Stop Looking At Your Financial Statements

Posted by JasonBlumer on Feb 9, 2016 in

As a good accountant, I've fought this advice for many years. It's been ingrained into me because I've been taught my value was in helping clients understand their financial statements. But that is not what we do at all.As a firm that exclusively serves the financial, tax, accounting, growth, and coaching needs of agencies all over the US, we help agency owners become mature business owners (go look, our purpose is right there on the front of our website: blumercpas.com). Becoming mature does not mean you have to understand financial statements. It seems agency owners feel guilty that they don't understand their financial statements.If you did understand your financial statements, then you may be better off than most agency owners, but it's not a requirement to run a profitable, successful agency. So, what should you understand if you don't have to understand your financial statements?Before I…

The Nobility of Being Wrong

Posted by JasonBlumer on Feb 2, 2016 in

This blog post was inspired by Todd Henry's latest Accidental Creative podcast episode. He was interviewing Adam Steltzner, author of the book The Right Kind of Crazy.Adam discusses briefly the purpose of the leader of an organization, and that they are burdened with serving the team. What specific burdens does a 'serving leader' take on?- the fortitude to say wrong things,- the craziness to lay out an unknown path forward without knowing how to get there,- the vulnerability of leaning on others to help you discover the way forward, and- the bravery to change your mind, and the company, in the middle of moving forward.Notice the words I used above. I talk about being wrong, being crazy, vulnerability and the need for bravery. And what often stops the 'serving leader' from accomplishing any of these things above?Fear. At any point, fear can pop up…

How To Identify New Services To Sell

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jan 29, 2016 in

We all want to sell more in our businesses. It's not only about money, it's about new value that can be created to help those willing to pay for it. As entrepreneurs, we enjoy helping people. That is the beautiful part of leading a business.So how can you identify new ways to sell new value?Example: I'll use an example that accounting firms owners often run into to help us through this blog post. Here it is; many strong accounting firm owners also give business advice or have meetings with their clients that are built in to their services. These meetings are typically very valuable for the business owner for many reasons. The questions below will help us dissect this 'business advice' service and see how we can identify this as new value, and get paid for it.First, ask yourself "what client service or interaction do I have…

The Ebb and Flow of Creative Work

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jan 19, 2016 in

I'm learning that there is ebb and flow to all of our lives. The book, The Power of Full Engagement, highlights this. I used to try to sit down and work as much as I could until I was burned out. But this is not effective, and doesn't cause excitement about my work either. I want to be excited about the things I'm doing all day long.Most of my work is creative - I am either thinking strategically with a client, solving problems for my team, writing and speaking, or creating new things that we can sell. That's about all I do. I rarely have to execute on my ideas anymore, and it's only taken 20 years to get here!Since my work is creative, I need renewal and time to read as input in order to output creative ideas and new blog posts. Without the renewal and periods of…

Should You Be Serving Startups?

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jan 13, 2016 in

Our firm serves design and marketing agencies, and a popular niche among them is to serve startups. Serving startups sounds so cool. I agree. Is it the best target market for an agency to serve? Let's dive into the mechanics of what a startup actually is so we can make good decisions about who we serve.According to Steve Blank,"a startup is a temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model."So, a startup doesn't know yet what it is doing. That's not a slam, it's part of their definition. The fact that they are in search of their business model may be a perfect reason why you want to serve startups. They may be in need of help to find their repeatable and scalable model. Consider whether a design or marketing agency is the best advisor to help them find that repeatable business model.…

How to Be Coached By A Coach

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jan 8, 2016 in

I often extol the value of hiring a business coach and how much this investment can change business owners into mature business owners. But I haven't read many articles about how to leverage a coach that you have hired. That is a skill too, and one I have had to learn over the past few years.Forced RefocusOften, when my owncoaching sessions come up I briefly think "I just don't have time." But therein lies the value of my coach - a forced refocus on the strategic and important. If left to myself I will stay mired in the details of running my businesses and fail to lift my head to see what is important. No entrepreneur should be doing this, and hiring a coach will force you to step back and refocus on what is big and important.Lead Me!The deeper my clients will go with…

Change Is Boring

Posted by JasonBlumer on Jan 5, 2016 in

Tis the season for resolutions. The new year is a testament to humans' deep desire for change. We want to be richer, thinner, smarter, faster, and stronger. But the process of lastingchange is usuallyboring because it comes to those patient enough to experience it in the many thousand small decisions we make to enjoy its fruit.My marriage over 22 years ago was an event, but it didn't change me. I am a different man than when I first met my wife, but it has been the many daily, exciting, exhausting days of committing over and over again to the love of one wonderful woman, and her faithful commitment to me.Do you want to change in 2016? Good, but it will take the next 5 years to do it... the rest of your life even. How can we embrace the boring reality of change and become the long…

I've Had a Partner for 6 Months Now

Posted by JasonBlumer on Dec 29, 2015 in

As most of our clients probably know, I added Julie Shipp as a partner in my firm on July 1, 2015. So, it's been six months that I've had a partner, out of the 12.5 years I've been running the firm on my own.Was it worth it? Yes! In so many ways, I have experienced extreme value in having someone else bear this burden of ownership with me.Here are some of the many benefits of having a partner:1. Someone else stays up worrying about cash flow now. Julie is focused on the details, the cash, and the operations. She fully owns it, and she stays up at night thinking about it (just like I do). Before, I had no one that cared that much about our firm except my wife. It's true every team member cares about our firm, but they do NOT have to carry the burden of making us…

The Barnes & Noble Pivot Into College Campuses

Posted by JasonBlumer on Dec 14, 2015 in

Man, things sure are different than when I was in college. We were scared to go to my bookstore alone. Deep in the darkest basement of the student center, our bookstore had flickering fluorescent lights, scary shelves of textbooks, and that dude named Russell with a neck beard working there. ((shudder))As we have been visiting campuses with our oldest daughter ready to go to college, we have learned it's much, much different now...This is because Barnes & Noble pivoted to begin running college campus bookstores. They brought the cool to school. Barnes & Noble certainly isn't killing it, but it does seem to be doing well on college campuses. Barnes & Noble College even spun off their college book business to run on its own this year (they currently run 743 college campus bookstores). Seems they are trying to separate the well planned college book business from the big box stores in…

How Much Should I Save In My Agency?

Posted by JasonBlumer on Dec 11, 2015 in cash flow

This is a very common question for wise creative business owners protecting their agencies from disaster. Running out of cash, or being forced to get loans can set your agency back in big ways.Before we answer the question, let's note 3 key things you should be doing with your cash:1. You should be making enough of a profit to cover all of your expenses, and the owner's pay. If you can't cover this, then there is something wrong with the model of your agency, and it needs to be fixed.2. You should be able to save some money for taxes and feel comfortable about the ups and downs of project-based revenue that most agencies deal with (this is what this article is about).3. You should be spending money on innovative growth initiatives, either in the form of new hires or new products that allow you to offer new services. Smart…