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Don’t call me a bookkeeper

Posted 3 years ago in Advisors by Xero
Posted by Xero

Don Grgic from Business Boost Centre was recently awarded Bookkeeper of the Year (2018) in the annual Xero Awards. Here he tells us more about his business journey.

My business may offer bookkeeping services, but taking care of the books is only one facet of what we can do for small businesses.

When people ask me what I do for a living, I try not to refer to myself as a bookkeeper. Not because there’s anything wrong with the term, but it’s a pretty narrow definition of what we do at Business Boost Centre. Instead, I usually tell people that I’m a small business person who provides many services, including bookkeeping.

It just so happens that one of the best ways to help small business owners is to support the back end of the business. A crucial aspect of business that is chronically overlooked by many – the operations, systems, administration, and technology side of things – is where we can provide the most value to businesses and make the biggest impact. When you look at it from a macro perspective, bookkeeping is really just one piece of the business puzzle.

A small business helping other small businesses

Over the years I’ve operated several businesses in different sectors. From providing computer cabling services to running a furniture store, I’ve got serious runs on the board when it comes to running small businesses. I’ve learned some hard lessons, persevered, found answers to problems, and now I’m sharing my hard-won knowledge with others.  

Decades of real-world business management experience is proving to be invaluable now that I run Business Boost Centre. I know all about the stresses and anxieties business owners feel every day because I’ve been there. I know what’s causing that tension in the back of your shoulder and most of the time it’s not the chair you’re sitting on or the computer screen you’re looking at!

The tension usually comes from all those fundamental issues that every small business goes through, and unless you’ve experienced them yourself, fallen over, gotten back up, tried again, and learned from your mistakes, then you really have no idea.

In that way, we’re not just bookkeepers. We’re a small business that helps other small businesses with a range of services, bookkeeping being one of them.

Learning to embrace the good, the bad and the ugly

I believe that when you sign up to be a small business owner, you sign up for all of it – the good, the bad and the ugly. The good is obviously the part that keeps most business owners in the game, but the bad (and the ugly) come part and parcel with business ownership too.

Unfortunately many small business owners aren’t able to accept and deal with the more challenging aspects of business ownership. Hurdles, bumps and road blocks are going to come up, yet many small business owners aren’t equipped to manage the nitty-gritty that comes with running a business.

So why do so many small business owners struggle? I believe that most people open a retail store or offer a service because they’re good at what they do. They’re a good plumber, personal trainer, builder, bricklayer, chef, hairdresser or event organiser. They might be superb technicians but they don’t know how to run a business.

Because most businesses are started by someone who is good at the technical work, the majority of them end up stagnating and not experiencing growth because the owners really don’t know how to take their business to the next level. My goal is to try and move small business owners from that place, to the next spot, where they’re empowered to let go of the technical work and start taking a greater role in managing and growing the business.

To solve a problem, step back from it

In most cases, small business people are just too close to the problem. They’re not seeing the solution because either they don’t have the answer themselves or they haven’t asked someone outside of the business for help with it.

For instance, one of the biggest challenges that many small business owners have is payroll. It’s a complex quagmire that is messy (and getting messier by the day). These back-end functions eat up resources and create anxiety, so helping business owners take care of the payroll side of things is just one thing my team can do that can makes a tangible difference.

With some of my clients, I’m beginning to see improvements and a real reduction in stress after they’ve implemented the systems and technology we’ve recommended. Seeing small business owners embrace technology is positive because it truly is a powerful disruptor. For small businesses, technology is going to make the difference between success and being left behind – no matter what industry you’re operating in.

My passion for solving problems and making business operations as painless and streamlined as possible has led me to where I am today. From setting up a service-based enterprise from scratch, to running a bricks-and-mortar business in a tough retail climate, I’ve had to learn some of the hardest of lessons, yet I wouldn’t take any of it back – the good, the bad, or even the ugly.

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