Vision – Plan – Desire

Strategically 3 is a magic number

They say that “all good things come in 3’s” and so it is with business strategy.

Are you working with the 3 Ingredients of Business Success?

Think of these 3 ingredients like going on any journey:

“VISION” – you know your ultimate destination and what it (your business) will look like when you get there.

“PLAN” – you have worked out the best route (plan) to arrive at your destination (vision).

“DESIRE” – you know that to arrive at your destination you will need to keep “filling up with gas” – because you really want to get there.

All 3 ingredients need to be working together if you are going to Maximize Business Potential.

In fact you can actually calculate your % chances of doing so by taking our “BIZ” Diagnostic Survey – which will calculate the strength of your business intangibles (those factors that on average represent 80% of business value).

The great news is that whatever your current “BIZ” Rating %  – business owners only need to bring their personal Desire to improve their business performance and “avoid the business rocks” (see illustration below) – because your licensed business advisor (powered by the HaydenRock System™) can help you to drive the Vision and the Plan.

If your business scores less than 55% “BIZ” Rating then your chances of maximizing business potential will be low (if you don’t make any business changes).

If you can improve your “BIZ” Rating to more than 55% – working towards a score in excess of 65% or 75% – then your chances of maximizing business potential start to exponentially improve.

We find that successful business owners prefer to leave nothing to chance – while the less successful treat business more like a “coin flip”– and you wouldn’t just flip a coin with your business success (or would you?).

By the way, just to be really clear here – we are talking about the % chance of you maximizing your business potential. Not the % chance of you running a moderately okay sort of business.

So – a key rule of strategy – think: VISION – PLAN – DESIRE

Because in strategic terms – 3 is a magic number!

If you need help contact us and we can put you in touch with a HaydenRock System™ licensed business advisor in your area.

You are a business owner and you have the desire to make the necessary changes to grow your business. You believe that you have a capable management team – and they seem to be bought in to your business vision. However, the change progress is painfully slow – in fact your change initiatives seem to have stalled (once again!).

What’s the problem? Why do we always seem to be starting new initiatives but never seeing them through to a conclusion?

This is just one of the many growth warning signs that you are an “In-Between-Zone” business. When this warning sign ‘pops up’ – maybe you should look at the composition of your management team.

Let’s assume that there are 5 people in your management team (a typical number). It wouldn’t be a surprise if your management looked like this:

– The “enthusiast”

– The “3 in the middle”

 – The “cynic”

A typical change process unfolds like this:

– The “enthusiast” is really fired up and is driving the process forward with passion.

– The “3 in the middle” are doing a good solid job – just as you would expect.

– The “cynic” has done little or nothing since we last met – but obviously dresses their inertia up with “smoke and mirrors” (the “3 in the middle” smile inwardly, they have seen the “cynic” behavior pattern before).

Two or three (say monthly) meetings go by following the pattern above. The business owner has done nothing to change the normal pattern of behavior. Sooner or later the “3 in the middle” say – “well we understood originally that this was a really important business change initiative – but the “cynic” is doing nothing and the owner just doesn’t seem to notice. Why are we bothering? Let’s just stop”.

Meanwhile, the “enthusiast” is oblivious to the fact that everybody else has given up. They are still passionately working on their aspect of the project.

Now fast-forward to 3 months later and the “enthusiast” is still trying to drive the (now redundant) change process forward. Everybody else has long since given up – and the “cynic” has won – the change program has stalled.

The pattern described is incredibly regular in many change initiatives – and becomes a self-fulfilling destiny – if the business owner does not get some outside help – to hold both themselves and the team accountable.

Too often the business owner cannot “see the wood for the trees”. They say things like – “well that’s just the way “cynic” always behaves (substitute name as appropriate). They have great qualities otherwise – but they just don’t like change”.

The problem is – if your business doesn’t change – then you will get what you have always got – and if you expect anything different (like growth) to happen – then that is the definition of insanity.

