I sometimes have to find ways to keep myself entertained within our BNI networking group for various reasons, the main one being monotony. As of late, I have been enjoying the meetings and feel more into them than I have been in past. The excerise I've been doing the past several meetings is listening to
other people’s 60 second elevator pitch and substituting bookkeeping in place of their industry. Right away, a few obvious industries jumped out, such as IT, printing, and title agencies. However, most recently, our CrossFit expert gave his pitch and it spoke volumes to me. I’ll get to that in a second, but let me explain the other ones first.
Cutting Corners Vs. Bootstrapping
John Stewart with Inquo often speaks of the nightmares he sees as an IT expert. His pitch that made me laugh is when he runs into systems that were setup by family member years ago and now upgrades are needed or something needs to change and there is no one to turn to since their 18 year old nephew went away to college. Sure, it’s great to have someone that understands computers help set things up on the cheap, but where are they going to be when the next wave of software gets rolled out and your old system isn’t built to expand into it. Are you cutting corners or keeping things on the cheap because you know you are going to outsource your IT work when you hit certain goals?
Our printer in the group, Josh Connor with Elevate Printing, points out how funny it is to see people print their business cards on their at home printer and then hand cut them. Are you really saving money by doing this or just making yourself look bad when someone goes to put your card in their wallet and it crumbles up like a tissue. Why not outsource this since you know you will never buy a high end printer to print professional looking cards. To me, this is just a small business owner cutting corners, literally.
Title agencies are great because they are independent third parties that are needed to close on a house. Like bookkeeping, we don’t have a vested interest in the business so we can offer those checks and balances in case something is going wrong and everyone is too good of friends to bring it up. Much like our title agency expert, Tracy Medina, in our group says, "our main reason for being there is for your best interest."
It’s Not Me, It’s You
I crack myself up when I think of The Office episode when Michael Scott is breaking up with his girlfriend on her voicemail and unwittingly ends it with ‘it’s not me, it’s you.’ This is something that I have in the back of my mind when we get calls on Christmas or New Year’s
Day about bookkeeping disasters. Why did you wait until the end of the year to deal with this? The fact that they are calling on a holiday tells me that this business owner is over worked and doesn’t understand things need to be outsourced in order to grow and free up their time. To us at Salt Lake City Bookkeeping, year-end bookkeeping does not exist.
This is where the pitch from the CrossFit guy hit home. He often speaks about people’s drive to make New Year’s resolutions about working out and staying in shape and how quickly this drive disappears after a few weeks or months. The same goes for bookkeeping. Bookkeeping isn’t rocket science and it’s somewhat natural for a business owner to think they can handle it. I recommend each business owner work on their books so they can understand the financial reporting side of things. However, it needs to be done on a very regular basis no matter what; otherwise it will get blown off until the last minute when it’s almost too late. This is when the owner needs to shift from working in their business to working on their business. To keep your books in shape, they need to be worked on all the time and not ignored, much like working your body out. You can’t just jog once for a few miles and hope to run a 100 mile race the following month.
Putting together a systematic, efficient process for getting your books closed will lead to tremendous results. Who knows, you may even have some extra time to hit up a CrossFit class and get whipped into shape.