Sometimes You Can't Price Up Front

Posted by JasonBlumer on Aug 12, 2016 in

We calculate all of our prices up front with clients so that they know how much they will have to invest in our firm. Many clients are very similar, so pricing work in this way is not that difficult. But sometimes you can't price up front very easily.My partner and I were meeting with a potential new client yesterday trying to understand what they are doing now, and how we might be able to help them. Their business was a bit more complex than we had anticipated, and I was struggling to think through how we might craft a price that would effectively help them, but allow us to make money too.Then the client suggested that we do a paid discovery. Aha! The good old paid discovery - I had forgotten about that pricing technique! It's been a few months since we've done one.Here's the deal: when…

What To Do With Your Cash

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jul 7, 2016 in

Getting cash is one thing. That's what most of us work on (including me!). There is a lot of work that goes into getting cash.But knowing what to do with cash once you get it is a completely different story. Cash is the lifeblood of a business, so it's important to put fences up around how you use it. If you are not good at managing cash (like me), then it is a healthy practice to find someone you value and trust to help you manage the cash. Here are the ways (or the fences) to using your cash wisely (from Greg Crabtree's book Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits!):First, pay your taxes. I know we want to buy toys, but it is surprising how many entrepreneurs fail to set cash aside to pay their taxes. You will be sorry if you don't set cash aside to pay…

I Want To Pay For Overhead

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jul 5, 2016 in

"We have low overhead" is an often heard phrase when a company is trying to convince us to buy from them. This phrase is an explanation to the buyer of why their prices are lower. But what company really wants to "pass their savings onto the customer"?A company's value is inherently proven in it's ability to create high margins. Valuable companies don't just give their profit away. They use their profit to invest in overhead. And overhead is the thing that really sets these companies apart, allows them to deliver on big promises, and offer serious care to their customers.I want to pay for overhead.I've hired people with low overhead, and most of the time it has turned out to be a mistake. Companies or service providers with low overhead also don't have support to answer my questions, solve problems, be consistent in their service, develop processes,…

3 New Secrets You Can Find Now

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jun 24, 2016 in

Peter Thiel's book, Zero to One, is one of my favorite business books. And perhaps one of my favorite chapters in the book is Chapter 8, Secrets:"Every one of today's most famous and familiar ideas was once unknown and unsuspected." Peter Thiel (think Uber and Airbnb, this decade's best examples)Thiel takes the chapter to explain how you need to think different to find secrets, and why most people are notlooking for secrets. Why is he even talking about secrets? Because whoever uncovers a secret in business has uncovered a gold mine (again, think about Uber and Airbnb).Thiel's thoughts around Secrets and how they relate to your business are best summarized in this quote:"Recall the business version of our contrarian question: what valuable company is nobody building? Every correct answer is necessarily a secret: something important and unknown, something hard to do but doable." Peter ThielThiel's…

The Business Mastery Map

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jun 23, 2016 in

Here are some of my favorite business books that offer clear, concise guidance on building a business: Traction by Gino WickmanPositioning for Professionals by Tim Williams, andSimple Number, Straight Talk, Big Profits by Greg CrabtreeWhat if you could boil these books down to the most important concepts that I have read through the years and have coached other business owners on? Well, I did! It's called the Business Mastery Map, and you can get a copy of the Map here:The Business MasteryMap is meant to help you think through some of the most important concepts a business should be contemplating. It's super helpful if you have a partner, because the conversations you have with your partner about these concepts is almost as important as what you put on the Map.It is meant to help you have the conversations you have not been having.he…

Summer: Time for Ice Cream and Tax Planning

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jun 20, 2016 in

Let me turn your thoughts towards tax planning as you enjoy your ice cream this summer. A lot of CPA firms help their clients with tax planning in the fall, and this is so important. It's really important to know what you will owe in taxes before you owe it. From experience, we can tell you that surprising a client with a huge tax bill in April is no fun. You can attempt to avoid that if you go through tax planning with your tax advisor.But tax planning in the fall isn't the only time to do tax planning. Depending on the client's needs, we will often perform tax planning in the summer too. Particularly if a client has recently come from another firm, and does not know what they owe in taxes, we will run through a tax scenario just to make sure we know what they may…

The 'Ideal' is Rarely the Reality

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jun 8, 2016 in

My partner recently sent methis article of an author searching for his lost self.It's not about business, but it is a great article. It so happens to be talking about me:"Reality never quite measures up to the unattainable perfection of the imaginary destination."I didn't realize until recently that I've been glamorizing the ideal of what our future firm would look like. I feel I've been looking too far ahead to the supposed rewards of building a business to enjoy the journey I'm walking now. The 'ideal' future is rarely the reality when you finally arrive. As my partner says, I'm an 'idealist.' I'm working for an ideal, not for a current reality. We don't have the future yet, and we certainly don't/won't have the future we think we are going to have. The future we think we are going to have is elusive…

Should You Be an S Corporation?

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jun 2, 2016 in

Your accounting professional should be talking to you about becoming an S Corporation, and whether it can save you money on taxes. We've been doing this for many years, and it is a great strategy to save our clients a lot of money on taxes. Depending on how profitable you are, the savings could be significant.Here is a video I made showing you how the tax savings works:To become an S Corporation as of the first of this year, you had to have applied for S corporation status by March 15th of this year.But if you contact us soon, we may be able to apply special IRS procedures to back date a late S election back to the beginning of this year. You can fill out our New Client Form and we'll see if we can help you.…

Selling Ain't Marketing

Posted by JasonBlumer on May 31, 2016 in

I was talking with a brand new firm owner yesterday that was frustrated that he couldn't land any new clients. He came to the conclusion that he was bad at selling. But he has an engaging personality, and really seems to know how to listen and talk with people so well. Eventually, he learned that he was not bad at selling, but he was bad at marketing. It's a confusion that trips up many business owners. Selling ain't marketing.I'm no expert, and I certainly confuse these roles all the time. But here are things I'm learning about the two:1. We've been successful delegating marketing in our firm, but we haven't been able to delegate selling yet. And we've tried. Selling is so intimate that it's hard to communicate how to do it with a new team member. You have to sell your Purpose, share your heart, and persuade clients…

Pricing Your Client's Rhythm of Value

Posted by JasonBlumer on May 19, 2016 in

I just had a great coaching session with a client where we were discussing how to price and the timing of sending invoices to your client. We talked through sending invoices on a project basis, every other week, and monthly. Like most agencies, this client would quote a client the cost of the whole project (e.g. "your project will be a total of $100,000.").The more we talked, the more we began focusing on the client. We discussed how they perceive the value they are receiving.Some great thoughts came out of this discussion:1. You don't actually have to tell a client how much a project costs in total. You may be able to just say "the investment will be $25,000 per month." Of course, the client can figure out how much that will be in total if you tell them how many months you expect the project to last. But…