Basically – the business owner has to show the “desire” to sit down and talk with “cynic”. Find out what the problem is (do they need more help, more training, more encouragement, perhaps a kick up the ass?). That becomes much easier to do if an outside business coach is in turn holding the business owner accountable (as part of their role).

Doing nothing just reinforces the pattern of change initiative failure.

So ask yourself the question – who is in control of the pace of change inside your business – you or the “cynic” on your management team?

If you need help contact us and we can put you in touch with a HaydenRock System™ licensed business advisor in your area.

WHERE is your business going & what will it look like? PART 2 of 2

Would you ever drive your car aimlessly? Probably not – so why do so many business owners “drive their business ” without knowing where they are NOW – or WHERE they are planning on going? It’s no wonder that most business owners fail to maximize business potential.

In Part 1 – we began by talking about where your business is located NOW – today in Part 2 we will concentrate on the WHERE we are heading.

When you start planning a road trip, your biggest decision is ALWAYS to decide WHERE you are going. Then, the fun begins.  You research the best places to stay, the most popular attractions, and of course, the most delicious food to eat.  But, you must also factor in where you are NOW, the stops along the way, and most importantly coordinate the best route to get there.

You should use exactly the same thought process with your business as with any journey.

Unless you are a “lifestyle business” or “planning on going bust” one day – as a business owner you only have a choice between 3 Business Destinations – and one of those is highly unlikely!

Business Destination 3: Just conceivably you might be planning to take your business “Public” one day. In that case you should definitely be seeking expert assistance because it is a very specialized journey. But for now let’s assume that is not your plan – which leaves you with a choice of 2 possible destinations – but they are as “different as chalk and cheese”! Let’s take a look at each.

Business Destination 1: This is the Sale route – and it is the preferred destination for most business owners. That’s because a sale is the easiest destination to plan and it is a very structured journey (as depicted by the straight line on the map illustration).

In fact if you are planning on selling your business – there is really only one thing you need to remember, which is – “you need to build a business that looks like one that somebody else will want to buy”! So the key question becomes – what are potential buyers looking for?

We look at this question in much more detail in our “Knowledge Injection” Video called Planning for a Business Sale (available on request)– but the key takeaway is to put yourself in the shoes of a buyer and ask yourself the question – “what would excite and interest a potential buyer the most”?

It’s then simply a case of constructing a business strategy to create that vision – and make it happen (combining a plan and desire). If you are interested about how we combine these “3 Ingredients of Business Success” (Vision – Plan – Desire) then “come in for a chat” with your business advisor or ask to watch the Knowledge Injection video.

Business Destination 2: This is the Succession route – and is much the more difficult to maximize business potential (certainly without facilitated expert help). Why is it difficult? Well no two successions are ever exactly the same – so it’s not a structured route – it’s a far more “windy and idiosyncratic journey”.

We look at succession planning in much more detail in our “Knowledge Injection” Videos called Planning for a Business Succession and Planning for a Professional Partnership Succession (both available on request)– but the key takeaway is that a successful succession is all about creating a “win:win scenario” for both parties (usually the older, retiring party as well as the younger, succeeding party).

By the way – if you are still UNSURE between Sale and Succession“rule of thumb”assume business sale (the more structured route). It is FAR easier to plan for sale and then pivot towards a succession plan (if required) than to attempt the reverse!

The other big question when it comes to destination planning is TIMING.

It is never too early to begin to shape what you want your business to LOOK LIKE  – and WHERE it is heading – but if you are LESS THAN 5 YEARS away from your destination then DESTINATION PLANNING should be 100% of your strategic focus.

Conversely – if you are MORE THAN 5 YEARS away from your destination then GROWTH PLANNING will most likely be your key strategic focus. Remember there are “Only 4 Ways to Grow a Business” (if you are interested about business growth then come in for a chat with your business advisor).

If you need help contact us and we can put you in touch with a HaydenRock System™ licensed business advisor in your area.

