00:00

Episode 21: Building business confidence

00:00

All Xero Gravity episodes

Hosted by Elizabeth Ü and Gene Marks

Feel confident in yourself and your business? Enough to make changes like bringing on a new hire, or tightening the budget? Then you’ll want to listen in. It’s Xero Gravity #21, where Gene and Elizabeth expertly debunk the ambiguity around what it really means to have confidence in your business and the economy. Each shares their own experiences in building business success, and together they offer insights that can help you feel confident to reach your entrepreneurial goals.

Now meet Liz Mason, a self-professed number nerd and COO at High Rock Accounting, and Greg Kyte, MBA, CPA and COMIC, who founded Comedy CPE. These wildly different CPA-turned-entrepreneurs will also share their individual experiences with building successful businesses, and discuss how confidence underlies some of their most strategic decisions. Now tune in if you want to pump up that professional poise!

Episode transcript

Hosts: Gene Marks [GM] & Elizabeth Ü [EÜ]

Guests: Liz Mason [LM] and Greg Kyte [GK]

--------------------------------------------------

XG Opening

You’ve just tuned into Xero Gravity: a podcast for small business leaders and entrepreneurs across America. Now to your hosts, Gene Marks and Elizabeth Ü.

--------------------------------------------------

GM Hello everyone, welcome to the Xero Gravity podcast. I am Gene Marks and I’m joined by my co-host, Elizabeth Ü, who refuses to give her entire last name. We’re just supposed to call her Elizabeth Ü.  Why is that Elizabeth, what is your full last name?

EÜ Well my last name is in fact Ü. But a German person got a hold of the Chinese, so it’s actually Ü with an umlaut. But we just pronounce it Ü because I speak neither Cantonese nor German very fluently, so…

GM That’s hilarious. So from now on everybody refers to Elizabeth as Elizabeth Ü, and Elizabeth is an education specialist at Xero, and she’s the author of Raising Dough: the Complete Guide to Financing a Socially Responsible Food Business. What is that all about Elizabeth?

EÜ Well, I’m a bit obsessed about helping food businesses access capital.  So this is the capital that they might need to launch the business in the first place, or to grow that business, or even just to survive into the future. I got so frustrated that there was no one-stop shop that people could go to find out information about all the different financing opportunities, that I finally wrote the book myself.

GM That is awesome, that really is. Listen, we share, a few similar things. I had a bestselling book called, Raising Dough: How to Build a Good Cookie Business, which didn’t sell very well.

EÜ [Laughs]

GM I’m just kidding actually; I didn’t do that at all. I’m a business owner and experience the challenge that is payroll, and chasing down clients collecting money and getting yelled at, and all the kind of things that you’re used to as a business owner. But I love it. I’ve been doing it for more than 20 years. I run a technology consulting firm called the Marks Group PC. We’re based outside of Philadelphia and have about 600 active clients that we serve.

EÜ And on top of this, I understand you’re a writer as well?

GM Yeah, that’s right. About 10 years ago I started doing some writing, and right now I write every day for the Washington Post. The column is called, Main Street Morning, which rounds up all the news and commentaries every day, that help you run your small business. I also write once a week for Forbes and once a week for Entrepreneur, and once a week for Inc., and once a week for Huffington Post.

EÜ It’s a lot of Gene’s commentary in the small business space, and my passion for  educating small business owners, that will drive the conversations on Xero Gravity. As our listeners, you’ll be the first to access information, tools and resources that will help grow your small business and give it a competitive edge!

GM Exactly. And today we’re going to discuss confidence and what that means for you. So Elizabeth, are you confident about the economy and business? Are you ready to have this conversation?

EÜ Yeah, I think that small business confidence is an interesting topic that I’m just learning more about myself, and what this essentially means to me. I think, again, very few small business owners are sitting around talking about how confident are we. It’s more like how confident are we in hiring new staff right now.  Or, how confident are we in making that capital investment to build that new kitchen that we need, or how confident are we that we’re going to make payroll this month. These are some of the things that might be foremost on small business owner’s minds.

