Tag Archives: Jeff Borschowa

Pillar 8: Business Management – Customer Selection and Ranking

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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.

Are all customers good customers? Generally, the answer depends on the industry you are in. If you have a homogeneous product or service that can be found anywhere, then you probably don’t have enough customer interaction to really worry about whether or not a client is a good fit for your business. However, if you offer a unique product or service and have an extended customer relationship, then it becomes imperative to be selective with the customers that you take on.

For example, if you are a custom home builder that takes a year to build a high-end house, you will likely be very interested in having a customer that you can work with.

There are two parts to client selection and ranking. You can first filter out unsuitable clients up front if you are clear as to who your ideal customer is. If, however, you have a lot of customers, then you need to look at your existing clients. When I work with my clients, we often look at their accounting records to determine how many customers it takes to make up twenty percent of their revenues. We compare that to how many customers bring in the remainder of their revenue. In most cases, the numbers are very revealing. You can often build your business just by focusing on your top customers.

Pillar 8 – Business Management – Part 1 – Critical Factors

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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 best run businesses focus on key performance indicators in order to determine areas that need improvement. Monitoring business results and seeking improvement are critical aspects of working on your business. Gross and net revenue are two easy numbers to determine, though they may not yield much in terms of overall business insight. Find the right key performance indicators based on your personal objectives for your business. Track them, monitor them, and make business decisions that are consistent with your objectives.
This may sound very high level and theoretical, so we will break it down into the following areas:
• Critical Success Factors
• Key Performance Indicators
• Customer Selection and Ranking Continue reading

Pillar 7: Value Added Services

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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.

Providing good products and services at fair prices will earn you trust and loyalty from your customers. The great news is you can leverage this relationship to identify customer issues and offer more in-depth solutions.

The range of services you can offer is limited in part by your industry, but it may also be limited by your own imagination. For example, you may not be able to offer much to your customers in the way of value added services if you are in a tightly regulated industry with externally imposed limitations.

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Pillar 6: Technology – The Cloud – Part 2

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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.

Part 2 – Core Benefits of Cloud Computing

Cloud solutions can provide greater security. However, the real benefits usually revolve around availability, cost effectiveness, flexibility and scalability.

Cloud providers will usually have a written guarantee to demonstrate that their systems will be available. Most offer some variant of 99.99% “up time”. You can even get greater up time, usually measured by another 0.009%, if you are willing to pay higher fees. It all comes down to how much down time will impact your business.

Cloud solutions are cost effective, flexible and scalable, because you can often pay only for what you need. If you need five users, you pay for five users. If you add a sixth user, you pay for one more. Cloud solutions are built on large-scale hardware, so they can easily accommodate the addition or removal of team members on your side. We will focus more on costs in the next section, virtual versus physical servers.

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Pillar 6: Technology – The Cloud

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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.

In this section, we will discuss:
• What is the cloud?
• Cloud security
Through this discussion, we will also examine key criteria to evaluate when looking at cloud solutions.

What is the cloud?
The cloud is essentially a metaphor for the Internet. Specifically, an external server or servers performs the bulk of the processing work for a given task. The user accesses the computing power via the Internet. The real power of the cloud is that the computing power is no longer held within the actual device accessed by the user, thus, we can dramatically reduce Information Technology spending by integrating lower cost devices, such as tablets and smart phones in place of expensive work stations. The other advantage to cloud solutions is that we can literally access our programs and data anytime and anywhere, as long as we have reliable Internet connectivity.
There are various terms that you will hear in relation to computing, but the most common one is “Software as a Service.” This particular model involves software that is hosted no a central server and you pay a monthly per user access fee. The provider maintains responsibility for software updates and maintenance, freeing you up to focus on your core business needs.
We are seeing more people becoming comfortable with cloud computing. Perhaps an example or two will clarify the definition and demonstrate that you are likely already using the cloud, whether you call it that or not. Online functions such as banking, booking flights, and reserving hotel rooms are all examples of cloud solutions. They have been around long enough that most of us do not even question their existence any more.

Cloud Security
We hear a lot in the media about hackers and attacks on large facilities. Unfortunately, this gives us a false sense of security in thinking that hackers are targeting large organizations and will leave small businesses alone. The reality is that most information technology issues or security breaches in small businesses are the result of hardware failure, internal errors or disgruntled employees deliberately sabotaging data and computing resources.
Hacking instances make for good news fodder, but they are not indicative of the real risks you there. The reality is that a centralized computing environment, such as the cloud solutions available today, represents an opportunity to centralize security efforts and build a stronger defence around our data.
When you are selecting a cloud solution, pay close attention to their security and privacy policies. You want to make sure that you retain access to your data, they don’t have access, and your data is in some way encrypted. One word of caution, some industries have specific guidelines that govern their use of Information Technology, including restrictions on what data can be in the cloud. Ensure that you know about any unique rules surrounding your business before you start looking at cloud solutions.

Next Month – Technology Part 2 will cover the following:

• Core benefits of cloud computing
• Virtual versus physical servers
• Examples of cloud technology

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.

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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