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3 Tips To Drive Action
May 5, 2023
Read time: 3:15 minutes
Have you ever asked yourself why fractional CFOs even exist?
And the answer I keep coming back to is simple:
We help business owners understand their numbers so they can make better decisions.
Put another way, it's our job to help our clients think differently so that they can act differently. And when they act differently, that's when we can truly start to see the impact of our work!
I was recently journaling on this exact topic.
I asked myself, "What are the ways in which we can get clients to think differently and act differently?"
Three ideas came to mind.
Today, I'm going to share those ideas with you! My hope is that they inspire you to help your clients think differently and act differently.
Idea #1: Keep it simple
The curse of our industry is unnecessary complexity.
As a whole, we tend to overcomplicate the way we explain financial "stuff" to our clients.
I find that there are two primary reasons for this:
👉 We forget that the person we're talking to doesn't have the same experience we have. They haven't spent the last 10-20 years in the numbers. So we end up talking to our clients like we would an industry peer.
👉 Our egos have a strong desire to sound smart. We get this internal urge to say things in a way that reminds everyone else that we are the expert. (I do it too from time to time!)
But our job is service to others. And that means that we have to put ourselves in their shoes and check our egos at the door.
Communicating with clients in a way that they can understand is the first step in helping them understand what's going on. And that is the first step towards them thinking differently and taking action.
Idea #2: Embrace Different Roles
Yeah, our role is fractional CFO.
But I've learned that there are multiple hats that a fractional CFO has to wear.
✅ Teacher: you're explaining concepts, showing down stream effects, and educating the client.
✅ Cheerleader: you're the one reminding your client of their wins, celebrating the victories, and encouraging them to stay in the game.
✅ Coach: you're forcing them to evaluate new perspectives, showing them where they're goofing up, and challenging them to go further.
Which hat do you need to wear at a given time?
That's a question you need to ask yourself frequently.
But I know that if you only wear one hat, the client will likely not stick around as long as they should.
Idea #3: Hold Them Accountable
The vast majority of CEOs have NO ONE holding them accountable.
The truth is, most CEOs have employees, task rabbits, or cheerleaders speaking to them. And, odds are, none of them are holding the CEO accountable.
But isn't it also true that we all need some level of accountability?
You, as the Fractional CFO, are in a GREAT place to be that accountability partner.
Here are some pro tips to help you be a great accountability partner for your clients:
• Help set goals for financial strategies and tactics. The key word here is "help". You, the CEO, and senior leadership should be doing this together.
• Walk them through those goals and make sure they're realistic and properly prioritized.
• Make sure each action item has a clearly defined owner and deadline.
• Follow up with the CEO or senior members of the finance team on your check in calls and monthly CFO calls.
No, none of this stuff is rocket science.
But I don't see nearly enough fractional CFOs doing these basic things. Most are just setting goals and rolling out.
I LOVE our industry!
The level of impact that we can have on our clients, their employees, their families, and their communities is second to none.
But that impact is predicated on clients thinking differently and taking action. Because without action there is no impact.
So we've got to make sure we're doing the things that will drive action so we can maximize our impact.