GM: Joining us today to talk about small business confidence is Greg Kyte, founder of Comedy CPE and Liz Mason, who is shareholder and COO of High Rock Accounting.  She’s also CEO of Adventurous Turtle. We’ll be talking to them about small business confidence and what areas of their businesses inhibit confidence. We’ll also shed some light on a few tips and tricks that can help you inject confidence into your own business!

--------------------------------------------------

Xero Gravity Promo


GM   We’re part of the Xero Podcast Network and we’d love you to subscribe to the show in iTunes.

EÜ  And leave us a review: the link is in today’s show notes on xero.com/podcasts.

--------------------------------------------------

EÜ Joining us on the phone are Liz and Greg. Thanks for coming on the show!

GM Greg, let me just kind of start off with you. Tell us a little bit about yourself, what do you do, where are you based?

GK Well, I am a controller, I’m a CPA, and I’m a controller for a group of medical office buildings out here in Provo, Utah, really the center of the universe. I just found that my home state did have the highest CPA pass rates of all 50 states in the Union. So that’s just showing you kind of the CPA environment that I live in from day to day.  I also do stand-up comedy at night. I’ve kind of blended the two; accounting and stand-up comedy with Comedy CPE. I’m the founder of Comedy CPE, providing very entertaining, yet very well-grounded CPE for CPAs.

GM That is very awesome! So wait, so you actually do comedy for certified public accountants as well?

GK I do, yes.  Yeah.  Believe it or not, that’s what it is. Sometimes the driest fields produce the bountiest crops!

GM [Laughs]

EÜ [Laughs]

GK The bountiest — the most  bountiful!

EÜ [Laughs]

GK I do numbers good. Not so much words.

EÜ Yeah, grammar, maybe not!  [laughs]

GM Greg, I’m a CPA as well, so we can really bore the audience with this conversation.  But my thing is I am a CPA but I’m not a very good one. I stopped practicing a while ago. For me if it was close enough it’s good enough, which is not a good way you want to be if you’re a CPA.

GK Right.

GM But I do respect your background and where you’re coming from. Liz, how about you, where are you based; and tell us a little bit about what you do.

LM So I’m based in Tempe, Arizona, and I run a firm called High Rock, and we do technology and accounting, and we also do some tax work.  So I am a CPA as well, but don’t hold that against me, because I’m also an adventurer and I love traveling. So I started a little side project called Adventurous Turtle, which is really fun and gets me into the day-to-day gruff when it comes to tech startups and what happens in there.

EÜ So Liz, I was so excited to learn about your side business. What was the latest adventure that you were able to take yourself on?

LM So the latest really cool adventure; I went to Australia and we drove down the Great Ocean Road and across to Adelaide and had some really fun small town Australian adventures, which was absolutely phenomenal.

EÜ So imagine that some of your travelling adventures remind you a little bit of the entrepreneurial adventure. What are some of the things that have been most on your mind lately, as far as running your own small businesses?

LM Still, something that I’ve learned while just, you know, going everywhere I possibly can as quickly as possible, is that there are different cultures everywhere, and that’s true in companies as well. So when you’re looking at entrepreneurship and you’re looking at how these companies come to be and their different structures.

Like, take Greg for example. I mean he’s hilarious, so he’s built a company around being funny, and being good at being funny, and so it’s an awesome culture over there, and so you can look at the different cultures in the world and you can translate that back to business — how you can be successful with your culture and what you value.

GM So Greg, as a comedian, are you making money at this?

GK Yeah, it’s a side business right now. So I’ve got to hold on pretty tenaciously to my day job here at my group of medical office buildings, just because it’s a great safety net for me. I mean, I think the topic for today is small business confidence. And I’ll tell you, I have a lot of confidence in my small business because of the safety net of the day job that I’m not going to let go of until I pretty much, it’d be dumb to not stay here.  But yeah, I am definitely making a significant amount of money. My income from doing the Comedy CPE stuff includes an umbrella of a lot of things that I do: from blogging for various accounting-based websites, to doing a podcast of my own, to going out and actually teaching, not just in conferences but also doing my own Comedy CPE events. So all that kind of stuff is what’s lined up for me, just by being able to combine both the comedy and the accounting stuff.

