Imagine we’re having lunch together. Across the white tablecloth, you see me leaning forward with interest. You hear me ask, “So, what’s the story behind your practice?”
Story. Your practice’s story.
Do you feel yourself blanking out?
Are you tempted to shrug and say, “I don’t think my firm has a story”?
Ah, but it does. Every business, regardless of what type of business it is, how you started it, and who you are, has a story.
I urge you to do some thinking to identify and clarify your practice’s story.
Your firm’s story exists. And if you feel blocked about what it is, that only means you haven’t yet recognized it. But it’s there.
What is your practice’s story?
Your practice’s story illustrates the essence of what your business is all about. It’s a compelling description of the “big idea” behind your firm.
Why do you need a story?
When your story becomes clear to you, suddenly you become equipped with one of the most versatile tools for success. In fact, your practice’s story is almost like a Swiss Army knife in your small business tool box. You’ll be amazed how many ways you can use it. For example:
- A compelling business story helps rally your employees.
- Your story can help attract the best recruits.
- Standing apart from your competition is crucial when it comes to growing your firm, too. When you’re able to articulate your practice’s story, you’re automatically equipped with the words to differentiate your business – in marketing materials, advertising, customer communications and more.
What does a business story look like?
You might be tempted to think back to your first day of business and begin your story with, “Well, first I unlocked the door and turned on the ‘OPEN’ sign in the window. Eventually somebody walked in with his tax documents. Then we bought a radio…”
Your story is a little bigger than that. And it doesn’t always start the day you opened your doors or pushed a button to take your web site live.
Your practice’s story could be about the glorious day when you decided to leave your job and strike out on your own.
Maybe your story is about the touching devotion of your employees who held the company together through the toughest times – sticking it out even when there didn’t seem to be a good reason.
Or maybe your story is about you moving beyond your comfort zone to achieve a formidable result.
Questions to Help Find Your Story
When you started on your journey of growing your own CPA firm, you had an idea – a BIG idea – of how you were going to do things differently.
- What set you off?
- What experiences did you have that made you feel passionate about doing something differently?
- What was the spirit at the moment? Think back through the years of history and find one incident, one anecdote that reflects the spirit.
That’s your practice’s story.
Once you’ve got one, it will take on a life of its own, helping your firm grow by leaps and bounds. Your story will inspire others to become a part of it.
That’s how small firms become great.
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