Create an Advisory Board for Your Business

group of confident professional employees in a serious meeting from aboveIf you look hard enough, you just might find a local volunteer advisory service that will provide your business with key counsel that can stop quick decline and dramatically improve your profitability. Different from boards of directors, advisory boards provide recommendations which entrepreneurs are not required to take.  Regardless of whether or not you choose to follow such advice, they can, at no cost, help you better direct your business.

In looking for professionals to populate your advisory board, we suggest you start with the following two resources:

The Small Business Association.  Their motto is “programs and services to help you start, grow and succeed.”  The SBA is an independent agency of the federal government designed to promote small business.  With district offices located across the nation, the SBA can help you access training, counseling, and other small business specialists.  Their site also provides other valuable links.

Score.  Calling themselves the Counselors to America’s Small Business, Score is a nonprofit organization that is “dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide.”  They are also a resource partner with the SBA that provides free online and face-to-face mentoring using a counseling force of nearly 12,000 working and retired business owners.

Create Your Own Advisory Board

You can also create what’s called ‘strategic partnerships’ or ‘natural business relationships’ designed to provide benefits you might find with a voluntary advisory board.  These strategic partners are business professionals who share your target market but do not offer competitive services.  They are individuals with whom you can share ideas, advice, and yes, referrals.  But more than that they literally become a work force that buoys your business, enabling you to labor more efficiently and enjoy great profitability.

For your team you might select a lawyer, a public relations specialist, a business coach, and/or a banker.  In order to be successful, these strategic partnerships must be symbiotic, meaning they are beneficial to both parties.  Through these partnerships you can receive the counsel you all need to forge forward, towards greater success.  And with your accounting expertise, you can compensate them for their time with free services.

There are countless places you can meet these potential partners.  Chamber of Commerce meetings are a great place to start, especially if you are a small, local business owner.  There you can build relationships with like-minded professionals who are interested in building these valuable partnerships.  In addition to these formal networking opportunities, consider all the people you currently interact with, including family, friends, associates, neighborhood businesses, and establishments you frequent.  The next time you meet these individuals take the time introduce this idea of strategic partnering; you could well be on your way to more profitable relationships.

Pair Your Advisory Board with Business Assessments

Business owners benefit from seeing how their business compares to others in the same industry. They benefit from recognizing their weaknesses and knowing what they can do to improve. They benefit from seeing how different business approaches could impact future operations. They benefit from being proactive business owners.

BizBench is a multi-purpose financial analysis and consulting tool that diagnoses a business’s fiscal health. It does so by identifying strengths and weaknesses instantly, and generates potential action steps to improve areas of weakness. Using BizBench, financial professionals can help their clients and themselves identify strengths and performance gaps in order to create specific strategies that will increase profitability.  You could even use it to help those on your advisory board improve their businesses!

UAC has always recognized the value of providing businesses with such crucial data.  That’s why we offer BizBench subscriptions with software updates that include a new look and streamlined functionality.  Call Universal now at 877-833-7908 to improve your business by ordering your BizBench subscription and training.

Scott McKinley Enjoys Coaching Students to Success

Scott MScott McKinley has worked at Universal Accounting Center (UAC) for eight years now. As the Marketing Coach he engages with students one-on-one as they develop and implement marketing plans, refine their sales skills and conduct successful business seminars.

Each Universal student receives 6 to 12 months of student-initiated coaching upon enrollment. Scott oversees all those calls related to marketing and helps students use proven Universal strategies to create customized marketing plans that meet their unique needs. Scott explains, “Coaching is really a passion of mine because this is where the rubber meets the road with a lot of people.  To have accountability in a situation where there usually isn’t any, can be a big help for these students of Universal Accounting.”

In addition to the traditional coaching students receive with each training program, Universal also has a Master Coaching program through which individuals receive 12 weeks of more focused mentoring that helps them set and achieve goals, complete special assignments, and role play presentations and networking conversations as they launch their own accounting and/or tax practices. Scott manages these student interactions as well. He says, “This is different from the student-initiated calls that come in on a daily basis. We have had tremendous success with our Master Coaching program, and it is something I am very proud to be involved with.”

Scott also travels throughout the country as the primary presenter at Universal’s Start Today Seminars which introduce attendees to UAC and key marketing strategies they can use to start their own accounting and/or tax practices. His infectious enthusiasm and natural speaking talent make him a favorite presenter at Universal Accounting events.  Scott explains his aims in directing these seminars: “…My purpose isn’t just to provide free information.  My objective is to go out week after week and present myself and my company as the experts in this industry when it comes to teaching small business bookkeeping, taxes and also marketing.  If that is successful, the people in my seminars will most likely continue the relationship with Universal Accounting beyond the free three-hour seminar, and enroll to become full students of our curriculum.”

