Are You Sabotaging Your Own Success?

In these tough economic times, it’s perfectly natural to brace for the worst.  In fact, your fight-or-flight instincts are probably in high gear, causing you to second guess any and all risky business decisions.  Unfortunately, that can be a death sentence to entrepreneurialism which thrives on taking calculated risks. 

While survival instincts are completely natural, nursing them to the extreme creates self-sabotage which will eventually run your business into the ground.  If you want to choose success and take measures to avoid self-sabotage, we suggest 6 simple tips:

1. Change your definition of failure. Generally individuals avoid risk because they fear failure.  However, the truly successful have discovered that failure is just part of the success curriculum.  Failure provides you with valuable lessons; it can school you on what you need to know to enjoy greater success next time.  So change your definition of failure and be prepared to learn often on your journey to success.

2. Surround yourself with positive people. Hanging around negative naysayers can be draining.  On the contrary, surrounding yourself with positive people can be energizing.  When you associate with individuals who are optimistic and encouraging, you’ll find their perspective is contagious; you and your business will be better for it.

3. Avoid negative self-talk. As Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or can’t – you are right.”  You are often your own worst enemy, and negative self-talk may be your greatest obstacle in avoiding self-sabotage.  Listen to what you tell yourself throughout the day.  Do you see yourself as a competent, accomplished individual, or are you constantly chastising yourself for what you perceive as mistakes and missteps? 

4. Follow your passion. We are excited and optimistic when doing what we love.  This makes it much easier to avoid the negativity associated with self-sabotage.  Consider what you’re currently doing to make a living; does it inspire excitement and joy?  If not, consider what profession would.

5. Day dream. It’s important that you take the time to imagine success.  The brain can’t tell the difference between reality and your imagination.  If you imagine yourself earning a promotion or getting a stellar job, you’ve tricked the brain into believing you’ve done that already, paving the way for reality.  And the more you visualize it, the more the subconscious begins thinking and doing those things that will prepare you to actually accomplish what you’re visualizing.

6. Act. You can be the most positive person on the planet, but unless you act on your aspirations, you will accomplish nothing.  Plan to accomplish one thing per week that will bring you closer to your professional goals. 

You can avoid self-sabotage by making a conscious effort to think and act more positively.  By applying these 6 simple techniques, you can choose success and enjoy the journey to increased profitability.

Invest in Staff Training

While staff training sometimes requires a significant investment, the return is found in greater employee retention, morale and overall production, making it a low-risk venture.  Universal Accounting offers staff training in three general areas, designed to improve a business’s overall efficiency:

1. Business Management Training. Universal provides onsite training for management to help develop a level of communication within a company that will lead to greater profits.

2. Accounting, Bookkeeping and Tax Training for Your Staff.  All too often, accounting and tax staff operate with a “task mentality,” passively fulfilling their job requirements.  Universal’s onsite and independent training provides each employee with the skills and abilities necessary to become their company’s profit center.

3. General Training.  Universal Accounting has developed a proven program to help non-accounting employees understand their function and importance within the business model. At the close of this training, each employee will understand how their position benefits the company; they will improve their skills in performing important responsibilities that will greatly benefit the company’s profitability.

To learn how UAC’s onsite staff training can benefit your business, call 1-800-343-4827.

Self Motivation

Have You Lost That Fire?

Staying Motivated after Achieving Success

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily. – Zig ZiglarPeople who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents. – Andrew CarnegieBe miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice. – Wayne Dyer

A man with a lightbulb for a head sits at a desk.Remember the days when the thought of owning and operating your own business was exciting and new? Now that you’ve actually accomplished that goal and have enjoyed a certain measure of success, you may find yourself feeling less and less inspired as the days go on. Whether you call it job burnout or just plain boredom you need to address this issue before it gets out of hand. There are ways to regain your motivation and feel excited about your business, and once again look forward to working for yourself everyday. Here are five ways to reignite that fire:

1. Don’t wait for inspiration to find youMotivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “The best motivating is self-motivating. The guy says, ‘I wish someone would come by and turn me on.’ What if they don’t show up? You’ve got to have a better plan for your life.”It’s important that you find your inspiration. What gets you excited? It’s good to look for books and tapes that could help you maintain a certain level of motivation. And remember that quote about bathing? You need to dedicate time for self-motivation every day. Even if it’s simply looking for quotes like the ones above; be proactive and find your motivation.2. Set goalsYou may be feeling a little disinterested because you’ve already achieved a fairly large goal: you’ve opened your own accounting practice. But what next? If you don’t set new and challenging goals you’ll find yourself losing steam and then finally the drive to do your best. Remember the question above: What excites you? If it’s no longer owning and operating your own accounting practice consider growing your accounting practice so that you become a premier firm with 20 or so employees. Or maybe you’d like to expand your business by offering more services like financial consulting or tax preparation and planning. Or perhaps you’d like to make enough money so that you enjoy a more flexible work schedule and spend more time with your family. Think long and hard about which goals you can be passionate about.3. Enjoy yourselfYou may not be feeling motivated because you’ve worked yourself too hard; perhaps you’re experiencing burnout. If you don’t take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labors, you’re on a fast track to MediocreVille. Planning for a big payoff, like a dream vacation, a new home, a flat-screen TV or whatever gets you excited, may be what it takes to motivate you in a more balanced way.4. NetworkWorking all by your lonesome can get old after awhile. Allowing yourself to get out and rub shoulders with other financial professionals can not only help motivate you but improve your business. As you talk with others you’ll find that you get new ideas on how to better manage your business, attract clients, and problem-solve. It will also be refreshing to enjoy the socialization networking provides.5. Ride the waveOnce you begin to feel that motivation again, ride the wave. That excitement for your work can ebb and flow, so when you feel a swell, jump on and ride it through. You’ll find you’ll accomplish a lot more in less time.

Master Coaching

Don’t panic just because you’ve lost your motivation; you can easily find it if you take a few simple steps. You may be surprised just how soon you feel that flood of excitement wash over you again. And if still need some help, Universal Accounting Center offers a special service designed to help you set and achieve motivational goals. Our Master Coaching includes 12 weekly coaching sessions with a dedicated coach to set goals, make assignments and hold you accountable for implementing the program. After the initial 12 weekly sessions, the coach will conduct nine follow-up monthly sessions. Imagine having your own personal small business coach to help you accomplish your goals and motivate you when you may not be able to motivate yourself. To learn more about Master Coaching visit the Universal Accounting Center website. For information on ordering this service, click here.

Master Coaching

A Support Coach Will Bring Out the Winner in You

A man fingers a club in his golf bag.In a movie, The Legend of Bagger Vance, a caddy (played by Will Smith) coaches a skilled golfer (played by Matt Damon) to perform well above his capability. The golfer knew how to swing a golf club, and the entire town of Savannah was behind him, but he needed the perspective and guidance of a coach to meet the challenge.This is not only true of golf wins, but can be said of most success stories – we all have coaches of one kind or another. Though they may be friends, family members, or professional associates, coaches can and will influence our actions. These people can spell the difference between success and failure. The key is to find one that will lead you to meet your objectives.The ultimate Support Coach has three characteristics:

  1. They are available to work with you.
  2. They will motivate you when you need a little encouragement; and.
  3. They understand what you are going through.

If you already know someone that matches this criterion, then congratulations are in order.

What a Coach Can Do for You

How you work with a coach depends upon your particular needs. If you’re adequately motivated, you may just need answers to questions as they arise. In this case, find someone that is knowledgeable and experienced in the areas you need the greatest support. Explain to the coach why you need his or her help, and then get contact information including a phone number, best hours to be reached, and an email address. The fee for such services depends upon the coach you’ve chosen and what it’s for. But, if it’s for professional assistance, then you’ll want to at least offer to pay for the help. The cost is really an investment. And when you consider that a coach’s help could be the difference between success and failure, the price is typically irrelevant.If you often wonder if you did the right thing, or you find that you’re letting yourself down, then you need a coach that will help you re-examine your objectives, put you back on course, and hold you accountable to yourself. This can only be done by setting up a regular appointment to review what is happening, what is expected, and sometimes, what you’re dreaming about. These meetings may occur weekly, if necessary, but never less than monthly. Otherwise, you and the coach run the risk of losing touch with the progress. A good coach will review action items with you from the previous meeting, and keep detailed notes on follow-up steps.Frankly, most people will find a coach that falls short on one or more of these key attributes. When that happens, the experience usually ends in frustration for both the individual and the coach. So, an increasingly popular option is to seek a professional coach – someone who is skilled at helping a person succeed.

