Make More Money by Rocking the Boat

make big changesEveryone’s worried. Even the companies that have prospered since the onset of the pandemic worry that tomorrow may be the day when they drown.

How you handle the worry makes a difference.

Do you rock the boat or simply try to right the ship?

We recently worked with a CPA firm that was exhausted and struggling to right the ship. Their primary revenue stream came from tax work. This was dribbling in because the tax return deadline was extended to July 15, 2020. Every client was so engrossed in their own struggles that they were slow do the necessary tax work. By the end of July, the CPA firm owner was at her wit’s end: so much work, so little money, so much anxiety.

We encouraged her to rock the boat instead of trying to right the ship. Rocking the boat for this firm was to decide that henceforth they were doing two new things. Existing clients who did not agree would be referred elsewhere.

1) Requiring all clients to connect to their cloud based systems.
2) Providing outcomes and value (not inputs or services) via 3 bundles. Each bundle included a tax return. Tax returns would no longer be offered as a stand alone product.

In a somewhat counterintuitive turn of events, it turns out that when everything is topsy turvy people are less shocked by rocking the boat.

The firm’s owner asked two of her staff CPAs to work with her on instituting these two initiatives.

Here’s their story from the first nearly three months (August-October):

“We segmented our clients into high value, medium value and low value using criteria Susan Trivers recommended. Then we analyzed all the various kinds of value we provided, most of which were outcomes of our tax return work. We created 3 packages: Platinum, Gold and Silver. These two exercises opened our eyes to both the value we had ‘thrown in’ and didn’t get paid for and where there are great opportunities with certain of our clients.

We realized that clients don’t want to buy tax returns or a list of inputs. They want outcomes and value. We learned to articulate our three packages in terms of value to the client.

For example, the Platinum package assures companies of business continuity and increased cash flow, plus all the value from Gold and Silver. Our Gold package assures our clients protection in the event of an audit. And so on.

We wouldn’t have guessed what would turn out to be the best part: talking to our high and medium value clients. We each had a list and we got on the phone with them to talk about their worries.

We listened carefully. They loved hearing from us, and that the conversation wasn’t about tax returns but about their companies and themselves. We’ve had a 73% acceptance rate of one of the new packages. The Gold is most popular, the Platinum is next, and only a few chose Silver.”

This firm is seeing the power of rocking the boat. Cash is coming in because the packages are billed monthly. They’ve been delivering value from the start. Working with the information collected via the cloud, they’re able to advise from day one.

For example, they’re creating cash flow reports on a schedule that is customized for each company. Some benefit from daily reports, others from weekly. They’re set up to do preliminary tax returns at any time to help owners understand their tax position and whether to make any changes that will impact their tax obligations.

How might your company rock the boat? How would you evaluate the pros and cons? What would you need to encourage you to take that uncomfortable step?

As the company Owner or executive, you are awfully close to every possibility. Sometimes that’s all you need to get going. Other times a one-time outside perspective boosts your confidence, and you’ll take it from there. And in a few instances, some ongoing support similar to what we provided to our CPA client may help you maximize the value of your choice to rock the boat.

You’re invited to explore possibilities with us. We’ll have an info sharing conversation and you’ll get a couple of tips. Call or text 703-801-0345.

In any case, congratulations on keeping things going!

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