Running a business is like driving a car down a tall mountain. The road is full of harrowing and exhilarating twists and turns and as the car goes faster and faster as it reaches the financial security at the bottom. Successful business owners hire qualified accountants help them with their business and traditionally the accountant would sit in the back seat, looking out the back window, telling the business owner what happened. Other business owners prefer their accountant to be next to them, in the front seat, helping them to navigate all the twists and turns that are coming in the future.
All business owners need to have a simple, straight forward business plan. There is an old saying; a bad plan is better than no plan because without a plan, you have no idea where you are going. Running a business is like taking a long road trip. Making random turns into the unknown is not an effective means to reach your goal. You need to set a strategic course and make corrections from time to time as you travel to your ultimate destination.
Everyone in your company should be able to answer (in one sentence) why clients should do business with your company. Ask your employees how they would answer that question. You may be surprised to find out that most everyone will have a different answer and some may struggle to have an answer at all. Steven Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People” says you start with the end in mind and work backwards.” Business owners need a clear vision of where they are going and then they can work with their accountant to come up with a plan on how to get there.
An important part of any business plan is a Mission Statement or today’s world is more appropriately a Brand Promise to your customers. A Brand Promise is what your company absolutely, positively will do or deliver to your customers. There are two important points to keep in mind when developing a Brand Promise. Is your Brand Promise relevant, do you customers want what you are offering? The second point is; does your Brand Promise differentiate yourself from your competitors?
Take FedEx for example. When their company was first getting off the ground, FedEx’s Brand Promise is that they would get your package anywhere in the world overnight. However, over time competitors like UPS and DHL began to deliver that same type of overnight delivery service therefore FedEx’s Brand Promise was not differentiating themselves from their competitors, so they made a strategic change and today FedEx’s Brand Promise tells customers that they can track their package anywhere in world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This Brand Promise remains relevant to FedEx’s customers and it differentiates itself from its competitors.
Many, many accountants can do a very good job of quantifying the financial results of your business. They can accurately filling out tax forms and help you keep your checkbook balanced. There are some accountants who view themselves are trusted business advisors who have the knowledge and experience to work with business owners on a strategic business plan that helps them get to exactly where they want to go in the most efficient and effective manner possible.