Geoff is a great guy, a very good accountant, and has a growing business. After 12 years working for a large firm, he started his business 3 years ago. He has been very focused on networking and other marketing strategies to become known in his local area. This has resulted in a steady stream of clients from referrals and a growing number of client recommendations to their friends. Geoff does very good work in the small business tax and advisory space.

He has a team of four – a receptionist/admin assistant, a bookkeeper, a junior accountant, and another senior accountant, to help him cover the growing amount of work. He loves helping clients but is starting to realise that there is a lot of business management and admin issues that require his focus. He is working longer hours than he had hoped when he added staff, and he is still not getting everything done. Recently, his wife convinced him to take a day off and he felt guilty that his team were working, and he was not. There was so much work to do. That day off actually caused him more stress.


What is MINDSET?

The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘mindset’ as: the established set of attitudes held by someone. ‘The region seems stuck in a medieval mindset’. defines ‘mindset’ as: a fixed attitude, disposition, or mood: His conservative mindset sometimes causes him to miss out on important opportunities.

Mindset is a framework that locks your mind in to think a certain way about something. It becomes the lens through which you view the world. Some people live with a ‘victim mindset’ where they feel everyone is against them. This can lead to making excuses about why they can’t take responsibility for their actions. Another example is someone with a conservative mindset who is cautious about taking opportunities. Carol Dweck in her helpful book, Mindset, speaks about the importance of a Growth Mindset rather than a Fixed Mindset.


Mindset determines behaviour

With a fixed mindset, you will be quick to judge based on your fixed views and assumptions about the world and how things work. Anything you do not understand you will tend to dismiss. With a growth mindset you will be more open to be curious when you do not understand something or someone. A conservative mindset will struggle when things are fluid and risks multiply. A more entrepreneurial mindset will tend to flourish in riskier situations. A person with a victim mindset will tend to blame others for their situation. They will complain how hard things are for them and why they deserve sympathy or help. A person who has a mindset that accepts responsibility and accountability for their life will be quick to work out what else they can be doing when things do not go according to their plans.


The MINDSET required for success as a business owner

There is a HUGE difference between a ‘wage-earner’ or a ‘salary-earner’ mindset and a ‘business-owner’ mindset.

Geoff, my accountant friend mentioned above, is struggling to think like a business owner. He is still locked into a salary-earner mindset. He primarily sees himself as an accountant who is seeking out and serving clients. His team are helping him to do more of that. He is busy working in the business. Like so many business owners at this stage of his business ownership, he is committed to working hard and increasing the number of clients and the income of the business. It is taking all his time. Days off make him feel guilty. He is very involved in the minutiae of running the business.

However, Geoff is at the point in his business life where he needs to change the way he runs his business. He can no longer just view himself as an accountant. He needs to start the journey to become a business owner who serves his clients through his team. There are very few tasks that he and only he MUST do. They will all relate to running the business and relating to a few high value clients. Most of the rest of the work in the business needs to be done by the team. Geoff’s mindset and role needs to change so that he can make sure his team are properly resourced and empowered to help grow the business.

If Geoff just wanted to be a busy accountant, he would be better to work for a top tier accounting firm and avoid all the responsibility of being a business owner.


Differences between wage-earner and business owner mindsets

Wage-earner mindset

Business owner mindset

Sells an hourly rate service

Sells outcomes that solve problems for clients

Works the hardest and bills the most in the business

Works strategically with key clients but mostly empowers the team to do the work

Feels guilty if they are away from business and team is working on their behalf

Knows they have a business that serves their life and enables a great lifestyle.

Concentrates on being a better technician

Focuses on learning how to lead and empower their team

Not that interested in how business growth works

Looks for ways to leverage business growth

Focuses on the daily tasks to be done

Focuses on pursuing goals that fulfil vision

Views their business as a busy job

Treats their business as an asset that is growing in value


Most of us need some assistance to change our mindset.

If you are a business owner and this article resonates with you, I am very happy to talk with you. If you would like to talk about your situation with an experienced business mentor, please book a free no obligation call with me here. I would love to help set you up to fully release your potential so you can shift your mindset and make the changes you need to grow your business.



Over the years I’ve written many articles about mindset! Here are a few of my favourites to help you integrate your work into all other parts of your life.

INTEGRATE: Why Work Life Balance is a Myth | John Drury

Integrate: Why Work Life Balance is a Myth and what you really need to create a fulfilling lifestyle

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