I wanted to build on Rick Telberg's excellent story on CPA Trendlines on how business owners define success. According to research conducted by the Enterprise Council on Small Business, Rick wrote that "business owners surprisingly found that 'satisfaction” was the primary way they defined success, followed by 'growth.' They asked business owners to define what satisfaction means to them. Business owners said maintaining a healthy work/life balance was the single biggest factor in their definition of success." Rick added, "Keep that in mind when you’re considering how to help your clients achieve their goals. Their goals may not be what you think." I think this so incredibly true and something that creates a huge gap in the way CPA firms and companies serve their clients and customers. And, although this wasn't a survey on the outlook of accounting firms, I am quite sure - without scientific research - that CPA firms also have a similar outlook. Having this information in your bag of tricks can help drive business in several ways: Most people like doing business with others who share their personal and professional values - it's a bonding process. The next time you call on a client or try to woo a customer, talk about the work/life balance within your firm. There almost certainly will be some commonality between your firm and your client's or prospect's business. Practice what you preach. Look internally in your own firm or company and assess your own staff's beliefs. This creates a subtle "touch" point to boosting loyalty within your ranks and creates a conversation starter. Perhaps you find, for example, that you need a "Happiness" Committee to create buzz about ways to improve morale. Focusing in on the third belief, "Doing What I Love," how often do we take our clients and employees for granted by not recognizing this? Sure, work is just a "job" to some, but others feel differently - this is their life's work. Recognize accomplishments and reward loyalty. How does your firm compare to the survey findings? Comment on this post and we'll explore your answers in a future blog posting.