Thursday, June 28th, 2012

You Can’t Please Everyone

“You can’t please everyone.” – Now, that is a common phrase that I have certainly used often in my life and my career.

If you are a baby boomer, you might remember the popular 1972 song by Rick Nelson titled Garden Party. The song tells the story of Nelson being booed off the stage at Madison Square Garden, seemingly because he was playing his newer, country-tinged music instead of the 1950s-era rock and roll that had made him successful in his earlier career. Part of the lyrics say, “you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself.”

There is something to be said for that.

How many times, inside your firm, have you rolled-out a new initiative, guideline, process, service, employee benefit, whatever and a few people whine. Firm leadership immediately gets worried and then tweaks it, waters it down in an attempt to make everyone happy. I’ve seen this happen SO many times and it is crazy.

It also happens relating to practice growth. CPAs try too hard to be all things to all people. I like this quote from a recent blog post from Seth Godin:

“The mass market is no longer. There is almost no room left for the next Procter & Gamble or Google. Instead, you are far more likely to do your best work if you are willing to delight a few as opposed to soothe the masses.”

That’s why consultants to the profession, like me, stress the importance of niches and urge you to outplace D-level clients.

Pick your very best clients – – – delight the heck out of them – – -and focus on getting more like them. If you ask them, they will probably be more than happy to refer you to other great business owners like themselves. But remember, you have to ask.

Keep in mind, “You can’t please everyone, so you’ve go to please yourself.”

  • "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."
  • Bill Cosby

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