Reflections on 2016 and into the New Year – December 29th 2016
We have been so very blessed this past year. I have been able to see God work in the business that frankly amazes me each and every time I see him work. I apologize in advance for this long post. They are my reflections on the past year and if you have the time to read them, I hope you will see how God is working in our business.
God blessed the business with having us win $5,000 from the Cloud 9 Real Time video we submitted. It’s on YouTube if you would like to see it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4E1Yx8GY6g. Then the announcement of us winning is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hcU2WisuRU. That was so exciting and such a blessing – we were able to purchase a used copier/scanner/printer, plus get a new laptop, and put money in savings. A special thanks to Greg who helped us get the video within the 3-minute time limit!
Very early in the year I feel like God was protecting us because of a concern about an employee. I won’t go into details, but I remember being afraid and very uncertain of what to do in the situation. Luckily, that employee was also realizing that it wasn’t a good fit and decided to leave on their own accord.
We continued to see the business grow during a down economy. In February, we lost a big client (due to the economy), but at the same time, it was a blessing because tax season was in full swing and it freed up a lot of time so that we could actually take on more bookkeeping clients. Over all, we saw a 40% growth for the year over 2015.
Usually, business slows down after tax season, but for the last two years we have actually grown during the summer months. In just one week in July we ended up gaining three new monthly bookkeeping clients! This was a huge accomplishment for us. We continue to get referrals (which we are so thankful for) and after a good year of focusing on our web presence, we are finally #1 (Not the paid ones) when you search on google for bookkeeping services. This was a huge help for tax season, we actually started to see a lot of new clients this year that was from our web presence (being searched on google).
In an effort to be of more value to my clients, we started holding quarterly seminars. The first one was held in the 3rd quarter of 2016, and it was a lunch-n-learn. We had about 18-19 people come over for lunch, and I was able to bring in a speaker to talk about the new labor laws that were going into effect December 1st. In the 4th quarter of 2016, we had a girls night out for dinner-n-discussion to discuss investing. About 8 or 9 ladies showed up and I think they all found it very informational. My goal is to have another lunch-n-learn in February and I am thinking that I will present something on cash flow for businesses.
For just over a year now, I have been praying about hiring a CPA to help take some of the weight off my shoulders in the business. There are just so many hours in a day, and with the business growth, being able to keep my priorities straight (God, Family, then work), has been a big juggling act. The reason I created the business was so that I could have the life style I wanted. To be there for my family, to be able to attend all school events, but also to help small businesses succeed so they can have their life-style dreams also. It was getting harder and harder to keep up with my clients during “school hours”. In Oct/Nov of this year, I finally decided to start looking for a CPA to help out at the business. This way, I can still help my clients, but keep “mom” hours. After searching and searching I believe I finally found a great CPA who is a good fit for the company, one problem. How can I afford him? CPA’s are not cheap, and we are still a young company.
Tom Witanek is the CPA I found that is willing to take a chance on me. Tom will probably retire in 10 years, and his wife just retired. He is tired of working the 60 hours a week that is “normal” for accountants. He wants to be able to have time with his wife, but also needs to be able to provide for his family. Tom has been with the company for 3 weeks now. I can tell you it is very scary. I told Tom that I had faith and I believed God wanted me to hire him. I am not sure how I can afford to pay him, but I know God will provide the extra/new business so that payroll can be funded, and continue to grow the business. Tom’s response was that he trusted me. So God, we need you to be our provider.
I went to an accountant seminar in New York the week of Thanksgiving called KickStart. It was more of a 2 day workshop to get a game plan on how to grow the business. It was life changing. It was during the 2nd day that I was confident that hiring Tom was the right thing to do. I also figured out that I need to hire another team member, a client service coordinator. So, on black Friday I posted an ad looking for a client service coordinator – that will free up a lot of our time spent on admin duties so we can be working on actual bookkeeping and accounting duties.
