Five ways you can be more proactive in business

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In a world of rapid disruption, change, innovation, and technological advancements, revisiting some of the timeless success principles can be soothing. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey provides a framework for building a great business. The 1989 self-help and business book is a bestseller. It offers step-by-step advice on improving personal and professional performance. Over the next few weeks, we’ll examine Stephen’s seven habits and how they apply to Beyond and your business.

Habit 1: Take action (Be Proactive)

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People summarizes habit number one, being proactive.

“Your life doesn’t “happen.” You designed it. You choose. Choose joy. Choose sadness. Choose decisiveness. Choose ambivalence. Choose success. You fail. Choose bravery. Choose fear. Remember that every moment and situation offers a new choice. It gives you the chance to change things for better results.

Habit 1: Be Proactive requires personal responsibility. Stop blaming your parents and grandparents. Proactive people recognize their “responsibility.” They don’t blame genetics, environment, or conditioning for their behavior. They understand their actions. However, physical surroundings often affect reactive people. They blame others. Good weather makes them happy. If not, they blame the weather for their mood and performance. These external forces stimulate us.

Your response is your most significant power. Words are crucial. Language reveals self-perception. Proactive people use I can, I will, I prefer, etc. I can’t; I have to, if only—reactive language. Reactive people think they have no choice. Proactive people don’t waste time worrying about things they can’t control.

Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence describe our issues, challenges, and opportunities. Proactive people prioritize their Circle of Influence. They address health, children, and work issues. Reactive people worry about the national debt, terrorism, and the weather, which they cannot control. Knowing where we spend our energy is a big step toward being proactive.”

How Does Beyond Live Habit 1?

Beyond believes that the reactive nature of the accounting profession makes it ripe for disruption. Being a leading Irish adopter of new business solutions like Xero has allowed Beyond to embrace this disruption and become more proactive with our clients. Live data and insights from such software empower our clients to make better business decisions in real-time rather than relying on historical or redundant information from a reactive accountant.

Knowing where your business went wrong nine or 12 months later is rarely helpful. The Beyond team has also considered how to incorporate proactive behavior into our culture. Our Basic to Beyond service standards are one way. The team identified a list of service standards and business practices that we considered “Basic” and expected from an accountant. Then, we developed the “Beyond” version of each one, which we believed was the proactive approach and the standards we would live by. Our office has posters of these Basic to Beyond standards to remind us to live the Beyond way and be proactive accountants daily.

We are our habits. Excellence is a habit, not an act.” – Aristotle.

Five Ways to be more proactive in your business

1. Develop your own service standards and business principles like Beyond. Determine the typical reactive approach and your future proactive behavior. Visualize these!

2. Survey your customers to learn what you do well and how to improve. Ask them! You could survey them online or, better yet, meet some of them in person.
This is a business fact-finding mission and a client-appreciated service.

3. Check your website and social media language. What would make you more proactive? You could include customer testimonials from point 2’s survey or a more in-depth client case study to demonstrate your business’s proactivity.

4. Change your behavior—being proactive is not just for your business. It applies personally, too. You decide how to start each day. Will the weather affect your mood today? Will what people say and do to you affect how you treat others? Daily proactivity is our choice. Should you choose differently tomorrow?

5. Be more proactive with your business management—are you making reactive decisions based on yesterday’s data? Try leading your business instead of letting it lead you! Start with your business finances. Book a free meeting to learn to be more proactive in this area.

How can you be proactive today? Habit 2: Think about the end… coming soon!

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