When I began working with Peter Cook about 12 years ago we got down to the crux of my issues:
- I couldn’t work any harder or faster
- I didn’t trust anyone else to do the job as well as I could
- I didn’t want to turn away new clients who I knew I could help
Pete asked inquisitively “If you were able to write down how you did the bookkeeping and found a bookkeeper who followed those instructions do you think that would work?” I agreed that was possible. But I then asked “What time of the day am I going to do that – midnight to dawn?”
Writing down how I did the bookkeeping, although simple in theory, was much harder than I expected. It was my elephant. It was hard enough just trying to find the time to start let alone knowing where to start. This issue is so common that if you google it you get a plethora of advice. The EMyth blog “How to Eat an Elephant" explains that the first thing you need to do is focus on why you would want to eat that elephant in the first place. In other words, be clear about your vision.
So I worked with Pete on that and decided the one thing that really got me fired up was empowering people around their finances and I didn’t want to stop doing that. Once I was clear about that I needed a strategy to eat the elephant one bite at a time. It was too difficult to sit at my computer and try to work out which piece of information I needed to document, so I found a great bookkeeper and sat beside her as she did the work and wrote instructions on a notepad (I didn’t even have a laptop!), and when I returned to my office I would type up my instructions. The next session if she asked questions I would expand on the instructions. When things went wrong, I updated the instructions. As I put on new bookkeepers and they asked different questions, more instructions, then checklists. The instructions became manuals. And every year for the past 12 years they have been rewritten.
Has it been worth it? Absolutely. By writing down how I did the bookkeeping and training a team of great bookkeepers, I have been able to empower more business owners than I could have helped on my own.
So are you clear about why you want to eat the elephant in your bookkeeping business in the first place and have strategies to do that one bite at a time?
Love to hear your thoughts.