Accounting & Auditing Change / transformation Leadership Management / Strategy

Your path to success? Blow crap up, then make crap up

You say you don’t like the road you’re traveling? Here’s a thought: Change it.

You can have the career, the business, the life you want you. All you need is a vision and the courage to make it happen.

OK, granted — that sounds like I peeled it off an motivational poster. That doesn’t mean it’s not true.

Ask Jason Blumer.

It took a bit of trial and error, but this guy has built the firm he wants and is doing work that matters to his clients. At the 2015 Xerocon conference in Denver, he shared his secrets to success:

  1. Blow crap up.
  2. Make crap up.

It’s pretty simple, really. “Blowing crap up” is the art of saying “no” to the majority. “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority,” said Blumer, channeling Mark Twain, “it's time to pause and reflect.”

Once you’ve blown up your old stuff, it’s time to make up some new stuff. “This is about asking, ‘What are the new things I want to create?’” Blumer said.

There’s a whole lot of vision and hard work involved there, but that’s the blueprint in a nutshell — out with the old, in with the new.

If you’re looking for a little more to go on, though, these bits of advice from Blumer won’t hurt.

Less is more You don’t have to take every job that walks through the door. In fact, you shouldn’t. You’ll grow your business by pruning your clients. “The wrong clients will damage your firm in ways you can’t imagine,” Blumer said.

Find your niche You can’t be everything to everyone, so don’t even try. Find that one thing you love to do and focus on that. Bloomer’s firm, Blumer CPAs, serves design firms, development houses and agencies. That’s it. If that’s not what you do, don’t bother calling. “Almost nobody can be my client,” Blumer said, and that’s a scary thing. But it’s also incredibly liberating and allows you to do the stuff you love to do.

Results first Blumer’s firm is a ROWE shop — that’s “results-only work environment.” That means you can work when you want, where you want, doing what you want, wearing anything you want. Anything goes, as long as your work gets done. “Nothing matters in our firm except results,” said Blumer, who’s quick to note that such an environment is not for everyone. Think hard about what’s important to you and your team. But if staff autonomy is among your core values, ROWE might be something you should consider.

Value over time Blume has ditched the time sheet and embraced value-pricing — assigning a set price to each of his services based on the value it provides to clients. It just makes sense: Your clients are paying you for the value you provide, not for the time you spend providing it. Put another way: “If you suck at what you do,” says Sage’s Ed Kless, “by all means keep billing by the hour.”

Beyond that, Blumer says value pricing has transformed the type of client who comes through his door. They’re looking for value, not a bargain. There’s a huge difference.

It's not rocket science It doesn't take a genius to figure out what's going on here. In a lot of ways, it’s common sense.

“This stuff won't kill you,” Blumer said. “It means you can have the firm you want.”

Go get it.


William D. Sheridan