All posts by Guest Contributor

Pillar 5: Value Pricing

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The series is from Chartered Accountant, consultant and author, Jeff Borschowa, from his book, 8 Pillars for Exponential Business Growth. The series is focused on how to find new and better ways to integrate innovation and technology to enhance the customer experience and improve efficiency in the accounting process.

You could probably argue that pricing could fit under one of the other pillars. I separate it out in order to emphasize how important it is, especially for professional service firms. The traditional model of billing for services is based on a single formula: hours worked multiplied by an hourly rate is equal to the fee to be billed. This formula creates an inherent conflict of interest between you and your customers. They want you to work faster, but you make more money if you work slower. Notice that the equation does not include any consideration of the value of the work as seen in the eyes of the customer.

Take another look at the equation, you will see that implementing systems to become more efficient reduces your time spent on the work. Thus, your earnings also decrease if you become more efficient. Value pricing focuses on the value that you provide to a customer. Customers are looking for value, they don’t place true value on your time, only the outcome that you ultimately produce with your time.

We don’t want to ignore businesses that sell products. In a lot of cases, you are limited by pricing that your competitors may be setting in a marketplace. However, if you have a niche and can focus on your ideal customer, you may be able to put together a complete bundle of products that would be worth more as a bundle than individually. For example, the pet car industry realized that people who bought pet birds would often buy cages, feed, and other items at the same time. They bundled packages together for convenience and found that the packages were selling for more than the individual components.

Building Relationships- A Black Swan POV

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Guest Blogger:   Our special guest contributor this month is Melissa Michalski, co-owner of CertPro Accounting Team, a proud member of IPBC, a Certified Professional Bookkeeper and a graduate of the Black Swan Project.

As some of you may know, over one year ago our company started our journey with IPBC (Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada) as one of the selected members of the prestigious Black Swan Group.  We were led by the genius Ron Baker and learned to drop the timesheet and hourly billing and proceed with value pricing.  This experience has been hard work but in the end nothing but rewarding.  Telpay has been a huge support system for us throughout the Black Swan process and we are thankful for the opportunity to build such an amazing relationship with them.


melissaThis past January I was lucky enough to attend The Black Swan Summit in Napa Valley.  This is where current Swans and past Swans were able to meet and collaborate along with Ron and three of his fellow colleagues that follow the Value Pricing model.  Let me tell you… I LOVE NAPA VALLEY, but I also love this Summit. I came home refreshed, re-energized and full of ideas on how to make my business even stronger.

The 2015 Summit led me to think differently about our company.  Yes, I always look for ideas and improvements on how to price our customers but, this year many of the speakers spoke a lot about RELATIONSHIP which naturally made me reflect on the importance of my businesses relationships.  Think about this word and what it means in your life, personally and through work.

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Pillars for Business Growth – Building a Niche

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The series is from Chartered Accountant, consultant and author, Jeff Borschowa, from his book, 8 Pillars for Exponential Business Growth. The series is focused on how to find new and better ways to integrate innovation and technology to enhance the customer experience and improve efficiency in the accounting process.

Niche building is the intersection between marketing and sales and, arguably, the foundation for both. We introduced niche building in our marketing discussion. Niche building involves focusing your business on a specific ideal customer type. A niche can be defined by industry classification, geographic location, company size, etc. Defining your niche will guide both your marketing and sales efforts.

Focusing on a niche often allows you to market yourself as a specialist and charge higher prices for what you offer. Specialists in an industry can always charge more than competitors who are generalists. Your value, as quantified by pricing, is determined by how customers perceive you in the marketplace.

The key advantage to focusing on a niche is the ability to leverage your marketing and sales efforts by reaching a large percentage of your niche audience. You don’t have to reach one hundred percent of the market, just a large percentage of those that would be inclined to buy your product or service.

Feeling “Cloudy” When It Comes to Cloud Technology

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Our special guest contributor this month is Shannon Valanne of CloudLinx Hosted Services Inc., Big Business IT for Small Business – a cloud-based company that lowers small businesses’ technology expenses while improving their flexibility.

