Do The Opposite Blog Post Series: Raise Your Prices

Posted by JasonBlumer on Feb 25, 2015 in

This is an opposite behavior that really freaks out business owners. And I love to challenge people to do it - raise your prices.When I tell entrepreneurs to raise their prices, we begin to deal with all of their real issues:-am I worth that?-I'm scared I'll lose clients.-I don't need to charge that much.-I want to stay small.I hope you know that the claims of the billboard above are an impossible feat to pull off in business. You can not give the exact same coverage to an auto insurance holder year after year without raising your rates. I assume they are saying that they charge less than their competitors. By doing so, they have just put themselves in the category of 'commodity.' And I'm sure they complained about the insurance industry being a commodity to their advertising agency.Agencies really need to stop…

Do The Opposite Blog Post Series: Stop Blending In

Posted by JasonBlumer on Feb 20, 2015 in

This original blog post series started here.The above lame clip art represents the philosophical belief of my profession that we don't want to rock the boat. Search 'boring cpa firm websites' and you will actually find the companies at the top that build the majority of the websites for our profession. Boring is the only word I can use to describe the brand and marketing presence of our profession. I believe this used to suffice, when people did business in their hometown with people they trusted. But our profession is slow to realize that customers are changing, and so should our marketing. Like all service-based businesses, we must stop blending in.Tim Williams, consultant to creative agencies from Ignition Consulting Group, lists four great examples of a differentiation strategy in this blog post:He lists:1. the language you use to help you stop blending in - can you be…

Get Your Health Insurance Plan Handled NOW

Posted by JasonBlumer on Feb 10, 2015 in

The following information comes fromAlex Forrest, the guy that can hook you up with a health insurance plan if you need one. And if you don't have one, you need one THIS WEEK.You CANNOT get an individual health insurance policy in 2015 afterFebruary 15th. Everyone needs to be aware of this but very few people are.One of the changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is that people can only get coverage during the "Open Enrollment" period each year.That's true for plans on the Marketplace and plans that are outside the Marketplace. So after February 15th the opportunity to enroll you and your family in a health insurance plan for 2015 is gone.If you've been waiting or thinking about your options, it's time to make a decision! View plans and prices for 2015 health insurance plans here.The good news. We've made it very…

Will my S Corp be Audited?

Posted by JasonBlumer on Feb 6, 2015 in

Recently a client emailed one of our accountants about the risk of his S Corp being audited. His attorney had mentioned that it could be a concern. Cristina, our Customer Ally, had a really helpful response and we wanted to share it with all of you.S Corporations are one of the fastest growing types of entity and the most common type of entities filing returns with the IRS because they provide attractive benefits to their owners, such as limited liability and a partial reprieve from self-employment taxes. Just to give you a sense of scale, in 2011 there were 4.5 million S corporation returns and the IRS audited about 18,500. Although the IRS is increasing its focus on what they call "flow-through" entities (Partnerships and S Corporations), the risk of audit is still quantifiably low.That said, S corp shareholder compensation is considered an easily manipulable way to dial down the tax…

Do The Opposite Blog Post Series: Cater to Your Customer's Irrationality

Posted by JasonBlumer on Feb 3, 2015 in

Economists have long desired for people to be rational in their buying choices. This way, economists can study buying behaviors and make accurate market predictions. But we humans know this is bunk. We make decisions more from feelings than our rational minds. In an article from Psychology Today, How We Convince Ourselves to Buy Products We Don't Need, Douglas Van Praet (author of the book Unconscious Branding), says"Emotions tend to weigh in first and heaviest in our buying decisions followed by logic or reason... no amount of logic or reasoning can overcome strong feelings because the emotionally charged mind will always find its reasons to believe." Your customers don't make rational choices to purchase your services or products either. Here are a few ways to leverage the irrationality of your customers while selling:If you can sell to your customer at a time when their need is highest, then…

Do The Opposite

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jan 23, 2015 in

"If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right."Jerry Seinfeld, Philosopherhttp://youtu.be/cKUvKE3bQlYIn this Youtube video, George Costanza finds out that everything he has ever done in his life has not worked out for him. Jerry Seinfeld eventually comes to the conclusion that George should simply do the opposite of what his instincts have always been. Solid advice.This reminds me about the game of business. Many business owners seek a 'best practice' with which to operate their organization. But this usually leads to mediocrity and sameness. If you do what everyone is doing, you'll look like everyone. Businesses are trying to find out 'what works.' But business is a game, where an opponent has a secret that they can courageously leverage against their competitor. As business owners, we must find out what works, not follow common beliefs.Running…

The Problem With Strategy

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jan 20, 2015 in

A lot of my clients want to 'execute a strategy,' but there is some confusion as to what that means. The problem with strategy is that it is necessarily a long term commitment. If you think up any strategy to transform your business, you are probably going to be working on the implementation for at least a year. Most strategic implementations take even longer. As an example, if you want to implement better marketing strategies in 2015, then you probably won't see clients from that work for a year. Marketing doesn't typically produce clients in the short term, because marketing is a strategic long term function of a company.Another problem with strategy is that it usually costs money. If you want to start doing something right over a long period of time, then you are usually talking about hiring a new team member, investing in outsourced marketing help, or…

Time to Get Those Pesky 1099s Filed!

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jan 16, 2015 in

Every January, we all have to get W2s and 1099s to our employees and contractors. If we are preparing your 1099s for contractors, here is the information we need from you:Company or Name of Individual ContractorAmount Paid to Contractor in 2014 (1099s go to contractors paid $600 or more in 2014)Federal ID or Social Security Number of the ContractorMailing Address of the ContractorEmail Address of the ContractorAnd now that it is a new year, go ahead and get in the habit of sending your contractors a W9 each year and entering the information into Xero. It'll make next January that much simpler!Let us know if you have questions!…

Coaching Can Help You With Your Business Strategy

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jan 9, 2015 in

Being strategic is a necessary function in any business. In his book, Uncommon Sense, Common Nonsense, Dr. Jules Goddard says this about strategy:"A strategy is a purposive sequence of decisions inferred from a unique belief system or world view."Thus, your strategy is subconsciously coming out of your beliefs. No problem, right? Except that your beliefs are coming from assumptions. Here is what Goddard says about assumptions:"For a business strategy to count as truly strategic the competitive moves made by a firm over a period of time need to be based upon a unique system of beliefs. All our actions are the manifestation of our assumptions about the consequences of these actions."Let me restate this: our assumptions ---> lead to ---> our beliefs ---> lead to ---> our strategic decisions. If you think you've got a handle on your assumptions, trust me, you…

Preferences Trip Up Business Owners

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jan 6, 2015 in

I serve humans. I don't sell widgets. I sell services directly to other humans. This is one of the single most intimate business processes I can think of. I've noticed that some humans have 'low' preferences. Meaning, they don't often impose they desires, expectations or assumptions onto how you serve them. They are low maintenance.And then there are those with very strong preferences, where the slightest misstep is taken as atrocious, and you will be penalized with separation from their service. Is one better than the other? Yes, I believe entering into a human relationships with 'high' (strong)preferences will set you up for unhappy interactions with humans in all aspects of your life. And here, high 'preferences' does not mean high 'expectations.'Here are some thoughts:1. Preferences are not strategic. There is no fundamental strategy in having a preference. For example, building a business is…