Peter Czapp loves what he does. He’s the co-founder of The Wow Company, an accountancy firm that helps you grow your business, not just fill in your tax return.
He’s got a fascinating story and a lot of interesting thoughts on business, which I talk to him about for my podcast this week. Peter explains why he felt driven to launch his own company, despite not having a background in accounting. And why he’s so passionate about delivering that ‘Wow’ to clients.
Lots of great advice included here.
On today’s podcast:
- Why receiving negative feedback is the only way to get better
- Why he agrees that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”
- How he uses a special mind trick to turn negatives into positives
- Why focus is so important
- And, how you should always enjoy the journey!
How it all started
Peter co-founded The Wow Company, an accountancy firm that works with small businesses, and The Agency Collective, the largest community for agency owners in the UK.
However, he is not an accountant himself, and neither is his business partner, Paul. After getting frustrated with accountants, they believed it was time to do something. Paul started trying to persuade accountants that the future wasn’t in crunching numbers, it was in giving advice.
Together they just felt that small businesses deserved more.
Culture is more important than strategy
Peter and Paul didn’t want The Wow Company to be a quiet, good accountancy practice or one that’s slightly better than the rest. They wanted to deliver the “wow” experience.
What’s at the heart of building a great customer experience, if you ask Peter? Creating some customer experience principles and embedding them into the culture. They identified six principles: how to walk a mile in their customers’ shoes, how to ensure that they have their customers’ backs and four others.
Peter believes that culture will eat strategy for breakfast. Whatever you decide doesn’t matter one bit, unless you have the culture to back it up.
Embrace the unexpected
In business and in life things don’t always go to plan. As humans, our default reaction is to wallow in self-pity and mope around. This is pointless, it’s wasted energy.
When something bad happens, we should ask ourselves “How can we make this the best thing that happens to us this year? What would need to be true for this thing that has happened to be the best thing that’s happened to us this year?”
If you actually stop and keep asking yourself these questions, solutions will appear. Suddenly, this thing that was an incredible annoyance that could potentially set you back becomes a trigger for a whole host of opportunities.
When things go well, you don’t learn anything. When there is adversity, your learning goes through the roof.
Start saying no
It’s really hard to actually focus when you have so much going on. Over time, Peter and his team became a lot more focused and started saying no to some projects.
Ask yourself: “What can I be the best in the world at?”
It might look like you might have fewer opportunities because you’re saying no to many things, but actually you get to create more opportunities with this focus.
If you’re trying to market to everyone, that’s utterly exhausting. When you start selecting your clients, everything becomes easier.
If Peter could go back in time, he would tell himself to just enjoy the journey. We work so hard and we’re really good at setting objectives and planning forward. We’re not so good at just stopping and taking a look behind us going “Look how far we’ve come”.
What books would Peter recommend?
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill