I was working with a firm owner recently, and we were exploring where his clients were really coming from. He has been growing, but he didn’t really have a website and he wasn’t really marketing. How can you grow if you don’t have a website, a logo, or participate in marketing activities? Similar question: why do some firms fail to grow when they do have a solid website, a logo, and participate in marketing?
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So you value priced your customers. You thought you nailed it. You had value conversations to determine which results you provide that your customers will gladly pay for. You gave fixed price options. You burned your time sheets. You sold access to your intellectual capital.
And then tax reform came along with nine days left in 2017 and everybody has questions. EVERYBODY. You have questions. Colleagues are calling and emailing you to see if you know stuff, but you don’t, so you’re calling and emailing colleagues who are bigger nerds than you to see if they know. And even when you do find an answer, it comes with a disclaimer like “from what we can tell at this point” or “I’m not sure, but it appears as though” or “this is a total shot in the dark, I really have no f***ing clue.” Read more
Asking questions is a fundamental part of our lives from our toddler years. Early on our questions may have been motivated around stalling our bedtimes or trying to distract our teachers. As we matured, our questions became more involved. We learned that there are open ended, leading, hypothetical, probing questions that help us in getting to the answers we are looking for. However, we also learned that asking questions is often met with mixed responses from others. This book review is about, A More Beautiful Question. In this book, Warren Berger lays out the arguments and a framework for asking questions to bring about breakthrough ideas and meaningful change to our lives. There is so much great content in this book. It will challenge your thinking and bring to mind so many applications in your life as a leader and change maker.
Most clients pay us from January to December each year. We draft their fees monthly. Sweet cash flow! So every December, Julie and I go through client renewals with our clients. Though the renewal season is only a month, the process seems to take forever. Who will renew? Who will leave? Will someone step up their agreement with us? Will next year be short of this year in terms of monthly revenue? Yay, they doubled their contract! Wait, no they went back to what they had last year. Ugh. Honestly, it’s painful to walk through. For us and our team (since our technical team is paid a percentage of our revenue). But every year. Every year we make it through. We come out on the other side, and we learn something new, and we become a new firm from the process. We walk through scary places together, and we are a stronger team because of the trenches we found ourselves in. We’ve done our annual renewals like this for many years, and it’s honestly hard every year. Read more
I was interviewed on a podcast earlier this week. We got talking about risks and how risks can be structured in such a way that there’s no downside. I mean, there’s a downside — there has to be or it’s not really a risk — but the downside can have a big upside.
The trick is to align your risk taking with what you’re really all about, with your core values. By doing that, if you succeed, fantastic; and if you fail, you just earned a story that can be leveraged to build a robust culture. Read more
I don’t really like punk rock music, but I love punk rock’s ethos.
I don’t like the Ramones, and I don’t like Neil Diamond. But I’d proudly wear a Ramones t-shirt because of what they stand for, and I’d unhesitatingly burn all Neil Diamond merch because Neil Diamond songs are like hairballs in my ear canals.