If you’re working with and marketing to small business owners, there is one thing you must remember when working with them.
• Advisory focused
• Value driven
• Fully empathetic with small business owners
Like most simple truths or principles, it seems like a ‘duh’ statement when you hear it, but almost all accounting and bookkeeping firms never put this into practice … or fully recognize the power of the statement …
Small business owners live in the future
Accounting and bookkeeping feels like it’s in ‘the past’.
How to Position Your Accounting Services to Business Owners
So let’s put in this in a more actionable statement: Small business owners have future ‘goals’ for their business… whether growth, profit, work/life balance, anything.
Business owners often live in the future… whether it is out of fear or desire of what is coming up in their business. In fact, most people operate in the future… when you tie your service to their future goals, you become an advisor.
When you focus on past actions, it becomes a discussion on price (because it’s harder to understand the ROI of something that already happened!).
So am I telling you to not look at financial statements or accounts in the past? Of course not!
What you do for the client doesn’t necessary change… Rather, it’s HOW you explain your value to them.
And you’re better able to position your value when you help connect WHAT you do with the business owners FUTURE goals.
Do they want to improve profits? Talk about running industry analysis reports and helping them determine a sound pricing plan (even if you have to loop in an industry consultant!).
Or perhaps they have inventory issues that’s causing profits to bleed from the company … Dig into their financials and help them understand areas that can be dramatically improved … and the way to do that is to have a professional TRACK financial metrics, and alert them when something is going off course.
So let’s break it down into an even more tactical example (even if you don’t fall into this category, pull away the principles and apply them to your firm … )
1. ABC & Associates provides bookkeeping tax returns for small business owners
2. When they do a consultation, instead of talking about all the services they offer, they instead do a ‘profitability analysis’ of their business. This typically brings up areas in the business where the owner is losing money, by simply not having a better grasp on a few metrics.
3. The consultation pulls out the financial goals the business owner has for the next 12-18 months
4. The consultation has a mutual agreement that this issue needs to be fixed in order for the business owner to reach their financial goals, and by not solving these issues, it could potentially cost them $XXX,XXX/year.
5. The service provider (ABC & Associates) then outlines a ‘financial plan’ that includes bookkeeping that is tied together with monthly financial reports that are custom fitted for the owner.
This formula (diagnose → connect pain being a barrier to the desired outcome → prescribing a fix) can be applied to any business, and positions your service with the business owner’s needs.
Align your services with the future of their company, how you help them get to their desired size or profit margin. In doing so, you move away from a price comparison service provider and instead be a potential advisor who ‘gets’ their business.