Scott believes the biggest obstacle preventing prospective students from moving forward is fear.  “Fear of not knowing what will happen.  Fear of failure.  Fear of public speaking.  Fear of not knowing what to say.  …This is why I’ve studied the Law of Attraction and implemented the teaching into the coaching that I offer to students that I work with—to help them realize that their thoughts become words.  And those words become actions.  And those actions are attracting either the success or failure into their lives.”

Recently Scott had a special experience with one of his West Palm Beach seminar attendees, Francisco Jimenez.  Francisco stayed after the seminar and waited for everyone to leave so that he could speak to Scott in private.  He told Scott that he had worked in bookkeeping in his native country, but because of his thick accent he was unable to secure a financial position in the states; he had only been able to secure employment in the restaurant industry cooking and cleaning.  Scott remembers, “He saw this as an opportunity to work on his bookkeeping skills with an American background, while learning how to communicate better in English.  He was moved to tears as I welcomed him as a student.  He hugged me and thanked me for helping him take the first steps towards changing his and his family’s life.”

Scott, while wearing many hats, manages all his responsibilities with competence and passion.  And the favorite part of his job is in working with Universal students. He says, “Each one of our students is unique. Some are new to the accounting industry and require extra coaching… Some have degrees in accounting with years of experience. Some are unemployed. Many have families and are trying to juggle their personal lives and a new career. However the one thing they all have in common is an excitement and passion for accounting. And if they are working with me, that means they have a need for marketing training. That’s where I have the opportunity to share what I’ve learned in my 8 years at Universal Accounting…”

Take Advantage of UAC’s Master Coaching Program

If you think you could benefit from working with a Universal coach like Scott McKinley, consider enrolling in our Master Coaching Program.  A coach would help you evaluate your what’s-not-working list and get your business exactly where you’d like it to be.

Look into our Master Coaching Program today!  We’re certain you’re an amazing financial professional.  And we’re also certain, that will a little coaching, you can become even better.  Call Universal at 1-877-833-7908 to enroll now!

UAC Student Enjoys Lasting Success

heather-weilerWhen we first met Heather Weiler, she had just decided to launch her own bookkeeping service.  She had been working part-time for seven years as a bookkeeper for a graphic design firm and decided it was time to take charge of her career.  She wanted to enjoy greater flexibility, spend more time with family and increase her income while working from her own home.  But because her experience was in managing books for one industry, she decided more training was in order; she turned to Universal Accounting Center (UAC) for help.

Heather hand-picked the Professional Bookkeeper (PB) Program because it’s specifically designed to help students master small-business accounting, which is not taught in the majority of other training and degree-based programs.  She also appreciated the self-study nature of the training which enabled her to complete the program at her own pace.  She explained, “The video training with UAC was great as I could go over a segment a few times if I needed to, and having someone explain how things work seemed to sink in better than reading it in a textbook.   Also, I didn’t have to leave my house two nights a week to go out and do a course—I could do the work when it suited me, which worked really well with my work schedule and my family.”

Not only did the PB Program help Heather master small-business accounting, but it also taught her how to effectively market her practice.  But being a bit more reserved, she struggled in the implementation of the marketing strategies she had learned; as a result, she decided to purchase Master Coaching as well, a program that pairs students with coaches who help them design a step-by-step plan to meet personal goals, identify potential obstacles and hurdle them.

Heather’s coach was Rick Howard, and the two immediately began to talk strategy regarding the successful launch of her practice.  She said, “Rick always called promptly, and it was always pleasant to speak with him.  Our sessions felt more like a conversation with an old friend who really wanted to help my business succeed, rather than being run through a checklist of ‘to-do’s’ by some executive who clearly didn’t want to be stuck dealing with such small scale business.”

Every week, for 12 weeks, Rick helped Heather implement the startup strategies she had learned in the PB program.  She raved about her experience: “The PB training and the coaching program have changed my life.  All the people I have dealt with at UAC are fantastic.  They are knowledgeable, kind and helpful.  They truly want to help people succeed in their own bookkeeping/accounting business… It is a wonderful feeling to take what I know to help someone else and give them peace of mind about their business.  I would recommend UAC to anyone who is thinking about starting their own bookkeeping business.”

Three years later and Heather exclaims, “Starting my own business is the best thing I have ever done.  …I recently acquired a new account that has allowed me to reach my sales goal for this year.  So far this year, I have almost doubled what I did in sales for the same time period in 2013.”

Heather has found great success is following UAC coach Scott McKinley’s guidelines for an effective elevator speech, and this once reserved professional is finding great success networking through a monthly businesswomen meeting.  She explains, “At the ladies networking meeting I have been going to for about 18 months, two ladies got up and spoke about how grateful they are to be working with me, so that was great to hear.”

To achieve the professional success Heather enjoys by launching your own financial practice, call Universal now at 1-877-833-7908 to enroll in our powerful training and coaching programs!