Are you thinking about moving your business to the Cloud, but aren’t sure if the Cloud is right for you? Are you looking for ways to be more profitable without sacrificing quality service to your clients? Overwhelmed with trying to maintain your technology but can’t afford to purchase state of the art hardware and/or hire an IT team? Let me introduce you to our Cloud!

As a small business entrepreneur, you know how important your bottom line is. Deciding the best way to be profitable and save money, yet still provide the service of the Big Guys, can be a challenge.

When deciding to take your business to the Cloud, you should seek out different providers and ask many questions. Then evaluate the needs of your company. Are you looking for sanity, knowing your data is always safe? Are you tired of spending money replacing hardware? Maybe the remote access is attractive; not being tied to an office chair allows you to live the life you deserve and take your accounting software out of the office!

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Pillars for Business Growth: Sales

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The series is from Chartered Accountant, consultant and author, Jeff Borschowa, from his book, 8 Pillars for Exponential Business Growth. The series is focused on how to find new and better ways to integrate innovation and technology to enhance the customer experience and improve efficiency in the accounting process.

The sales process focuses on closing deals, signing up new customers, and maintaining relationships with existing customers. Basically, this is the activity that converts your marketing leads and prospects into paying customers. If you are not comfortable with sales and negotiations, you need to gain some level of comfort and experience quickly. I recommend sales training programs for all of my customers and students, regardless of industry. I believe that our sales ability determines the level of success that we achieve in life. If you view “sales” as a negative concept, change your perspective to focus on relationship building and exceptional customer service.

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Pillars for Business Growth: Marketing & Networking

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The series is from Chartered Accountant, consultant and author, Jeff Borschowa, from his book, 8 Pillars for Exponential Business Growth. The series is focused on how to find new and better ways to integrate innovation and technology to enhance the customer experience and improve efficiency in the accounting process.

Marketing encompasses all activities that encourage a prospect to contact you in the first place. In my experience, it is hard to stand out or make any significant gains through traditional marketing, such as television, radio or newspaper advertisements, mainly due to the fact that mass media is exactly that – directed to the masses. For the most part, you target a medium’s entire audience and hope that they identify with you.
Random marketing can produce random results. Before you start marketing, you need to clearly identify the characteristics that represent your ideal customer. Creating a clear picture of the person you will ultimately target with your marketing will drastically improve your results, especially your return on investment for marketing effort and dollars. Your ideal customer will form the basis for any subsequent marketing plan that you develop.

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Want to Move to the Cloud?

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We are excited to share Cloud insights from our guest contributor, Kerri Bouffard of
Add-Vantage Bookkeeping. Kerri will be providing advice and solutions to help you determine if the Cloud is right for your business. 

Originally posted in the Add-Vantage Bookkeeping Blog, republished with permission.

It seems that no matter where we turn we are being bombarded with the word “CLOUD”! Cloud Servers – Cloud Software – Cloud Storage – Cloud Everything! Cloud does not seem to pertain to the weather any longer!

It is popping up everywhere and many businesses, accountants and bookkeepers are contemplating taking that big step and transitioning their accounting and bookkeeping to the cloud. But just because you want to work in the cloud doesn’t mean it is an easy transition. Often once you start the process you will have one question answered but seven more will pop up!

I have been working completely in the cloud – very happily – for almost three years now and I could not imagine working any other way. I have such peace of mind over the safety of my data, but also the ease of use I have for accessing my data whenever I need to do so. This however was not a step I took lightly and there are still a lot of things I have to consider on an individual client basis and what their specific needs are.

My recommendation would be to really analyze what you are hoping to accomplish with moving to the cloud – be it better security of your data, having someone else look after your technology, ease of access so you can get out of your office, collaboration with clients with their bookkeeping, etc. Once you determine your top five reasons for wanting to move to the cloud – then you will need to analyze the different offerings that are out there. Would Cloud software suit your needs better than a Cloud server solution? Would a Cloud server solution offering direct support to accountants and bookkeepers be preferable to a Cloud server solution that offers space on their server farm but you are responsible for everything else? For this you need to analyze your requirements – as well as your client’s.

As I mentioned – one question will lead to seven more – and one solution is not a one size fits all solution. You could determine that you will use a combination of all three!