Universal Accounting Center’s Master Coaching Programs

A man talks on his cell phone.Universal Accounting Center has two coaching programs designed to give you that extra help you need to succeed. If you are already a Universal student, chances are that you are familiar with the Academic Coaching program. Most likely you received support when you purchased the training program. At that time, you were assigned an academic coach who is qualified to answer all of your accounting, software and tax questions. Academic Coaches are full-time staff located at our corporate headquarters in Utah who are skilled professionals in accounting, tax, and marketing. They spend all day, during normal business hours, responding to student questions. Click here to read more about this program.For those who want the regularly scheduled coaching sessions, Universal offers the Master Coaching Program. For a relatively modest fee (especially when compared to other coaching programs), a student is assigned a Master Coach who will follow-up with the student at pre-arranged times each week to review progress on past objectives, discuss the student’s current position, and recommend action steps to take the student to the next level.Probably, the greatest advantage in using a Universal Master Coaching Program is that these professionals are focused exclusively on the accounting career. Unlike other coaching programs, the Universal Coaches are masters in helping the accountant reach his or her expectations – they know what works and what doesn’t. This specialization gives them insights that no other Coach will have.Enroll in our Master Coaching Program today! And if you want to aim higher, we suggest you consider pairing it with the Professional Bookkeeper Program and the Universal Practice Builder Program, both designed to help you start and/or build your own accounting practice.We’re certain you’re an amazing financial professional. We’re also certain, that will a little coaching you can become even better. Order now!

Is it Time to Hire a Support Staff? (Part Three of a Three-Part Series)

Ensuring Employee Retention

A business staff exhibiting teamwork.Hiring a support staff to help grow your business and better manage your workload is a defining moment in the life of an accounting practice. To help you work through this process, we’ve developed a three-part series on Hiring a Support Staff. The first week of this series we ran a quiz to help you determine whether or not you are ready to hire an employee to help with your workload. Last week we gave you guidelines in finding the perfect applicant for your business’s needs. This week we’re talking about how to avoid high employee-turnover in efforts to retain valuable employees.

1. Offer Health BenefitsThis is an appealing draw for highly-qualified applicants. Many will not even consider an opening that doesn’t offer health coverage. Depending on the size of your business you should look into this and see if it’s a possibility. Click here to read more about your health care options.2. Award special titlesIf you can’t award insurance benefits you should look at other, more creative ways, of rewarding employees for their work. One way to do this is in rewarding deserving employees with a new title: payroll manager, office assistant, marketing specialist, etc. Not only does this provide your employees with a sense of achievement, but it gives them the opportunity to strengthen their resumes. Avoid creating meaningless or arbitrary titles; that will do more harm than good.3. Reward employees with new and challenging projectsLike awarding titles, giving trustworthy employees new and challenging projects can provide them with a sense of achievement while also giving them the opportunity to strengthen their resumes. Nothing feels better than knowing your boss trusts you to manage a significant responsibility.4. Give employees their own parking spacesDepending on your situation, consider awarding employees their own parking spaces. If your office has a designated set of spaces, give choice employees a spot they can call their own. Or award one employee-of-th- month curbside parking.5. Allow employees to earn paid time-offMost large corporations provide employees with the benefits of paid time-off. This can be a great incentive that will not only retain employees, but motivate them to do their best work. For example, you can give four hours of paid time-off to the employee who shows consistent and error-free management of Client X’s account. If this motivates all employees to exhibit exemplary behavior, it will save you a lot more in the end than a few hours of paid leave. But Set high expectations so this doesn’t become an arbitrary reward that drains your budget.6. Offer flexible work schedulesThere are many qualified job candidates who would find your job offer more appealing if it came with a flexible work schedule. Whether the employee is able to enjoy more time at home with their children, go back to school, or recuperate from surgery, a flexible work schedule is greatly appreciated by those who need it to better balance their work and personal lives.7. Give small gifts or rewardsFor a low cost you can give deserving employees gift cards for restaurants, movie theaters, gas stations, book stores, etc. It may not seem like much, but this small gesture can do a lot to compliment your employees and boost morale.8. Say thank youThis may seem too simple, but the truth is employees tend to stay where they feel appreciated. In fact, public praise is a great way to express thanks for a job well done. Highlight choice employees in a newsletter, company email, or even a staff meeting. You may choose to thank your employees privately as well; employee evaluations are a good time to note specific instances where an employee’s hard work and creative thinking have benefited you and your business.

Small business owners may think they don’t have much to offer those employees they hope to retain long-term, but that’s not always the case. With a little creative thinking and a lot of genuine appreciation you may be able to retain good employees longer than you may imagine.

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