Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with David Dennison, President of Dennison CPA, PC, located in St Cloud, MN, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Our CPA firm serves churches and ministries throughout the US by providing audit, accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll services. We currently serve about 150 ministry clients a year. We offer audit, review, and compilation services in addition to bookkeeping and payroll services.

Tell us about yourself

Our primary motivating factor is service to God. Our staff are committed Christians and have served at our local church as treasurer, business administrator, staff bookkeeper, finance committee member, etc. I was a pastor's kid, so I grew up in the church and believe that God has called me to serve His church by helping them be good stewards of the resources entrusted to them.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Creating a successful business in a niche market and the marketing initiatives associated with that niche. We have been growing by 25% per year year-over-year since 2014. In fact, I hired my first part-time staff in 2015 and now have 10 staff, including three CPAs. We have been profitable since day one, which has helped create plenty of financial flexibility within the firm.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Recently it has been creating appropriate systems in order to scale the business. Identifying the systems and the right people has proven to be a challenge but an exciting challenge. Also, business owners work harder and longer than any other staff, which is fine with me since I enjoy working.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Determining your product differentiator is key. We differentiate ourselves in the two business segments that we operate within. Audit - we are all committed believers in Christ and understand the church. Bookkeeping - we are not just bookkeepers; we are CPAs and church auditors.
  2. Obtain letters of recommendation from EVERY completed project/client. I would always post them on my website and have transitioned to obtaining Google business reviews, which get feed into my website. Lots of referrals provide confidence to potential clients.
  3. Learn how to do everything before outsourcing. For instance, I created and maintained my last three websites, including SEO. Only this year did I outsource to a web design firm. Eventually, you will reach the point where it is more cost-effective to have your labor be focused on what you do best, which is generating revenues.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Love what you do. Running a business is hard work and not for the lazy. You will work harder than anyone else in the start-up phase before you transition to working on your business rather than in your business.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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