Is your business NOW in the “In-Between Zone”? PART 1 of 2

Would you ever drive your car aimlessly? Probably not – so why do so many business owners “drive their business ” without knowing where they are NOW – or WHERE they are planning on going? It’s no wonder that most business owners fail to maximize business potential.

You should use exactly the same thought process with your business. The two most critical parts of the creating your business roadmap is to establish your business location NOW and WHERE it is ultimately heading.

Today in Part 1 – we are going to begin by talking about where your business is located NOW – we will concentrate on the WHERE you are heading in Part 2.

Typically, businesses slowly transition through 4 Growth Stages: At HaydenRock Solutions we call them –“Start-Up Zone”, “Entrepreneurial Zone”, “In-Between Zone”, and the “Properly Managed Zone”.

Growth Stage 1: Once upon a time your business began in the “Start-Up Zone”. Your business idea was a success and you quickly “turned the corner” into the “Entrepreneurial Zone”.

Growth Stage 2: As a business owner, the “Entrepreneurial Zone” was where you learned how to become a great “plate spinner”. Lots of adjectives here – you were bursting with “passion”, “zeal”, “zest”, “enthusiasm”, and you would “knock down brick walls” to make things happen. But even the best plate spinner eventually reaches their limits. Beyond a certain point, business owners discover that it becomes almost impossible to grow significantly without a change of business style.

Having reached that point – most business owners try to build a management team – in fact they are trying to transition directly to the final stage (Growth Stage 4) – the “Properly Managed Zone” – but that’s not where they move to next.

Growth Stage 3: In fact most small-to-medium sized businesses (those with annual revenues between $1m – $20m) move straight into the “In-Between-Zone” and their business owners say things like:

– “We lack direction”
– “We have great people but they are not all pulling together”
– “We’re not as efficient as we used to be”
– “We start lots of new initiatives – but we never see them through”
– “We’ve reached the point where we need an injection of new skills”
– “We seem to do too much for the money we charge” (our customers)

They may not say ALL of the above – but if even a FEW of these symptoms sound like your business – then we can safely say that your business is currently in the “In-Between-Zone”.

We all know that the “Definition of insanity” is to keep doing the same things and expect a different result.

If you want to significantly and successfully grow your business – and move out of the “In-Between-Zone” towards the “Properly Managed Zone” – then you need to learn new skills – you need to stop “plate spinning” and start to properly plan your “business growth journey”.

We know where we are NOW and we are ready to get going – but WHERE are we heading? That’s for next time!

If you need help contact us and we can put you in touch with a HaydenRock System™ licensed business advisor in your area.

The next time someone asks what you do, Hitendra Patil has a
better suggestion for you than, “I’m an accountant.”

Threats to the accounting profession are coming from every direction:
Robots. Artificial intelligence. Blockchain. Overseas outsourcing.
Encroachment from other professionals.

Yet Hitendra Patil believes there’s never been a better, more exciting
time to be a CPA.

That is, as long as you are a certain kind of CPA. He calls this new and
improved professional an Accountaneur.

An Accountaneur is an entrepreneur who happens to be an accountant.
Accountaneurs spot and pursue opportunity, and think like a business
owner, not like a clerk. They see possibility where others see problems.
They’re not only the most trusted advisor to their business owner
clients, but also the most relevant. They work less hours but
add more value.

Don’t worry, says Patil. Nobody is born with these skills. But any
accountant can learn them. Here are five tips on how to get started.

1. Another word for risk is opportunity

“Risks exist for all business owners,” notes Patil. “Entrepreneurs act
despite the risk. In their minds, there is a different word for risk; it’s
called opportunity. Over a period of time, successful entrepreneurs find
a way, a method, or a system to manage and overcome risks.”

Identifying and quantifying risk is in most CPAs’ wheelhouse. They do it
very well for their clients and they do it fairly well for themselves, too.
Patil recommends committing some risk capital to invest in
experimenting, trying out new things.