Over the next several weeks, I will tackle some of these questions and solutions to help you in determining what may work best for your individual situation! If you would like a more personalized approach please feel free to contact me by email to have a private cloud consultation!

The Cloud is a wonderful thing – let’s clear up some of the unknowns together!

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Happy Travels: 8 Tips on How to Work Remotely

1-Bea+family (2)Guest Blogger:  Bea Dabrowski, BA CPB, Co-Owner of CertPro Accounting Team Inc in Winnipeg.

What’s your passion in life?  Mine is travel.  And I don’t mean taking short little holidays here and there.  By travel, I mean uprooting my family for several months or longer and living like a local in a foreign culture. Having grown up in three different countries, having attended schools in all of them, and having had to learn a new language each time, I don’t see any other way to live for me.  This is my normal.  And now my family’s as well.  My son, when not in Canada, attends a local school in a local language, learning a new culture.

If this sounds outlandish to you, you are probably thinking, how can a person make a living and be successful and financially stable, while leading a seemingly chaotic lifestyle like mine.  Well, let me tell you, I am not the only one and not the first one to do this.

If living elsewhere for even part of the year (perhaps to avoid the insane Canadian winter), has ever crossed your mind – let me tell you, it is quite feasible.  The person who inspires me the most and will surely inspire you as well, is the American author/life hacker Tim Ferriss (you can check out his blog here: http://fourhourworkweek.com/4-hour-workweek-tools/).  His blog and book contain all the steps you need to take in order to “escape” the office.

But what tools do you need in order to work remotely?

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Growing Your Business Internationally

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Guest Blogger:  Paul Rechner, President, Payline by ICE
Working in a variety of roles in the Canadian corporate foreign exchange industry for the past 10 years, Paul Rechner has brought to Payline by ICE a vision for growth and expansion while holding firm to our primary tenets of ethical business practices and customer service.

Most businesses need growth to survive. Few survive the test of time without looking at new products, new processes and new markets. All of these can be intimidating by taking us out of our comfort zone, but what could be more foreign than expanding into markets in other countries with different norms, practices, consumers and prioritization of needs? You wouldn’t likely be making the expansion if you didn’t have good reason to believe that your product would be valued there, but as with all commerce, it will require the efficient flow of funds for a venture to be successful.

Payline by ICE and Telpay have partnered for years to provide clients with access to Telpay’s International Payments Module. This software allows for you to send payments in over 140 currencies to most countries around the world, with transparent pricing, and all the convenience you have already come to expect from Telpay. Tired of wire fees ranging from $20-$75 or more? International payments made through Telpay cost only $2 per transaction, and the exchange rates are, in most cases, superior to those offered by your bank.

As you look to expand into new territories, there are often exploratory and set-up costs associated with the venture. As Canadians, we have it ingrained to go to our bank for most every financial transaction. The general rule is, the more you send, the better the pricing. Most businesses don’t send enough to benefit from special rates and fees. By working with an International Payments specialist like Payline, we aggregate the transactions of numerous clients, and take that to the bank to get better pricing than the individual transactions would receive. We pass on a portion of those savings, allowing us to demonstrate cost-savings to our clients. The best part is that it’s made easy and convenient, working through a system that you already know and understand.

As your business grows in new markets, you will presumably start receiving foreign revenues from those territories. Through your account with Payline by ICE, you’ll be able to access our help in converting those back to Canadian Dollars, or into another currency as you expand into yet further territories.

While there are many stresses involved with growing your business internationally, dealing with the movement of funds doesn’t have to be one of them. Visit International Payments for more information about getting started.

 

How the CertPro Accounting Team is Simplifying Business

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Originally posted in the IPBC Blog, republished with permission from CertPro Accounting Team
Co-authored by Melissa Michalski, B.Comm(Hons), CPB & Bea Dabrowski, B.A., CPB

Not only is CertPro Accounting Team implementing Value Pricing, we are also finding ways to make our business more efficient and grow our knowledge. When we began this process, we brainstormed areas of our business that were successful, had weaknesses, things we were experts at, and things we didn’t like to do. And we came up with an “ideal customer” for our firm. As we have been going through this journey we are finding ways to make things easier on us and our customers happier.

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