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THE 5 MINUTE FRACTIONAL CFO

058: When Your Superpowers Become Your Kryptonite

Sep 01, 2023

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058: When Your Superpowers Become Your Kryptonite

Sep 01, 2023

Read time: 4:23 minutes  

Too many fractional CFOs get strangled by their own strengths. They don't realize that the superpowers that unlocked their early successes have become the kryptonite that keeps them from scaling.

If you aren't aware of how your superpowers can morph into kryptonite, your firm's growth will likely stagnate and leave you frustrated, burnt out, and resentful. 

This is an easy trap to fall into! After all, most gurus tell us we should double down on our strengths! We should do more of the things that have worked before! 

But this advice is shortsighted and ill-advised unless you can understand the holistic impact your "strengths" are actually having!

In today's edition, I'm revealing:

• 4 deceptive strengths that can destroy your firm's growth and impact
• Why each of those deceptive strengths will hold you back
• How to avoid them so you don't get in your own way

Let's dive in...


Deceptive Strength #1: Your Clients Love You

The biggest reason my first 10+ clients signed up with me was because they loved ME. 

Yeah, it sounds a little arrogant. But I bet your first several clients bought into you as much as the services you were selling. 

And, if you're anything like me, this feels really good. Our egos love the fact that we're able to pitch ourselves to others and convince them to give us money for work we're passionate about. 

My clients would say things like: 

✅ Mike is awesome. I love working with him.
✅ Mike just gets me. It's like he's inside my head! 
✅ I can't imagine working with anyone other than Michael. 

This happens because we got just as good at selling ourselves as we did selling our services. 

Not only is this not a bad thing, it's a requirement when we're just starting!

We have to do whatever it takes to get those first clients in the door.

But it starts to go sideways once we have a team. It gets worse when we start adding other fractional CFOs to our roster. 

The reason is clear: we don't adapt our selling style to shift from "how I can help you" to "how my team can help you". In other words, we must shift the narrative to focus on the value others on our team can bring.

Don't worry: your ego will recover as your bank account grows.


Deceptive Strength #2: Your Commitment to Perfection

When you do work, it's top-notch, grade A, borderline perfect. 

You know EXACTLY what good looks like and you ensure that everything that leaves your desk measures up.

This commitment to perfection is one of the cornerstones that helped build your firm in the first place! 

And this is GREAT. 
Until it isn't. 

The unfortunate reality is that the commitment to perfection and scaling a business don't play well together. One of the keys to scaling a business is embracing the fact that nothing is perfect, ever!

Business requires us to accept the fact that rarely, if ever, will anything be "perfect".

I'm certainly not advocating mediocrity. But you have to learn how to strike the balance between unacceptable, good enough, and perfect.


Deceptive Strength #3: You Are Decisive and FAST

This is how I typically process new ideas: 

1️⃣ New idea presented
2️⃣ Consideration given
3️⃣ Decide the new idea is AMAZING
4️⃣ Take decisive action and implement

Oh, and this whole process can take as little as 17 minutes! 

Being able to quickly process new ideas and implement them in my firm was critical in the early days. I was learning what customers wanted, adopting new systems, and generally getting things done quickly! 

Today when I move quickly, my swift action unleashes havoc and hurts growth. 

Why? 

😤 It interrupts my team
😡 It signals conflicting priorities
🤬 It distracts others from what they're doing

When it was just me new "things" were no big deal. Now there's a team of people who need to stay focused on the mission.

There's still room for big ideas as you grow. You just have to be more intentional about how you roll them out and make sure the team is on board.


Deceptive Strength #4: You're The Expert In All Areas of Your Firm

Marketing, sales, and onboarding. 

Financial analysis, customer support, HR, and Tech.

I was the "expert" in every aspect of my firm and I owned it all. 

For the most part, this was out of necessity. 

When there's a team of one, there isn't anyone you can leverage to help.

In many ways, this was good. It forced me to become proficient in all aspects of business. It gave me a sense of what it took to make things happen. 

(Note: These insights and skills would later forge me into a better leader and manager.)

The problems arose as we started to scale. Chief among them was the fact that I became the bottleneck for literally EVERYTHING. 

Since I was the (self-proclaimed) expert in every aspect of my firm, every decision had to run through me. Every idea needed my approval. Every next step was reliant on me.

This accomplished three things:

1. It disempowered my team
2. I ended up working MORE hours
3. It slowed progress to a grinding halt because my time availability disappeared.

So what's a fractional CFO to do? 

As you grow, you've got to learn to delegate tasks and trust your team to make decisions. 

The big unlock for me came when I realized that just because something wasn't done "my way" doesn't necessarily mean that it was done the "wrong way". 


Action Items

If you find that you're running into walls as you try to scale, try these: 
1. Ask yourself if you're too involved in the day to day decision making.
2. Ask your team if you're empowering them or bottlenecking the process.
3. Evaluate if you focus on selling yourself or your team during sales calls.

Remember: 
What got you here isn't necessarily what's going to get you there.

Your coach,
Michael 

Whenever you are ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. Join us at The CFO Accelerator Live in Dallas, TX from May 15-17. 2024 and learn how to get more clients, increase your pricing, and close more sales! Get your ticket here.
  2. The Inner Circle - every month my team and I go live and share the most impactful lessons we've learned in our journey to start, scale, and optimize our own CFO firm (including live Q&A). Plus you'll get access to our private community of over 200 Fractional CFOs.
  3. If you'd like more amazing (and free!) content about starting, scaling, or optimizing your Fractional CFO firm check out The CFO Report.

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