“It can be as small as 5% of earnings,” he suggests. “And once you
quantify your risk capital, you can see it in totality. Otherwise it is like
fog: You get scared because you can’t see very far.

“When you’re doing compliance-focused work day in and day out, your
mind does not get conditioned to think in risk-averse ways. And habits
can be hard to break, but that’s the key. Leverage the strength of

If you put yourself in the habit of taking calculated risk for your own
practice growth, argues Patil, you will soon be able to handle and
perceive risk as well.

“It is a process,” he says. “It is not an overnight makeover. One fine
day it will seem like an overnight makeover, once you get into those
risk-taking habits.”

2. Wean your practice of repetitive tasks

CPAs are trained and conditioned to learn new things. However, the
knowledge they acquire tends to be technical in nature – comprised of
rules and codes and sections and subsections. Patil warns that rote and
repetitive activities are at risk in today’s fast-changing business world.

As an example, he points out that it took 20 weeks for a team of 10
senior auditors to process an audit assignment to find five unusual
transactions. IBM’s Watson found them in four minutes.

“Machine learning, artificial intelligence, and immense processing
power are advantages that a human being simply cannot match,” he

That’s the risk. The opportunity is to liberate your time and life by
leveraging this same technology to your benefit. It is like hiring
thousands of people for the tiniest fraction of the historical cost of
hiring, and benefitting from that massive productivity and accuracy.

“When you relate the intelligence from technology to the business
decisions your clients have taken or not taken, you will become their
highly paid business strategist or the growth director,” states Patil.
“The future success of accountants will come from these contextual

3. Look for ways to be helpful

“Why Accountants Could Be the Happiest People on Earth” is a chapter
title in Patil’s latest book. His work is based on research and
organizational psychology, which implies that people are more
innovative and successful when they are motivated by a desire to help
other people.

“For accountants it is not very difficult to find ways to help,” says Patil.
“For example, just jotting down the questions clients and prospects ask
you for two or three months will reveal common issues, challenges,
and problems that people need help with. When you start solving these
problems, you’re on your way to becoming indispensible in a way that
doing write-ups never will.”

Problems can also be identified through accounting information, notes

“One of my clients was doing the accounting for a large restaurant, and
the restaurant was having profitability issues,” he explains. “This CPA
was a good accountant, but she did not have restaurant experience.
Simply by looking at the accounting data, she figured out that there
was a problem with liquor sales. By reviewing sales, pricing and liquor
consumption, she speculated that an employee was stealing.

“The owner did not want to believe it because his key people were
trusted lieutenants. But when word spread that the accountant had
conducted an audit and suspected theft, two employees suddenly quit,
never to be seen again. And profitability quickly resumed.

“This is how to add value and go beyond simply producing a balance
sheet every month.”

4. Beware multiple cooks in the kitchen

As director of practice development at Accountants World, Patil has
spent over 10 years working alongside accounting and tax
professionals. He’s concluded that the partnership business model
favored by most multi-partner firms contains a serious flaw, explained
by the following story.

“Our team went to dinner at a nice restaurant, and different members
of the team had radically different experiences. Most of the group had
a wonderful time and really enjoyed the restaurant. However, a couple
of people complained it was a horrible meal.

“A discussion with the manager revealed a surprising reason for the
disparity. The restaurant had two chefs. The people who loved the
restaurant had dishes prepared by Chef A. Those who were
disappointed had dishes prepared by Chef B. In this way the restaurant
produced two radically different customer ‘experiences’.

Patil uses this story to illustrate how many CPA firms operate, with
each partner owning his or her own book of business. In this model the
only things partners have in common are the shared infrastructure, the
brand, and maybe shared technology. This can lead to conflicts,
resource competition, and inefficiencies due to conflicting priorities.
And more importantly, it creates an inconsistent experience for clients,
similar to the restaurant diners.

What Patil recommends instead is a firm-oriented approach. He
encourages CPA firms to create a cohesive consistency – with shared
values, shared goals, shared culture . . . and a consistent delivery
among all partners.