 

GM That’s very cool. You’re talking about small business confidence. Liz, you’re running your own small business, you’re actually an employee somewhere and running your own little individual business.  If you had your druthers, would you rather be a full-time comic or would you rather be, you know, a controller at a company?

 

GK It depends on the day that you ask me. It best depends on the last gig that I had, because there’s maybe, you don’t want too much insight into the emotional life of a moonlighting stand-up comic. But you can get destroyed if you have a horrible set, and horrible sets never leave you. But yeah, I mean ideally I’d love to do full-time stand-up comedy. I love it, I get all my juice from being in front of people and making people have a good time.

 

So, yeah, I would love that. However, you know, it’s undeniable that signing up, you know, jumping off the cliff and signing up for your entire livelihood to come from your own business.  That’s a gigantic risk and sometimes you’re going to just be crushing it. And sometimes there’s going to be some lean days, months, years where you’re really going to second guess that.  So there is a lot of stability — well let me change that — there’s a lot of perceived stability in a day job. So yeah I’d really love the combination of the both. If nothing else, you could see it as almost a diversification model for my entire career.

EÜ And, so Liz, is it the same for you?  Are you excited about having both a day job and a side adventure so that you can…

LM So…

EÜ ...fully express the different parts of yourself in your different businesses?

LM I would say definitely, but both of my companies are, I mean they’re both start-ups.  I own and operate High Rock, I’m founder and we’re working our butts off to grow an awesome firm here. I mean it does take the majority of my time and definitely does express one side of my personality, where the adventure side expresses another.  So I appreciate that outlet. But I can’t stress enough what Greg said about the risk. I mean you have to be able to take that risk and be able to jump off of a cliff. And so, you know, if you’re sitting there and you’re standing at the top of the bridge and you’re looking down going, “Hey, can I actually do this?”  If you don’t, I mean, if you’re like Greg and you can possibly build a way to continue your day job while building a company, more power to you.  But, I couldn’t do that. So I literally jumped off the bridge with nothing and figured it out after I was falling. I built a parachute on the way down.

GK Right. Well, and Liz that’s one of the things too, that when you do jump off the cliff, if you want to talk about second guessing, there’s part of me that goes, gosh, if I had the guts, I’d just walk into my boss’ office and say, “Hey I’m done. Here’s my two weeks.” And I’m going to start doing this, doing the other stuff full time. That would really force me into a place where I’d have to scale up and I’d have to do all these things that I can sort of poke at. But the stuff I know I need to do, that I procrastinate on, I could no longer procrastinate on those. So there’s sort of my, you know, straddling the fence approach that I have. It’s great for me and it’s working well right now. But there’s ways where your model is a better model for people who really want to crush it with their business.  I could be doing better with the comedy stuff if I wasn’t straddling the fence, and I’m well aware of that.

LM Alright, well, I’m going to come over there and push you off because…

GK Are you?

LM …I agree.  I think you could totally kill it.

GK Right on! This just got physical; I believe I was threatened. [Laughs]

LM Watch out!

GK Liz lives close enough to me where I think she could be here, with just a six-and-a-half-hour drive.

GM Which is nothing these days. Hey so Liz, how big a firm are you guys?

LM I have two partners. They’re both co-founders and we actually launched simultaneously, and there’s two states: Nevada and Arizona. We have an office in Reno and an office in Tempe.  We have four staff people that are accountants, all CPA candidates, and they’re phenomenal. And we’ve been really focused on building our team because we don’t believe there’s any greater asset than an amazing team.  So we’re working on that and we have, you know, I think about 30 clients now, of varying sizes. We have some micro companies, a few up to close to $100 million in revenue, so we’re really building this firm from the ground up with a focus on technology.

