We just finished all of the extended returns for our business owner clients, and today I’m feeling particularly grateful.
Because over the past few weeks and months, I’ve been reminded of how important our work is. Not because “taxes and accounting” are inherently noble — but rather that we get to play a role in the results for hundreds of businesses, and thereby make our own little dent in the universe. Small businesses and their people form the groundrock of so much of what makes our nation great.
And some of our favorite clients are business owners.
Being an “owner” can be the loneliest job on the planet. Not very many will get what it takes to move out in risk and (hopefully informed) speculation.
Which is why what I have to say today might be so important for you. And if you’re reading this note, and you don’t have the ownership role, perhaps consider sending it along to the person who does.
We’re in your corner…
The Role Of The Chicago Business Owner
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” -Robert F. Kennedy
When I meet with Chicago business owners and clients, we always go over the particulars of their business (how money comes in, how it goes out, accrual vs. cash, etc.), but when the moment is right, I often stump the client when I ask them this question — and, actually, I’ll ask it of you:
“What business are you actually in?”
As an example of what I’m talking about, let’s say you run a daycare business.
In fact, not only do you run a daycare business, you run it very well. Your employees are licensed and trained to the highest standards; your facilities are top-notch; you’ve got years of experience and parents rave about how their kids are happy when they pick them up.
But you’re losing money, because you don’t “get” what I’m about to tell you.
You see, you could have the World’s Greatest [your industry here] Business (in absolute truth), and still have a poor bottom line.
Why? Because your competition out-markets you, and so they’re making revenue hand-over-fist, and you’re struggling to pay the bills.
(Yes, I understand that the things above — facilities, employees, etc. are indeed part of “marketing”, but I’m making a more specific point.)
You see, the mental shift from “doer of the task” (providing daycare services) to “promoter of your business” (the marketing of your daycare services) is vital if you plan on growing your business to the level of your dreams. I would say over 99 percent of small business owners in America do not make the mental jump from, “I do ‘X’ for a living” to “I market my business for a living”.
Now don’t think I’m being picky here. This is important to get straight NOW, as we move into the final quarter of 2019, and while there are still so many questions about the national economy.
The business owner “doer” sees the task as their primary role. The “marketing-minded” business owner sees acquiring clients, retaining them and maximizing their total client value as their primary role. (Providing the particular services is seen as one of many other, also very important, but still secondary, tasks in the office.)
I hope you can see the difference. (If you are hearing this concept for the first time, let it sink in and think about it for a moment. If you don’t have clients coming through your door to do business with you even though you’re the best practitioner in the world, you’re still going to starve if you can’t get clients!)
The most important part of your business is “making the sale”. And marketing is how you get that person in front of you so you can sell them on your services.
I can make the nicest, cleanest books for you … but I can’t make sales for you.
Getting people to call your place of business saying, “I want to do business with you,” and then to show up at your door wanting to give you money in return for a particular service is the most important thing you could master.
Which is why I’ll continue to focus in on helping you think about topline growth for your Chicago business — in addition to the tax and financial services and advice that we provide.
So here’s my advice for you right now: If you have not already done so, set a day aside before the end of September to lay out a clear, step-by-step marketing plan for the rest of 2019.
This should take the form of a written plan for how you’re going to attract the clients you want — i.e., “I’ll get 5 new clients from ___ source, and spend $ ___ to do it; I’ll get 10 clients from _____ source, and spend $___ to do it,” etc.
This is how it’s done. A written plan with real goals. Be conservative in your expectations, and you’ll discover this process can be quite systematic. AND you may just “strike gold” and have your conservative projections blown out of the water!
After all, I need you to thrive for MY business to thrive. So, I’m not *completely* altruistic in my advice! [wink.]
As for me, I’m grateful for our chance to serve you and your business — and we are dedicated to its success. Which means that we are committed to being in the trenches with you, wherever that takes us.
Feel free to share this post with a business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance. While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for families and business owners.
A.L. Taylor and Associates, PC