SuccessI seem to recall one of the big software providers ran an event that had the theme “Success is Personal”. I couldn’t agree more. One thing I’ve learned from working with many accounting firm owners is that success is not the same for each person. That is why as part of the business planning process I use we spend time up front talking about what success is. I have a series of questions I ask to help reveal this and at the core of this is assessing your personal situation and the goals you have. If you have a profitable business but are miserable, then I don’t see that as success. So it is really important to consider the personal first then build a business with goals that align with your personal goals.

For me, one of the elements of success is being able to travel with my partner Kate. For us travel is important. We absolutely love visiting new places and learning more about the world. We haven’t counted recently but I think together or separately we have visited about 70 different countries and a lot of Australia. Travel is important so we build the business to allow us to do it.

This is an example of getting alignment between personal and business goals. One goal is to visit a minimum of one new country each year and most years also spend time with friends in France in the European summer.

When we plan each year for the business we make sure we block out the time needed for our travel. We start with that, not try to squeeze it in later. We want to make sure that we get to do some things that are important to us by choice and not by accident. We plan to ensure it happens. This is a work to live not live to work mentality. Can you see the distinction?

It is not uncommon to see an accounting firm owner who says that family is important to him or her. It is also not uncommon to see that same person working really long hours and saying they really don’t get to see their family nearly enough. And then when they are with their family they are often still thinking about the business. Sound familiar?

There are many reasons why this occurs but I believe the fundamental reason in many cases is because the business owner does not build the business with the goal of quality family time at the centre of it. If you are serious about this you will find a way to make it work. I didn’t say it is always easy but if you start with the intent and a determination to succeed you are half way there.

Here are a few questions to those of you who are business owners:

  • Have you thought seriously about what your personal goals are and what is important to you?
  • Have you built your business to align with those goals and what is important to you?
  • If not, what are you going to do about it?

If you need help with this I will be happy to assist.