GM You have 30 clients. So, what we want to talk about is confidence and what’s going in the country. It’s very, very tough to talk about small business confidence and people. You must get this as well. They ask you, you know, “How are things going in your firm? How are things going for your small business?”  And there’s like 22 million small businesses in this country. It’s kind of tough to generalize for everybody…

LM Right.

GM …you know. But I mean, there are different regions doing better than others and different industries that do better than others. There’s, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which puts out monthly data on small business confidence.  It’s a metric. And that metric has been sort of underwhelming. It’s been going back and forth over the past couple of years, still below what it was before the last recession, although it’s been rising. So confidence has been improving among small businesses.

I mean I’ll direct this to you, Liz: What do you see among your client base when you ask how they’re feeling good about the economy? Do you feel that they’re willing to take risks and hire people, and make some investments, or not so much?

LM I always say that entrepreneurs are bad asses, and I say that because you get these people who are willing to take that risk. They’re willing to jump off, and they’re willing to start something, and so it creates this really cool environment. But there are huge confidence issues, and I think that it’s hindering growth in a lot of different areas. I can say for us, internally, you’re learning as you’re growing, and when you start a company, you really know nothing. You might know your technical trade very well, but you don’t really know how to run the full company or how to deal with these other pieces of a business that you’ve never really seen.

Being able to build that confidence takes time, and some people build it faster and some people take longer, but what I do is read everything I can. I talk to everyone I can. I ask a million questions.  Most people get really annoyed because I’m constantly asking them questions. I seek out mentoring in any way that I can, and I feel like it’s true for a lot of my clients as well. A lot of the people down here, you know, they might get some seed funding and they’re building this product and really nervous about if it’s actually going to work; if people are actually going to like it, right?  If anyone’s going to buy their product or use their software, right? And it’s so hard to get over that hump, but I feel like as an entrepreneur you have to self-talk, right? You have to say, ‘I’m going to do this and it’s going to happen,” and then you make it happen, and your gut can be in knots and have butterflies everywhere and physically shaking when you walk into meetings. But you still make it happen.

EÜ Well, I love how you mention these. I just highlighted four tips out of what you just said, in terms of helping bolster your confidence.  So read everything. You said that you ask a lot of questions, you seek out mentors, and then you really are fostering a lot of positive self talk. I wonder if there’s other ways that you’re mitigating the risk that have to do with careful planning, or careful research. I’m sure you built some sort of a business plan. So what are some other tips for small businesses that can help them mitigate some of these risks?

LM Oh, for sure. I have a CPA background right, so I come in as a planner, as a strategic thinker. I have a million different business plans and I have ideas out the wazoo, and you can ask me any day what the next 10 things I’m doing are, and I can work them out for you. And you know, making those lists and really thinking through it — thinking through it not only monetarily but from a strategic standpoint. So what does your company look like on the inside? What does it look like on the outside? What does that mean for dollars? How do you make that into profit? Looking at it from a financial standpoint, the actual metrics: How you’re doing it? What are your key performance indexes? How are you aligning to other people in your industry, outside of your industry? If you’re new, you’re creating a brand new idea and disrupting an industry.  What does that look like?

And so it takes a lot of planning and honestly, I probably spend about two hours a day just on strategic thinking and planning and battling with my partners as to what the best route is, and how we make it happen.

GK Well you spend two hours every day just on strategic planning, strategic thinking?

LM Yeah, I do.

GK That’s awesome! Gene, does she get an award for that?  Is there some kind of…

GM I spend two hours a day on funnyordie.com. So…

EÜ [Laughter]

GK Right.

EÜ Well, and I suspect, Liz, that this is part of your willingness to take risks. But you are also very carefully preparing yourself to meet those challenges?

LM Oh, definitely. If I’m going to have to build a parachute before I fall flat on my face, I want to know how, right?

GM Yeah but…

LM So I’m reading about it.  Mid air, I’m reading it.

GM So Greg, on your side now. Your business where you’re a controller — has your business been doing well? What exactly has been the challenge you guys have had over the past couple of years, and where do you see things going? And do the owners of your company feel optimistic or confident about where things are going over the next few months?

