Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Geraldine Carter, a business coach based in Ketchum, ID, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We coach solo CPAs and accountants who are overworked and underpaid. The traditional accounting firm business model is broken. CPAs bill by the hour after the fact, without regard to what the end result was worth to the client. Most CPAs are generalists, serving a broad population of people, claiming to be "experts in a wide array of topics," when in reality, such a thing is not possible. They deliver financial reports their clients do not understand and cannot use to make a business decision. While they do provide a valuable and necessary service, they walk past the easier way to giving more value to a narrower segment of clients, forgoing potential revenue.
Tell us about yourself
I know how much business owners suffer when they can't run their businesses with good financial information. How much do they suffer when they can't get a hold of their accountant and are unable to get clear answers in a reasonable time frame. I was one of those business owners, and it cost me dearly. I also know that CPAs too are suffering. They don't want to be working as long and as hard as they are. They are good people who genuinely care about their clients. But the going traditional model in the accounting industry just doesn't work well: not for the CPAs or clients. Few alternatives are modeled, so I aim to show them better, easier, more profitable options.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Watching my clients go from working insane hours down to working a regular 40-hour workweek while still making the same amount of money, usually more. And then hearing them tell me their clients are grateful for the higher level of service and attention, even though it's more expensive.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
No one is going to rescue you. It's up to you to create it. It's volatile and uncertain. That's what makes it incredible.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure you are solving a problem that people will pay you well for. Good ideas need to be vetted.
- Give yourself a longer cash runway than you think you will need - probably twice as long, if not more.
- Make sure you have a good support network of people who can help you talk things out -- that is not your spouse.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Being a business owner isn't for everyone. But if you like the challenge and the independence, there's nothing more rewarding.
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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