“Little hinges swing big doors.”
It’s one of Clem Stone’s most famous aphorisms, and it’s never been more true. The world has become even more dependent on the tiny choices we make since Mr. Stone was in his heyday in the 60’s and 70’s.
It’s the tiny decisions, the little tweaks, that you make NOW in your tax practice that will end up bearing large fruit come tax season, or months down the road.
Will you take the trouble to be in good communication with your clients and contacts over the summer and fall? Or will you rely on “hope” that your relationship is strong enough that they will resist the siren song of cheaper competitors or a fancier sales pitch.
Will you decide that your prices simply don’t reflect your value, and make the decision (finally) to raise them?
Will you prepare your staff and your operations NOW to offer something of value on the “back end” of the tax preparation process during the season so the value of each tax return … doubles?
Will you invest into your firm’s online presence now … or will you keep sitting on the old, “business-card-style” website simply because it’s easier not to change?
These are the kinds of seemingly-small decisions that make or break your firm — they’re the little hinges.
I’m reading a fascinating book, Lawrence In Arabia by Scott Anderson, and it details (with a gripping narrative style) the multiplicity of small decisions made by the Triple Entente powers (Britain, France, Russia) that needlessly extended the carnage of WWI. Specifically, the one decision to land forces on Gallipoli instead of Alexandretta probably is responsible for 18 months of additional carnage.
And historical hindsight is, of course, always better than 20/20 … but the fact is that T.E. Lawrence and other advisers were strongly urging against this landing location. The Ottoman Empire didn’t even expect them to land there, simply because it was perhaps the WORST possible place to land an invading force. 9 months of stalemate battle, and an eventual retreat from the field bore out that assessment.
And the decision to land there was made on a whim.
But because it was the whim of the central military planners in London, they stuck with it. Out of institutional inertia. Hundreds of thousands (yay, millions) of soldiers lost their lives because of this whim.
Fortunately, your small decisions now won’t carry those sorts of consequences. But they WILL matter a great deal in the months ahead when the figurative bullets are actually flying during tax season.
Decide now. Don’t follow your institutional inertia. Make the necessary (small) changes to swing open huge doors for your firm come tax season.