If you look after small business clients, you’ll understand the importance of identifying their needs in order to deliver what they want – and expect. We’ve covered some of the most common client personas in the industry. Now, we’re taking a deep dive into the business owner persona, Basil – get to know him below!
Meet Basil the Business Owner
Basil is a small business owner and family man. For the last 5 years, Basil has been the proud owner of a craft beer brewery which has grown substantially in size. But as his company has grown, keeping on top of his business finances and understanding his financial situation has become increasingly complex. As an accountant, how can you go that extra mile to engage and add value to business owners like Basil?
There are more than 2.2 million small businesses in Australia, with the sector making up 96% of the nation’s businesses. The most common industries for small businesses are construction (17%) and professional, scientific and technical services (12%). The 2018 Australian Accounting Industry Survey found accountants are considered the most important professional service provider by all SMEs and for good reason. Almost 9 in 10 SMEs have relied on accounting services at some point, and astonishingly, nearly a quarter of businesses don’t believe they have the financial literacy to run their business.
What they want
Someone who can talk their talk
Effective communication is fundamental in any mutual beneficial accountant / business owner relationship. Communication within small business is often largely verbal and informal, and studies have found accountants who are adept at communicating in this day-to-day style are more likely to be favoured by small business owners-managers. You can help clients see the value you provide by keeping things simple and avoiding jargon. Utilising a client’s preferred channels for communication (such as phone, mobile app, social media, etc.) is also an important component to building strong relationships.
Business strategy advice
What business owners want from their accountant has changed over time and has undeniably led to accountants wearing many hats. Business owners no longer want their accountant to just crunch numbers. They’re seeking someone who can see the whole picture and provide business advice, such as virtual CFO services, goal setting and technology systems. 1 in 5 SMEs expressed they would like their accountants to help with business strategy in addition to the services they already provide.
A proactive service provider
Business owners are busy people; they often compromise family life and work long hours. More often than not, they don’t have time to investigate the areas of their business that could function better. Clients don’t just want business advice when they ask for it, they want their service providers to understand their situation and pre-empt potential risks. In fact, failing to adapt to a client’s changing business needs is perceived as one of the most common reasons SMEs change their professional services firm.
How to help them
Become a strategic technology consultant
The industry shift away from traditional accountancy services towards business consultancy has been a hot topic touted by many leaders in the industry (such as Xero, MYOB and Sage). From simplifying payroll to improving productivity, business owners are turning to cloud-based technology to save time and improve their bottom line. In the face of technological change, there’s a big opportunity for accountants to seamlessly provide advice on the best business tech stack. From CRM platforms to automated invoice systems, it’s likely the technology used within your firm can help simplify your clients’ businesses too. Advising clients on how to review and implement the right tech for their small business, particularly if you’re already using these tools yourself, is an easy way to add value as a strategic consultant and drive new efficiencies for your clients.
Help them see the bigger personal wealth picture
Most business owners go into business to build personal wealth and ultimately, live a good life. However, because for many so much of their wealth is tied to their business, they don’t often think about how to grow their personal wealth outside of that (or the risk involved in not diversifying their income). Taking into account their wider financial picture and broader life goals is an easy way to help them understand the financial intersections between business and personal, and position yourself at the heart of their financial world.
For example, in a recent blog post for business owners, The Blue Rock highlighted that business owners often think they don’t need superannuation because in effect, their business is their super. However, superannuation can be a great way to build wealth by implementing a tax effective strategy to extract profit out of the business and into super – something which ultimately could end up benefiting the business.
Getting a comprehensive view of a client’s financial position – from assets and liabilities to goals, insurance status, and estate plans – doesn’t need to be hard. Talk to us today about how the myprosperity wealth portal can help you get the information you need quickly and efficiently, then leverage powerful data across your entire customer base to uncover revenue opportunities.