GK A lot of my job is to continue to make my owners feel optimistic.  We’re like I said, it’s a group of medical office buildings. We had a real strange — if you look at our last seven or eight years — chunk of time because during the recession your medicines very, it’s a very resilient segment of the economy. So it doesn’t matter what the economy’s doing, people are still getting sick. So when everything else was in the toilet, we continue to chug along just fine. The thing that’s been really challenging for us has been governmental regulation. Obamacare has really put our whole industry on its head. Specifically, since I’m looking at some of the real estate side of things, there’s a lot of people who don’t have a lot of confidence.

So my business confidence is based on the confidence of other people in the industry.  If doctors in doctors’ offices are confident that things are going to go boom, then they’re going to buy up space in my building. We’re going to lease out our building. We won’t have any kind of vacancies where we’re at. So it’s almost like our confidence is a second tier confidence that ultimately, right now, is being pushed around a bunch by the regulatory landscape.

So there’s that. And the interesting thing, when it comes to confidence: Is confidence a good thing or is it a bad thing? I think the biggest thing is if you don’t have a lot of confidence and things are getting bad, that’s where you should have been because that’s going to motivate people to do what you’re doing anyways, Liz. Of just figuring out how you’re going to dig your way out of a hole. But if you’ve got tons of confidence and the carpet’s being pulled out from underneath you, that’s probably a horrible place to be. So you know, confidence in itself, I guess we’ve been talking about it as if confidence was what everyone should have, and I’m not sure if I totally buy that.

LM I think it depends on the industry. What you’re doing, and honestly, every small business owner that I talk to can tell me why they’re doing what they’re doing, what they love about what they’re doing, and how they plan to make a difference, right?  And in that you can kind of pull out what’s important to them, right?  And so you can see what their business focus is on. So I was talking to a client just a few minutes ago, actually, who runs a service company, right? And they do really cool technology servicing and all sorts of cloud-based implementations for IT, right?  And so we were talking about what he loves and what he said was he loves it, you know, when his clients are super happy and he is, obviously, making a profit on them, right?

And so one thing that we decided was, instead of doing just a financial metric on them, what we’re going to do is send out a survey to the clients each month to find out how they’re doing. And so he’s going to compare back what his rating from his client is back to his profit margin, to see if it’s a worthwhile client to continue. And then he plans — once every six months — to go through the client list and say, “Oh hey, you know, are these good or are these bad clients.” That’s one of his KPIs, you know, beyond just financial metrics.

GM That is really wild. It’s funny how everybody has their different metrics that they use, that are important for running your business. I’m kind of curious about hiring as well. Greg, let me start with you. If you guys are looking to hire employees — say we’re in a confident stage and you want to think about bringing other people in — what kind of metrics do you use? In other words what calculations do you do to make sure that the hiring decision is going to be the right financial decision? Do you have any advice on that?

GK You know it’s interesting, for me and for my company, for the entire time that I’ve been here, we’ve gone through drastic changes. I was one of the last hires that we actually had, and that was seven, eight years ago. We’ve been top-heavy, and the person managing these buildings prior to when I came on board, he was just on a hiring spree. We’ve actually been working ever since I’ve been here at just trying to pare things down to what we really need to — downsizing, right sizing our business.  So I don’t have a good response for that because we’ve been doing exactly the opposite, where we’ve had to let some people go. We’ve been waiting for some people to move on. Things like that.  So we’ve been in exactly the opposite of what you’ve been asking about.

GM Well, I’m going to follow on with our question with you in a minute because I’m interested as we go forward into next year. We always say to our clients as we move into 2016 here, you know there’s less uncertainty in a presidential election year because Washington is pretty well gridlocked.  

GK Yeah.

GM And doing things like what you’re doing now, paring down and watching your overhead and all that are super important things to do, to make sure that you’ve got your house in order. I’ve got to ask you Liz, because along the same lines, you’ve been adding people into your firm, or when you advise clients, before somebody hires a new person in this somewhat confident economy that some feel that we’re in: what do you recommend? What metrics do you recommend that your clients consider before they make that decision?

