Paul Barnes: Embrace The Journey

By January 26th, 2017 No Comments

Setting up in business was the best thing I ever did and I want to help others to do the same.

Whether you are new to owning a business or well along the journey, I’d like to share what I have learned along my journey, both as a business owner and from seeing other business owners in the digital creative sector build their businesses.
Even a “bad” day as a business owner is far better than any day as an employee. The excitement and adrenaline that you feel as a business owner with the world at your feet is unparalleled.

I had the opportunity to grow into an existing business 3 years ago, where my employers had a career plan to fast track me to become a partner. I gave the opportunity the thought it deserved but it was never going to happen.

I had so many ideas for how to run a world class accountancy firm and as I had tested some of my ideas in the real world, I knew they worked. Why would I want to hustle with the challenges of trying to install these changes to an established firm with a legacy of largely poor quality clients, a culture for low value and low cost and a stagnated service proposition?

Instead I could start it all over, from a blank sheet of paper. What a feeling! That gift to be able to paint your dream picture, with no limitations and the knowledge that you could then go and implement it all is undoubtedly one of the most exciting feelings in life, not just in business.

From those early days of dreaming and mapping out the business plan, right through to today, I have enjoyed every moment. I get out of bed with the same energy and excitement on day 1,000 as I did on day 1 (I just get up that bit earlier in the morning now because then I can get on with making things happen even earlier!).

I always knew that I could create a service that offered business owners much more from their accountant. I could see common traits in business owners that I could work with. I knew that they were mostly short of time, worried about money, but always passionate about where they could go as a business. And I REALLY wanted to do something to help them to tackle these challenges and to define and work towards their goals.

The already fierce fire in my belly when I made the decision to set up the firm burned even fiercer when I started to experience building a business myself. I had become one of the people that I was advising. I was stood in their shoes, experiencing the same trials and tribulations that they were experiencing and I could relate to what they were going through.

Very quickly, I was identifying the specific challenges that digital creative agencies faced and I was learning a lot about their industry. I learned what made the successful into winners and what the failing businesses were getting wrong. The challenges were many, some more impactful than others. But I came to realise that they all fell into 3 broad categories:

  • Time – They wanted more of it
  • Money – As above, plus they wanted to understand and plan for it better
  • Workflow – They want their team to deliver work more efficiently

There is a common theme between these 3 headings. Something that if one of them is improved, it is improved directly. And if all 3 of the above are improved, the effect is even more profound. And that is scalability.

If you have more time, you are able to put more attention into building strategy and pursuing the most attractive opportunities.

If you have more money, you are able to invest in all of those activities that you know will help the business to grow.

If you have a team working efficiently, producing quality work within budget, then you are able to continue taking on more work, profitably.

And if you continue to improve in all 3 areas, you have scalability – the ability to continue growing a business without increasing stress, zapping your time and reducing profit margins.

Remember that feeling of excitement and limitless potential you had when you set up your business? Well now you have it with time, money and workflow mastered. Now you have it with a team, a brand and a client base behind you. Now you can achieve anything because now you are invincible!

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