He repeatedly proclaimed that he’d finished all the tests he needed for his license and wouldn’t be forced to do anymore.

His contempt for quizzes was bizarre to me.

However, I learned from my mom that he had twice failed the large Canadian CPA exam in the late 70s.

If he had failed the third time, he would have had to start the multi-year educational process again, knocking him back years and thousands of dollars.

When I heard that, I realized that my dad, my primary guide in setting assumptions in my firm, avoided failure of all kinds.

It made me wonder if I avoided failure and prevented growth due to his approach.

Now, it may sound like I have dad issues (which may be true), but I wanted to demonstrate how assumptions get embedded in our firm.

 

If you don’t remember anything else from this week’s newsletter, remember this:

 

Everything you do is underpinned by a learned assumption. Your assumptions are your limiting variable in most decisions.

 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine who or what created your assumptions.

Why do you think you

  • can’t create content?
  • can’t create a pipeline of clients?
  • can’t do more than compliance work?
  • can’t work less than 30 hours per week?
  • can’t hire someone to do tasks as well as you?
  • can’t run a remote team in another part of the world?

These are all achievable things for every single firm owner.

If you won’t challenge your assumptions about what skills you can learn, the next level of growth is probably out of reach.

Value

Challenging your assumptions of your value is the fastest way to increase your pricing.

At times, we assume that our value (and prices we charge) is attached to our education and experience or the time we spend on something.

None of those things demonstrate value (and shouldn’t drive prices).

Value is the results and outcomes of the business and the impact on the owners. It has little to do with you directly, just the results you deliver.

The best way to challenge your value assumptions is to demonstrate the value to your clients AND yourself.

I’ve found that your view of your value skyrockets once:

1. You’ve become good at something and have created an offer with predictable client results.

2. You can communicate clearly to the client what that impact is. I am not referring to the process (monthly cash flow projections, etc.) but what they can expect to experience.

3. You can quantify the impact against the investment your client will make.

4. You get testimonials and reviews of the work that you have done. Testimonials of happy clients do just as much for yourself and your team as it does for your prospects in proving your value.

A frequent and sustainable process where you can check why you do what you do, will be one of the most significant factors impacting your firm’s trajectory in 2024.

Happy New Year!

Build The Firm You Want.

Mark

P.S. Email Mark@FirmNexus.com with something that you want me to talk about. I’ll add it to the list. 

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