LM I love hiring people. It’s one of my absolute favorite things to do.  And part of it is because I really like to connect with people, and I like to learn why they’re good at what they do, and why they love what they do, right?  And so, what we do internally is we identified what are we looking for? Do we want people that are really good at traditional accounting?  No. Our firm is very different from that.  And so I advise my clients, and I do the same thing, to identify what is important to us. What do I actually care about?  Do I care that somebody comes in and knows all the tax code?  No, not at all. If they did I’d be really scared.

So I identify those things, and one of my favorite questions to ask is: “Are you lazy?”  If you ask that in an interview people freak out. They sit there and they get all pale and kind of pasty, and they say ah, how do I answer this?  Because they can’t say yes.

GM Oh man, I guess I’m out!

LM Right, well they can’t say yes, and so they’re thinking how do I answer this question? What I’m looking for in that question is I’m looking for innovative minds, right?  So I’m looking for people that are going to tell me, “Yes, they’re lazy but they are lazy because they make things more efficient.” So that they have less to do, right?  And I’m looking for people who can find a way to say that and not sound like a total idiot in an interview. That’s one of the key things that I look for when trying to hire people.

EÜ Right, so Liz, in addition to the people that you’re looking to hire, I imagine you have a lot of clients coming to you for similar types of support. Is it a good time for me to hire someone? What should I do in this down economy? I’m a little concerned that we might not make payroll next month. So when people come to you with questions like that, how do you set them up for success?  How do you talk them up using positive talk that you mentioned earlier? How is it you get them on the right track?

LM So first I start from a financial perspective, because that’s really what they hire me to do, is to advise them on finances, right? So we look at it and we say, okay, can we look at your projections, where are you going to be next month, and two months, how long does it take to hire and train the right person for that position, and when do you need them so that you’re not overwhelmed and unable to complete your job because you have too much work, right?  So I try to look at it and back into the right time to hire somebody, and get that really good human capital in the door, right?  So we’ll back into a date, and if people are freaking out about payroll we try to find a way to bridge the working capital.  Whether it be a short term loan, whether it be going to a site like Kabbage and doing something a little bit more creative, or just a traditional line of credit, or even if they can hold off on taking their salary for two months when they’re training somebody, and then retake it.  

It’s different creatively. It’s to make the finances work so that they can get that person in. But the best thing that I can tell people is to hire early and build your team early because there’s nothing worse than being in panic mode, and not having the team capable — especially if you have a potentially great client come on.  

GM: We’re going to wrap up in just a few minutes, and guys this is a great conversation. So  I’ll ask you Greg: Are you confident about the economy going forward over the next 12 months?  How do you feel?

GK We’re still in a place where people are beginning to understand the new regulations in the healthcare profession, but we’re not seeing what the long term implications of those are going to be. So I’m absolutely not in that place where I’m having to figure out, okay, what do we need to do? I’m trying to innovate myself out of our stagnant sector of the economy that I find myself in.  So yeah, there’s no optimism here. There’s a little bit of finger crossing, because you never know what unexpected consequences are going to come out of this.  But you can’t base a business model on finger crossing.  So we’re looking at other ways to effectively market and to, even  alternate uses, for the empty space we have in our building. 

EÜ Liz, if you have clients like Greg who aren’t feeling so confident about where they’re going moving forward, what would you tell them to keep them on the right track and feeling good about where they’re going, even if they need to make some conservative decisions?

LM You grow the most when you’re freaking out inside.

GK [Laughs]

LM I have to say.

GK So you just built my confidence based on my lack of confidence.

LM Exactly!

GK Nice.

GM Well, that’s great stuff guys. We appreciate it very much. This has been a great conversation.  We appreciate the time you’ve taken with both Elizabeth and myself and we want to wish you the very best. We have been talking with Greg Kyte. Greg is the founder Comedy CPE. He can be found on LinkedIn. And Liz, Liz Mason, is a shareholder and the COO of High Rock Accounting. She is based in Tempe, Arizona.  You can look her up online and I’m sure you’ll find her there. So thanks guys, we appreciate the time that you spent.

