Who Are You?
Well, there’s a loaded question if I ever heard one!
Really, though, think about it. Who are you? What made you the person you are today?
Is this the person you thought you would be?
What inspired me to write this blog was something that was said this past summer while I was taking an accounting webinar for consultants.
One of attendees on the webinar commented that she felt she totally understood accounting, QuickBooks, payroll, etc. Her issue was that she just did NOT understand business and businesses. She felt that this lack of exposure to different businesses and how they work held her back from getting better engagements (and being able to charge more for her services).
She made a valid point. Understanding various accounting packages is awesome. Understanding how to deal with the CRA is a huge bonus. She had the basic knowledge down pat. But, what she didn’t know how to do was to relate her knowledge, quickly, to the business and the business owner.
The speaker understood her plight. Others on the webinar chimed in that this was an issue for them as well.
The speaker suggested that they find mentors in the various businesses that they wished to serve and actually get under their wing and learn from them.
I pondered this once the webinar was over. I said to myself, yes, I can fully understand their frustration.
Then, it dawned on me that I had not felt this plight simply because I had been ‘in business’ my entire life.
I started helping my Dad with our family ‘town handyman’ company basically when I was old enough to walk with a hammer in my hand. (I still can walk and talk with a hammer in my hand and am eternally grateful for everything I learned being his sidekick)
What other ‘things’ had I done to be able to relate to so many different clients as I now do?
Well, I started to make a list (in no particular order) of jobs I had done/places I had worked: cashier, warehouse manager, postal sorter, gas station attendant, volunteer, ‘handyman’, payroll, administration, store manager, receptionist, sales, waitress, newspaper, garden center, computer operator, human resources, expeditor (aerospace), data entry clerk, babysitter, pet sitter, house sitter, Christmas tree salesperson, wood lot (driving the truck and stacking wood), entrepreneur, Avon rep, Regal rep, accounting manager, shipper/receiver.
No doubt I have missed something, but, you get the point. Having worked in such a variety of positions at anywhere from a garden center, to a printer, a restaurant, aerospace, franchise head office; well, being exposed to so many different businesses in such a wide variety of positions actually taught me so much; literally from the ground up.
I may not have appreciated the job at the time. (Who actually enjoys being outside in minus degree weather for ten hours selling Christmas trees; but, it put food on the table)
My point is simply this: By being exposed to such a wide variety of operations, I learned how those businesses worked.
This is why I am now able to apply that knowledge almost instantly to any client that walks through the door.
This ‘school of hard knocks’ knowledge has now become my briefcase of indispensable business savvy that I draw on each and every day.
You can’t buy that. You have to earn it.
This is why, as a Consultant armed with this background, you can charge more.
I totally agree with the attendees on the webinar. They did need this ‘business savvy’ to complement all of their other awesome skills.
It doesn’t happen overnight. For me, it happened over a life time.
So, when I ask myself: Who Am I?
I am all of those past experiences, bundled up with a lot of education, practice, patience, and wisdom to boot.
That’s who I am for our clients. I am them; or if not them, I can instantly relate to their issues, their pains, their goals.
The next time you meet a new client; listening intently to their needs, think seriously about who they are, who you are and how you can, armed with your past experiences, give them the best service possible.