As seen in Entrepreneur: 6 Lessons to Help Take Your Business to Double-Digit Growth.The Oracles are a group of mastermind entrepreneurs and business leaders sharing their experience and expertise for the greater good.
Excerpt from Dennis Najjar, CPA and Bill Gerber, Co-Founders of AccountingDepartment.com:
1. Match your solution to your customers’ needs.
Instead of “accountants doing accountant work,” the co-founders prioritized the customer: What did they need? What information would help build a better business? How should that information be packaged so they could use it?
Gerber understood the frustrations entrepreneurs felt with their financials, and Najjar could communicate the numbers in a way that made sense.
The lesson: Figure out what your customers need and build your competencies around the solution.
2. Niche down.
Instead of becoming proficient in all accounting software, Najjar and Gerber strategically specialized in just one: QuickBooks. Specialization unlocks the deep functionality of a tool, which gave the co-founders' customers unmatched visibility into their financials. It also allowed them to train their employees to become experts because they weren’t doing broad, basic training in all accounting software.
The lesson: Most businesses try to be everything to everyone. Specialization enables you to create comprehensive solutions over other basic offerings.
3. Prioritize your employees.
“We hire the best, train them well and support them, so they don’t leave,” says Gerber.
“We even part ways with a client if they don’t treat our employees well,” adds Najjar. “It’s harder to replace an excellent team member than a client.”
To build their culture, Najjar and Gerber focused on finding an equal or better way to do everything that a physical office would offer, but virtually. They asked each new employee about their positive experiences in physical offices, finding a virtual equivalent that met the same needs and then encouraging employees to champion their causes.
“We have a team fitness club, fantasy leagues for every sport, a recipe club and paid volunteer time — and we listen to every new suggestion,” says Gerber.
The lesson: Money alone won’t retain the best employees; they need to feel like valued community members.
Read the full article on Entrepreneur here.