As the owner of a creative agency, you are familiar with the path that you walk with your clients. As your client grows, you guide them along and explain each step along the way. Well, I have great news, your familiarity with that path is about to help you understand accounting services. This chart shows how the marketing path mirrors the accounting path. Where is your creative agency along the accounting steps?
Step 1) Begin – Many businesses are able to begin with very basic marketing and accounting processes. The marketing process may be as simple as using a consistent font and color. The accounting process may be as simple as entering transactions onto a spreadsheet. This step may last for a while but will likely need to change when the business grows, complexity increases and volume rises.
Step 2) Buy a tool – Many business owners go through a few do-it-yourself steps along the path. This is necessary when time is more abundant than cash. As cash becomes available, we find that most businesses invest in a tool to help their marketing or accounting processes mature. The marketing may now include a logo that was bought because the business owner liked the way it looked. The accounting may now be fed into accounting software that they heard good things about.
Step 3) Learn to use the tool – Once the tool is owned, the business owner begins to recognize the many layers of complexity involved. This is where business owners learn about CMYK files or a chart of accounts. They are smart and could perform these tasks but they don’t want to invest the time to gain the knowledge. In this step, the owner becomes curious whether the business could be more profitable if they spent less time learning this skill and more time creating revenue by doing the things they are trained to do.
Step 4) Hire an expert for the scary stuff – At this point, the business owner has learned a lot but mostly has developed a long list of questions. They seek help with the questions that scare them the most. They may hire a creative agency to manage a social media campaign or hire an accounting firm to file their tax return. The most crucial element of this step is that the business owner hire an expert that they enjoy working with. Their communication style and trust must be strong and feel easy.
Step 5) Hire a partner for today’s big goals – If the business owner hired a compatible expert for step 4, they tend to experience happy sensations such as relaxed shoulders. They may even begin to laugh louder than previously or sleep more soundly. Naturally, the business owner wants the expert to be around more frequently. In this step, the expert is hired for an ongoing task that helps with today’s goals. The creative agency may be hired to develop a brand or manage the website. The accounting firm may be hired for quarterly or monthly bookkeeping and report consultations.
Step 6) Hire an advisor for tomorrow’s big goals – As the business grows, the trust in the expert continues to grow too. The business owner achieved short-term goals with their partner and feels an ability to intentionally influence results in their business. The creative agency is invited to present a marketing strategy for lead generation and tracking. The accounting firm is invited to present trend analysis and monitor budget scenarios.
Step 7) Hire full time staff to work in-house – Not all business owners climb here, to the top of the staircase. A business can stop on any step once they are satisfied and don’t desire more growth or don’t require continual maintenance. The business that makes it to the top of this staircase will eventually grow enough to need a full time staff working in-house. The volume or complexity of the business now requires a dedicated team of these experts that are immersed in the company culture. The business will now hire a marketing department with designers, copywriters, production managers and more. The business will now hire a finance department with CPA’s, CMA’s analysts, bookkeepers and more. The creative agency or the accounting firm may still be contacted for consulting projects.
What else do you want to know? If you still have questions on this topic, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I may answer your question in my next blog.