Nineteen applications came in for the administration position. I spent half a week going through all of the applications. I narrowed down the list to 3 ladies to interview. I had 2 interviews scheduled on a Wednesday, and one for Thursday that week. A lot of praying went into this hiring process also, because again, how am I going to afford to pay for another team member? I also didn’t have the time to spend on having tons of interviews, I already spent 2 whole days reading resumes and having phone interviews. I feel like God weeded out the perfect team member. I came into the office early Wednesday morning, and the Thursday interviewee sent me an email saying she had to cancel her interview. Then my first interviewee for that Wednesday had to cancel at the last minute because she accepted a job closer to home. After that phone call, I was like seriously – God is this your way of weeding out the candidates for me? Sure enough, the afternoon interviewee came in, and I liked her (Georgia) immediately.
Jumping back to a few weeks before – when I was at the KickStart conference, they gave each of us two free tickets to take our team members to the one-day Firm of Now conference. I had already paid for Olivia & I to attend. I signed Tom up for the 1st free ticket. I was hoping Stephanie would be able to come in for the conference, but she wasn’t able to. In hopes that I might have a CSC position filled by then, I signed myself up again for the 2nd free ticket (hoping I could switch it later). After Georgie left the interview that day, I received an email from the conference stating that they noticed I had 2 tickets for myself and asked if I needed to change the name of one of them. I immediately called Georgia and told her I wasn’t hiring her yet, but would like to take her with us to a conference in 2 days in Houston. She said she’d love to go. I was able to switch over my 2nd free ticket to Georgia, and after spending all day with her at the conference I knew she would be a good fit. We finished the hiring process and I offered her a job as our new CSC, and she will start on our first day back into the office in the New Year.
So I am completely relying on God now. I’ve seen it happen before when I hired Stephanie and didn’t think I could afford her. Stephanie was only supposed to work 2 days a week, and that quickly turned into full time. I didn’t think I could afford to hire Olivia, but again that also turned into a full-time position. So not only am I hiring one person, but two people within a month. I can again see God working, within the first week of hiring Tom, all kinds of new inquiries starting coming in on potential new business. It just boosts my faith, and hopefully others will be able to see God working in the business also. Some people may call all of this a big coincidence, or luck. I see it as this is God’s business and he is in control. It scares me to death, I never ever imagined that Gundersons Bookkeeping is what it is today. My idea of having a bookkeeping business was having like four bookkeeping clients that allowed me to have a flexible schedule and provided some extra income. I have no idea what the future holds, but it is exciting to see.
Back to New Things in the New Year…. While I was at the 2-day KickStart workshop, we had to do a lot of deep soul searching and making decisions on what we wanted our business to look like and why we are in business. We spent half a day on “Our Why”. So I thought I would share my why with you. “I get up every day to help small to mid-sized businesses achieve their business goals so they can achieve their life-style goals”. If you think about it, people go into business for a few reasons. Usually it is to have their schedule under their control, and to be able to have financial freedom. Everyone has their own goals, but it usually boils down to having money to make it happen. Your business can provide you the money it takes to achieve your goals. Let’s make it happen. So Gundersons Bookkeeping is going to be branching out to provide more business coaching / business advisory to help business owners achieve their goals. If you are interested in this, we can go to our website https://gundersonsbookkeeping.com/trust/business/ and fill out the Trust Assessment. It will take you about 15-30 minutes to answer all of the questions. Once you are done, we will get notified and I will spend approximately a week to analyze your responses that will act as a framework to address your needs either with us, on your own or with other advisors. When it’s ready, Georgia will call you to schedule a meeting for you to come in and go over your results (valued at $600). We are really excited to be able to offer this new service to our clients.
Oh, one more item I am excited to mention to you is that Gundersons Bookkeeping is getting its very own App. It will be available for the iPhone and Android smart phones. It will be free to our clients. Within the app, you will be able to use the mileage tracker, receipt manager, QBO, Xero, SmartVault, have access to different tax calculators, easy access to contact us, our blog, the IRS website, and the message center. We are super excited about this – it’s currently in the works and hopefully will be ready by the end of January for all of our clients.
Sorry this is such a long blog post. I only get to reflect on the business once a year, and so much has happened this year that I wanted to share. It is good to be able to see where the business has been, where it is now, and where it will go. We are completely blessed to have you on our journey with us. If you are a client, we are so thankful for your continued business and any referrals you send our way. If you aren’t a client, we would love to see if we can help you. Either way, thank you for being with us.