--------------------------------------------------

Xero Gravity Promo

GM If you have any questions you’d like answered on the show…

EÜ tweet us at Xero using the hashtag #XeroGravity. Or text us your questions to
(415) 813-9878. We’ll answer them on next week’s show!

--------------------------------------------------

GM Hey Elizabeth, that was a great conversation with both Liz and Greg, don’t you think?

EÜ Yeah, and it’s fascinating to see how in the same times we have people feeling very differently about how business is going.

GM Yeah, you’ve got one business owner that’s in Utah, and somebody else that’s in the heat of Arizona, and they have two very different experiences. Greg just doesn’t seem as optimistic about the world and yet Liz is much more confident about the way things are going.

EÜ Right. And despite the fact that Greg admits that he is working in a very defensive industry, in uncertain economic times, people are still getting sick.

GM So, we had mentioned during the conversation about the Small Business Confidence Index, and for all our listeners that are kind of tracking this thing, the National Federation of Independent Businesses comes out once a month with their Small Business Confidence Index. What it measures is how confident and optimistic business owners are around the country. This is really important to small business owners because if you feel a little edgy or uncertain and you wonder if others are feeling the same way, this index validates how you’re feeling.  So it’s on the NFIB’s website, it’s the National Federation of Independent Businesses and it will give you a gauge.

Oh and by the way, it’s been wavering all this year, it’s still below where it was before the recession, but it has been increasing over the years which is good news. So you’ll see if those results kind of match yours.

EÜ So for those of you who might be in the same boat as Greg, and maybe not feeling so confident about where business is going, we do have research here at Xero that shows that our small business subscribers who are working with professional accountants and bookkeepers are faring far better than those who are not.  If you’re in the market for a certified Xero adviser, someone who can provide tax advice for you, help you out with your regular financial tasks or maybe someone even who can be giving you some advice as to some other business software and systems support, do take a look at our public directory. You’ll find it at xero.com/advisors

GM Hey Elizabeth, I was just thinking back to our conversation with Liz and Greg and I wonder if their differences of opinion is a guy/girl thing. Because both you and Liz are all optimistic and you know, Greg was like, “ah, not so great”. And you know, my business hasn’t been bad. We’ve been growing a little bit. We haven’t added any employees in the past four years. So, again, when people talk about small business confidence and small business optimism you have to take it with a little grain of salt, don’t you think?

EÜ Yeah, it’s true. One size does not fit all and there’s no such thing as the average business – you could be anywhere along that spectrum. Regardless of what you’re feeling, I’m sure that it’s justified. Especially if you’ve got those metrics to prove your point, you’ll better positioned to mitigate whatever risks are coming your way.

So for those of you who aren’t feeling so confident, another really helpful thing is to make sure that you’re being transparent and communicating clearly with all of your community — whether that’s your suppliers or your customers, make sure they all understand what’s happening.  I feel that it’s a great way to make sure that everyone’s pitching in to help keep the business growing.

GM It’s funny you should say that Elizabeth, because just recently I was with a great uncle of mine, the guy’s in his 80s, he’s seen it all and he’s been a pretty successful investor, and he was a financial guy as well. We were talking about the same issue of not being 100% confident about the economy and the uncertainty of taking risks right now, like hiring people or buying equipment.  And he said to me: “Gene, one thing I’ve always done my whole life is that if I’m not ready to spend, I don’t spend because sometimes not spending is better than spending when you’re really not sure.”

EÜ Yeah, absolutely.

GM “And when you’re sure, you’ll know it.”

EÜ Absolutely. Batten down the hatches.  Well, that’s it for this episode. Be sure to join us next week on Xero Gravity. I’m Elizabeth Ü.

GM And I’m Gene Marks.

EÜ Thanks for tuning in to Xero Gravity.

Read more>

You may also like