5. Technology will not replace accountants

As someone who holds advanced degrees in business and science, and
has spent decades working in technology-driven businesses,
Patil has an insider’s perspective.

“Technology is not a trend that will fade away,” he says. “But despite
what Mark Cuban says or what you read in the press, technology will
not replace accountants.

“What you personally do as accounting work will definitely change. So
you want to anticipate those changes and benefit from them. The
importance of soft skills, contextual abilities, behavioral economics will
gain greater significance in the coming years.”

Where to begin? Patil advises asking, ‘What work do I do that has
the most positive impact on the lives of my clients?’ It is the human
experiences that warrant our attention. The goal is to amplify those
activities and efforts to amplify the human impact of your services.
That’s the new debits and credits for Accountaneurs.

Patil summarizes his simple formula.

“Adjust your mindset to think like an Accountaneur, not an accountant.

“Focus on the work that produces the most positive impact on your clients.

“Learn as much as you can about human behavior. Technology is going
to level the playing field more and more each day. It is your ability to
connect at the human level and communicate well that will
differentiate you.

“And finally, time is finite for everyone. We don’t know how much is left
in our lives. Your time is very precious. Deliver maximum impact in the
least possible time. You want to do only those things that a lesser-
educated, lesser-experienced person or technology cannot do. Do
justice to your experience, expertise, knowledge, and do only the thing
or things that employ all these faculties.”

Photo by michael podger
Photo by Andrew Yardley on Unsplash

We’ve been exploring various components of our planning process. Today let’s do a
quick review to see where the pieces fit together.

Remember, our objective is to help clients clarify direction and maximize their business
potential. That means grow revenues, grow profits, grow business value, and help them
achieve their big-business outcomes.

Our initial focus has been on the three ingredients of business success: vision, plan,
and desire. The HaydenRock System™ produces a simple, one-page plan that contains
key planning priorities.

The next step is establishing accountability. Who is accountable for driving outcomes
behind those planning priorities?

There are 3 possibilities: someone on the client’s team… someone on the CPA firm
team… or some sort of outside expert (HaydenRock can introduce you to an expert as

Okay, so plans are in place and we’ve established accountability. Focus now shifts
towards driving action.

In our experience, driving action requires regular external follow-up meetings to drive
accountability – asking questions like: Are the plans on track? These meetings can
occur monthly or quarterly. But the essential point is we need to maintain the pace of

Otherwise clients risk slipping back into ‘business-as-usual’ mode.

By working together, we can help business owners to sustain the pace of change. And
in turn, that leads towards growing revenues, growing profits and growing business

Our goal is to help clients double revenues, double profits, and double equity value in a
short period of time.

Next, we’ll start to put together the roadmap for doing just that.

What’s your management style?

Do you manage in a 20th century, command-and-control style, organizational-chart

This approach was effective in the 20th century, basically because people did as they
were told.

People in the 21st century need to be treated differently if you want to harness and
maximize their potential. They need to be engaged. They want vision. They want

Employees want to know: Where is the business going? What’s it going to look like?
They also want to know what the plan is. What do I have to do to make that happen?
They want to understand the purpose or the mission. Why does our business matter?
And in particular, why does my job matter?

In most businesses, you’re dealing with 3 different personality types: the highly
engaged, the moderately engaged, and the disengaged. Typically, you’ll find

  • 29% of employees are highly engaged
  • 55% are moderately engaged, and
  • 16% are disengaged

By comparison, in a world-class business

  • 67% are highly engaged
  • 26% are moderately engaged
  • 7% are disengaged

What do those differences mean in financial terms? Highly engaged people on average
are approximately 90% efficient. Moderately engaged people are 60% efficient. And
disengaged people are around about 40% efficient if you are lucky.

If we now extrapolate those numbers in terms of their relative ratios, we find that the
average business is approximately 66% efficient, while a world-class business is
approximately 79% efficient.

