4 reasons to connect with a wider small business community
Most accountants and bookkeepers have small business clients. It’s rewarding – you’re trusted with the details of their finances. You’re an expert. But if they don’t belong to a strong small business community, you may find them asking you for advice on issues far outside your expertise. That’s when these clients become challenging and time-consuming.
One option is to introduce them to a strong small business community. This will do far more than free up your time, it has other hidden benefits, for them and for you.
How does belonging to a small business community help your clients?
Running a business can be tough. It’s hard work. Most people aren’t good at everything they need to do – and they can’t afford to outsource a lot. As soon as you’re busy, it’s hard to take time out to look after yourself. And it’s lonely.
Tony Rabah is a Melbourne accountant who saw first-hand how the pressure of business affected his clients’ mental health. He founded The Male Hug to advocate for them and others like them.
But mental health is just one part of the puzzle. Business communities of all kinds – chambers of commerce, associations, networking groups and so on, help in a whole range of ways.
- Regular events offer networking opportunities where business owners can connect with others facing the same challenges they do. This is especially important for people who’ve quit working for others recently. They may find none of their current friends really understand their experience, which makes things harder and lonelier.
- Most communities also offer some kind of expert workshops or learning opportunities. Small business owners need to wear many hats and the chance to learn from experts is fantastic.
- Some communities also run ‘boards’ – small groups of non-competitive business owners. These groups meet regularly, once or twice a month and build high trust. Members are comfortable sharing current challenges and opportunities, which means they can get insights and suggestions from a whole range of viewpoints.
What are the benefits for you?
All this is fantastic for your small business clients – but how does introducing your clients to this kind of small business community help you?
1. It saves you time
So many small business owners come to their accountants first for all kinds of advice and support. But your expertise is in accounting, forecasts, cash flow or tax, not operational or HR decisions.
At Growth Gen boards are an integral part of our offering, and very popular. Over the last few years our facilitators and board members have given small business owners a safe space to open up and talk about their challenges and opportunities in both business and life. They’ve supported business owners with issues as diverse as:
- How to motivate the new generation to work effectively
- Whether to buy a related business and expand
- Developing a sales mindset and increase revenue
- How to tackle limiting beliefs to grow
Even if you have the training and experience to assist with all these issues, it’s still difficult for you to provide as much perspective as all the members of a board. The group approach is empowering given the fact that small business owners realise that they are not alone and also a really time-efficient way to explore options and decide on an action plan.
2. It increases the value you provide
The great thing about referring your clients to a wider network which supports them is that the value rubs off on you. You are thinking beyond their finances and are helping them grow as a small business leader. They will remember you as the person who introduced them to their business community. This doesn’t diminish your value – it increases it.
3. It makes your clients easier to work with
A wonderful side effect of networking with other business owners is that you become a better and more rounded business person yourself.
The broader your clients’ perspective, the easier it is for you to discuss their business with them.
They think more strategically. They develop insights and vision from their discussions with their peers. As part of a wider business community, they see the bigger picture. They understand more about trends across their industry and the whole economy.
4. It helps your clients stay in business
External support makes all the difference when businesses are starting out, or when they’re taking on their first staff and growing. If your clients get help at these critical times, they’re much more likely to remain in business. That’s good for them. And if you referred them to the organisation giving them support, they’ll stay with you as their financial partner. So it’s good for you too!
How many of your clients are small businessowners who’d like to ‘connect, share openly in a safe space, ask for and give advice’? To build ‘real, lasting and productive relationships that will see them grow?
One of the best things you can do to help these clients (and to help yourself) is to introduce them to other businessowners and small business community organisations, including Growth Gen.
What is Growth Gen?
Growth Gen is a small business community with a difference. The focus is not just on business, but on business and life – it’s about integrating and succeeding at both that makes the journey rewarding.
Growth Gen’s big picture is to:
- Work closely with accountants and bookkeepers to reduce the failure and closure rate in Australia (60% in the first 3 years)
- Support those same business owners by understanding where they want to be in their lives and business so that they can flourish
This dual focus on looking after the business owner as well as the business is what sets Growth Gen apart.
Business owners can join and interact in a whole range of ways, depending on their needs. That includes:
- Quarterly online summits. Half a day of insight and interaction from the client’s home, home office or workplace
- Monthly interactive online workshops focusing on specific business or life topic.
- Monthly ‘boards’ where non-competitive business owners support and advise each other. These are the ultimate in terms of a shoulder to lean on. They are a once-a-month anchor, a sounding board to explore challenges and opportunities in business and life. So at least once a month, board attendees work on their businesses instead of in them.
- In-person events twice a year
Of course, Growth Gen is only one of many support and community options you could suggest to your clients. But isn’t it worth finding out more and seeing all the ways you can add value?
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