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How to Profitably Grow Your Business With Less Stress

Do You Have A Business Or A Job?

Michael Gerber is a business consulting “guru” whose observations concerning small businesses have had a profound impact on how his students see their businesses and their role as a business owner.

Gerber observed that most people go into business for the wrong reason. They are skilled technicians. They do a good job of what the business provides to the customer. They believe they can earn more by doing it in their own business than for someone else. They leave and open their own shop. This is what Gerber calls an “entrepreneurial seizure.”

These technicians believe they will find more freedom in their business but they discover it is the hardest job in the world. There is no escape. They are the ones who are doing the work! They are the “business!” But if they are the business, they haven’t really created a business at all. They have only created a job for themselves!

According to Gerber, the role of the owner is quite different. The role of the business owner is to create a business that works independently of him or herself. There is an “end point” where the business functions independently of the owner. At this point, the business owner may choose to sell it or not. By then, he or she will have created a ready-to-sell “money making machine” and may choose whether to devote effort to it or not. The business can also be duplicated from place to place.

The model for this effort is the “turnkey franchise,” such as McDonalds. The franchise creator, by establishing, documenting, and testing detailed systems, Ray Kroc made a uniform business with a certain look, providing a consistent experience to the customer. Ray controlled the design of the restaurant, sold uniformly made food and equipment, and provided the “scripts” for the service people. These scripts contained detailed procedures for preparing the food.

Likewise, the business owner should start with an idea of what this business should look like. This includes an organizational chart that could start with the business owner in each box. The chart documents the organization with responsibilities for chief executive, marketing, accounting, finance, and production employees. Gradually, the business owner tests, measures, and documents procedures for each position then replaces them with others until he or she isn’t needed at all.

The shorthand phrase for the business systems could be “Here’s how we do it here.”

The business becomes a learning place where each person finds satisfaction in performing their parts to the best of their abilities.

Small business owners should be grateful to Michael Gerber for his profound observations and the challenge he has presented to us. Each morning, we should ask ourselves: “Am I going to a business, or am I going to a job?” If we are going to a job, we have Gerber’s model for change.

Employees must think in order to provide outstanding service. Gerber’s approach can sometimes be inflexible when dealing with changes we deal with today.

More important than “Here’s how we do it here,” we need to know “What’s important here.” We need to define the values of our business. People need to be more important than the systems that are supposed to serve them. Systems shouldn’t override common sense.

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frequently asked questions

  • What Is A Virtual CFO & How Can It Transform My Business?
    • a. A Virtual CFO can be a much-needed sounding board, coach, and guide. Outsourced Virtual CFO is generally not just one person, but an experienced team of professionals providing a full-stack Accounting and Finance Department at a fraction of the cost that it would otherwise cost a business to hire even just one full-time CFO internally. The right virtual CFO service team, such as the one at Perpetual CPA, can deliver timely, detailed, comprehensive financial reporting, interpret the financial data, prioritize recommendations, give expert guidance on how to execute those recommendations, and ultimately give a better path to business success.
  • How can a Virtual Accounting Department help small businesses scale and grow?
    • a. A growing number of small businesses are opting to outsource services such as IT, human resources, or accounting. The benefit of a Virtual Accounting Department is that the company can reduce or increase services to accommodate current business needs. Because the service provider has multiple clients they can absorb fluctuations in workflow more easily than the average small/medium business can on its own.

      b. A Virtual Accounting Department can integrate with a company’s own accounting department to create a blended solution or provide a full-stack accounting department, including Accounting Staff, Manager, Controller, and Virtual CFO. By using a Virtual Accounting Department Small business owners don’t have to worry about hiring, training, figuring out compensation, and payroll compliance for the internal accounting team. Also as the business grows and new and more complex accounting and tax issues come up, the outsourced Virtual Accounting Department can provide all the needed expertise to facilitate continued business success.
  • What are the benefits of hiring a CPA firm?
    • a. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) do a lot more than just crunch numbers and prepare taxes. They provide valuable expertise and strategies to help businesses and individuals achieve their business and financial goals. A CPA firm can help small businesses with management financial reporting, tax compliance, strategic business advice, and much more. Firms like Perpetual CPA, that specialize in helping small and medium-sized businesses achieve growth, can also provide Virtual CFO services, that help the business owners have the foresight into the short-term future cashflows and be able to more successfully navigate their business performance.
  • What are the best strategies for small business growth?
    • a. A business growth strategy is, simply, a plan of how a business gets from where it is today to where it wants to be in the future.

      b. Some of the questions to consider when coming up with a growth strategy are:
      i. Where will the business get new customers from?
      ii. How will the business expand into new markets?
      iii. What new products could the business offer?

      c. In reality, what happens with many small businesses, is that they generally achieve a specific level of business activity or sales and then the business growth trend flattens. In those cases, working with a firm like Perpetual CPA, which provides Virtual CFO services, can help small businesses avoid stagnation. Virtual CFO services, aside from providing timely accounting and tax reporting, can also provide valuable insight into the current performance of the business, as well as, foresight into the future cash flows for the business. Perpetual CPA Virtual CFO team helps small businesses interpret their financial information and come up with business strategies to help improve business performance and achieve growth.
  • What are the best strategies for small business risk management?
    • a. A risk management plan helps a business develop a detailed strategy to deal with certain risks that are particularly important for the businesses’ success.

      b. For many small and medium-sized businesses, the easiest way to develop and implement a business risk management plan is to work with a reputable CPA firm, such as Perpetual CPA. Large corporations invest a lot of resources and time into managing risk, which is a material factor that allows those large corporations to continue to generate billions of dollars in revenue every year. Small businesses, however, almost never manage any business risks, which is the major reason that over half of all the small businesses do not survive for more than 5 years. Generally, small business owners are not experienced corporate business professionals and lack the needed business knowledge, yet they often have to wear many hats while trying to get their businesses off the ground. In those situations, a CPA firm such as Perpetual CPA, can help small businesses better manage tax compliance risks, cash flow, internal controls, business administration, financial reporting, and much more.
  • What is Strategic Advisory and Virtual CFO? / How do Strategic Advisory and Virtual CFO services work?
    • a. When small businesses start spinning wheels, it is a good time to consider hiring a reputable CPA firm, such as Perpetual CPA, which can provide both Strategic Advice and Virtual CFO services.

      b. As a strategic advisor, the CPA firm will work with business management to improve the effectiveness and profitability of the business. They will look holistically at the business and find ways to operate the business more efficiently, increase customers through additional or improved marketing or improve customer touchpoints and service.

      c. As a Virtual CFO, the CPA firm is like a part-time version of a traditional CFO or Chief Financial Officer plus a full Accounting support team. They perform the tasks that in a larger organization would be performed by the CFO, Controller, and Accounting Staff such as preparing and overseeing the budget process, identifying and analyzing current and future trends, and developing strategies for the business growth.
  • How can timely financial visibility and management reporting help with better business decisions and growth?
    • a. A simple way to a successful business is to prioritize the timely financial visibility and management reporting as it means:
      i. Timely financial information and analysis are essential for making informed decisions, evaluating your company’s results, improving financial performance, and ensuring you are on the path to meet your strategic goals.
      ii. Management reporting is a source of business intelligence that helps business leaders make more accurate, data-driven decisions. But, these reports are most useful if they are available timely and the management receives proper interpretation of the business financial information.

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