That’s a difference of about 13% between average and world-class. And what that
means is you have a significant potential to improve either your profits or efficiency.It
equates to around about $130,000 per annum per $1 million of payroll.

Is that worth thinking about? Without question.

So what’s the key message?

In the 21st century it makes financial sense to be working towards creating a highly
engaged team – a team of Navy SEALs or a Navy SEAL culture.

In the 21st century, desire matters more than ever before. Nowadays it’s not just owner
desire that matters. Team desire is very important if you want to maximize your
business potential.

Photo by michael podger on Unsplash

I was talking to a CPA last week, exploring growth options for his firm. I asked him to paint me a picture of where the firm is today. He spent the next 15 minutes reciting a litany of complaints.

He works way too many hours, even when it’s not tax season.

He goes from deadline to deadline, never able to catch up.

He’s constantly stressed.

His clients don’t pay what he’s worth.

Every year they demand more and want to pay less, so he’s working harder and harder for less and less.

He’s constantly chasing clients down. They’re often late with their numbers, and when they do finally get them to him, he has to spend hours of unbillable time to straighten out the mess they provide.

Whenever he tries to raise his fees, his clients threaten to walk.

I asked what his plan was to rectify these issues. He’s working on a big marketing campaign to grow the firm and bring in new clients. Good idea, except…

The prospects he’s targeting are exactly like the clients he’s got now. So if the campaign is a success, he’ll have a bunch more clients who don’t pay well, don’t respect his time, and don’t value his expertise.

What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing and expecting something different to happen.

The message is hopefully clear. If you want to grow profits, you need to have desire – a desire for CHANGE.

Beyond the status quo.

Beyond the way you’ve done things for the last 10… 15… 20 years or more.

Some people believe desire is a trait that’s impossible to measure.

The HaydenRock System™ has a unique way to measure desire.

Ask me – I’ll be happy to show you.

Did you ever see the movie, “The Social Network”? It tells how Facebook was invented as a way for Harvard students to rate coeds in terms of attractiveness, sex appeal, etc.

Today’s dating apps such as ­­­­­­ and Tinder have simplified the rating process to a series of swipes, left or right.

The HaydenRock System™ has a rating system, too – albeit without suggestive photos and fictional histories.

Remember last week we talked about the 3 ingredients of business success: vision, plan, and desire. All three ingredients need to work together in order to maximize a company’s business potential.

The HaydenRock System rates each of these key components and determines the overall BIZ rating percentage. This number helps us benchmark the strength of the business foundations today – before we make any improvements or changes.

A lower-than-average BIZ rating means the chances of significant growth are low. The business has weak business foundations. A higher-than-average BIZ rating means the chances of significant growth are greater because strong business foundations are in place.

So what do we mean by “significant growth”? We’re talking about doubling the size of the business, doubling revenues or doubling profits in a short period of time.

Think of the BIZ rating percentage score as the starting point. It helps us answer: Where are the foundations weak? Where do we need to make priority changes? It also allows us to monitor the progress over time.

The HaydenRock System is the tool that helps your clients maximize business potential, grow revenues, grow profits, and double business value.


Some people like apple pie made only with Granny Smith apples. Others mix different
apple varieties. Some like traditional crust. Others prefer a crumb topping.

A Google search for apple pie recipe turns up over 4.7 million options, but there are
certain things they have in common.

Turns out you can’t make an apple pie without apples, butter, flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Likewise, you can’t build a successful business without 3 key ingredients:

Vision… Plan… and Desire.

Think of the three ingredients of business success just like going on a journey.

Vision is just like direction: Where are you going and what will it look like when you
reach your destination?

The Plan is the route. What is the best way to arrive at your destination?

Finally, desire: You have to keep moving forward and make sure that the team doesn’t
run out of gas.

The HaydenRock System begins by measuring vision, plan and desire.

We start here because all three ingredients must work together if we’re going
to maximize a company’s business potential, and enjoy the journey along the way.