You may not realize it, but the context of your business is always changing on you. And that is playing tricks with your mind and what you think you can do to grow your firm. I’ve heard people say something like, “I don’t see any new things we can do to grow. So I guess we’ll just steadily continue serving clients and raising prices when we can.” They have fallen into the Current Context trap.
Before we talk about the Future Context of your business, I need to define what I mean by context. Context consists of the thoughts, processes, and past that you have run your business under for many years. Context could go by other names such as ‘worldview’ or ‘paradigm.’ You may not even realize it, but you have a context surrounding how you do things, why you do things, and why you can’t seem to break free from your past way of operating your firm.
I’m a context junkie, so I can give you an example of living under a context that could hold our firm back. I do all of the selling in our firm, and I typically sell our services exactly the same way each time. Lately, we’ve gotten a few larger leads that are requiring a different approach. I never would have considered approaching selling in a completely different way if my partner had not challenged my context of how I sell. Similar to this, when I coach business owners on growing their businesses, I am meant to bring a Future Context to their consideration of growing their businesses. When I challenge them to think about their business in new ways they often see their business from a whole new angle. The other day I asked a coaching client what their billing rate was. When she answered, I asked “Why isn’t it double that number?” Hmmmm. She didn’t know why, because she runs her business in a comfortable context of how she has always billed for her services. She was in a Current Context trap.
Your context is the sum total of your experience, your model of doing business, your current client list, and many many more things. Your context is the present state of your firm, and it’s hard to see that your firm can be anything other than what it is now. But your Current Context could be wrong. You can mature as a firm owner and thus outgrow your Current Context without realizing it. If you don’t stop to think about it, you may be destined for doing more yet continue to do the same old thing.
A Future Context is a brand new paradigm that you have never experienced before. Your Future Context may be so different that you’ve never even considered the possibility of doubling your price, becoming a business coach, or getting rid of the whole individual tax process in your firm. Thriveal members have done these things, so we know they are possible! A Future Context may be visualizing yourself running a firm that is twice the size of your current firm. It’s hard to picture, isn’t it? But it’s a habit you should start to form.
Can you adopt a new Future Context for your firm? Sure you can, but it often involves the process of allowing others to challenge you or ask you hard questions. This is what the Thriveal community does for its members every day – members ask each other questions like “why do you do it that way?” or “how can you do it better?” or “what will you do differently next time?” Questions like these are all part of crafting a new paradigm and maturing business owners. You could enter a paradigm where you are bigger, better, more profitable, less stressed out, more in control, open to new ways of doing things, more flexible, less fearful, not on your own, and the list goes on and on! Seeking to change your current context is a road that only the brave walk. But living within a new Future Context could be the most exciting thing you’ve done in your career!
Jason is the Founder of Thriveal and the Chief Innovative Officer of his CPA firm, Blumer & Associates. He is the co-host of the Thrivecast and The Businessology Show and speaks and writes frequently for CPAs and creatives, his firm’s chosen niche. Jason loves to watch documentaries on just about anything. He lives in Greenville, SC with his wife and their three children.
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