Business owners are often lost not knowing exactly how to improve their business and even where to start. As a trusted advisor an accountant is uniquely positioned to provide advice grounded from the financials of their individual clients.
Here’s how to get the process going.
Provide Proper Coaching
First, arrange your schedule to specifically include coaching time – these blocks of time are going to become part of your regular services. If your calendar is on the full side then talk to us and we’ll help you find ways to free up time for your clients.
Next, start simple, and get an idea of how clued in your clients are to their own numbers. You may be surprised by how little they actually pay attention to their books. Start easy – ask them how many customers they have or how many transactions they go through (the exact question will depend on the type of business) in a year.
This very simple first look at the numbers can be an eye-opener for your clients, and by aiding them in seeing their business in this new light you’ve already provided a valuable service by giving them new information. From there press on to take a look at other factors that impact a business’ financial health. While the nature of the various businesses will determine the factors some of the more common items on your checklist will include:
- How many customers they have.
- How many customers they keep versus how many they lose within a given time frame.
- How many new potential customers are drawn in within the same time frame.
- How many potential customers or clients are successfully transformed into actual clients.
- How many times a customer or client will engage with the business in the time frame, and for how much per transaction.
Help Build Goals
Now it’s time to find out what your client hopes to achieve in the coming year. Don’t be vague; get them to commit to a concrete (and achievable) goal that is written down on a calendar.
You now help them take a look at which of the above-listed factors can be worked to achieve the set goal. Since you and your clients worked out the starting points (how many current customers they have, retention rates, and price per customer) you’re now able to provide them with a much clearer picture of what they can do to achieve their goals.
If the set goal is a monetary milestone (earn X amount more dollars in this next year) you may find that they’re focusing on the wrong number. For example, they may be spending a lot of time and money on marketing to bring in new customers to meet that increased year-end goal. But you do some financial wizardry (or some fairly simple cocktail napkin calculations, you decide how transparent you want to be) and discover that the year-end goal could also be achieved by increasing the average widget price by a measly five cents per widget.
You’ve now helped your client get on the right track for their goal and saved them a heap of marketing and conversion money and time in the process.
Does it sound too easy? It is easy, but remember your clients may be running themselves ragged keeping up with the demands of their business – all they needed was an extra set of eyes to see the simpler solution.
You look like a hero, your client’s business gets a boost, and good word-of-mouth about your firm will begin to make the rounds.