Christine Petersen, UAC’s Senior Enrollment Director, is Passionate about Helping

christine-petersonChristine Petersen is Universal’s Senior Enrollment Director.  As such, she helps individuals select training programs that will enable them to achieve their career goals.  Roger Knecht, UAC’s President and CEO says, “She has been integral in the success of the company and the students we work with.”

Christine has worked at Universal for more than seven years and enjoys her position as Enrollment Director.  In the past she has also traveled to various Start Today Seminars around the country, selling UAC training programs to attendees.  She also presented at the UAC Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, leading a breakout session entitled “Phenomenal Women in Business.”  In addition, Christine enjoys the highest lifetime average of sales and units per “manday,” longest tenure among enrollment directors, is a member of the $1 million dollar club, and sole member of the $2 million dollar club.

But Christine most enjoys the opportunity to get to know people of diverse backgrounds as she helps inspire them to achieve their business goals.  She says, “Each person I talk with I have the opportunity to make a real and deep connection. It is in making these connections that I am best able to motivate and inspire individuals to get started with the program.  This is what keeps me motivated and satisfied at Universal.”

She finds “the biggest challenge for students is making the commitment to act, stepping outside of their comfort zone and moving toward their true goal, albeit uncomfortable, but nonetheless the goal they profess is truly important to them and the career they say they want to have.”  The greatest obstacle holding most individuals back is fear.  Christine explains, “This fear…can be overcome if they know they are in business for themselves, but not by themselves.  It can be overcome if they learn the proven system for building a business.  It can be overcome by offering them a specific solution so they can visualize this being achievable for them.  Universal offers these solutions.”

Christine finds she has the most success enrolling students in the Accountrepreneur Program which includes everything individuals need to launch a full-service financial practice:

Just last week, Christine was able to enroll Agnes Semey-Akorli, from Regina, Saskatchewan.  Agnes has a degree in accounting from her home country of Ghana and runs her own accounting practice.  She was interested in bolstering her accounting skills with UAC’s training programs.  Christine says, “She and I had a serendipitous connection – the first time we spoke she told me it was like speaking with her sister.  We had a very amazing rapport and it left me feeling so thankful to get the opportunity to work with such wonderful people!”

Of the exchange they enjoyed over the course of three days, Agnes says, “I was really satisfied with Christina for her good interpersonal relationship and encouragements, prompt response to my demands and questions, just to name a few.”

If you would like to talk to an enrollment director yourself to see how Universal’s training programs could change the course of your professional future, call us now at 1-877-833-7908 today!

National Mentoring Month

mentorWhat a Mentor Could Provide

January is National Mentoring Month, established to encourage all walks of life to seek out beneficial mentoring relationships.  In light of that, the Small Business Association has recently posted the article “Tips for Young Entrepreneurs during National Mentoring Month.”  Here are the three things they suggest mentoring can provide entrepreneurs like you:

1. An inside perspective.  Mentors can offer seasoned insight on your industry, helping you “gain a fresh prospective and broaden your outlook.”

2. A sophisticated skillset.  Mentors should be experienced in their field, exposing you to an advanced skillset that will enable you to refine your expectations and set higher professional standards.

3. A vast network.  As the article explains, “With years of experience, a mentor likely has an enviable network of industry connections.  The importance of networking can’t be understated, so expanding your network with the help of a mentor can be a great way to meet potential partners, customers and decisions-makers in your target market.”

Where to Find a Mentor 

You may be surprised to find that there are many services and organizations through which you can find a mentor.  Here are a few:

Government Programs.  Specifically the Small Business Association and its affiliate group Score, offer entrepreneurs free advice and consultation services.  Their volunteer counselors are often retired executives more than willing to offer extensive advice.  Chapters of both organizations can be found throughout the country.

Respected Community Members.  Often young entrepreneurs look up to respected community members who have started and maintained successful businesses.  These individuals, when approached correctly, make great mentors.

Trade Associations.  There are many accounting and bookkeeping associations that can help small business owners find good mentors.  These associations also sponsor many conferences and workshops.  Attend these functions when possible so that you can network; this way, you’ll have a greater chance of catching the success bug.

Business Groups.  Communities often sponsor groups that enable local business owners to network.  Join your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, or Toastmasters and attend meetings.  Meet as many people as possible in attempts to grow your business and find just the right mentor.

Alumni Associations.  Your alma mater may provide special programs enabling you to connect with other alumni.  Universal Accounting Center has an accounting and tax forum that enables UAC associates to interact with one another in an online community environment.

Nonprofit Organizations.  There are some nonprofit organizations designed specifically to help small-business owners succeed.   Check local listings to see if there are such nonprofit organizations in your area.

Universal Accounting Center Can Enhance Your Service Offerings

Entrepreneurs often struggle with the issue of financing as they start their small businesses.  Allow Universal Accounting to act as a mentor in helping you add financial consulting services to your offerings.  You will increase your professional appeal by helping clients prepare those formidable small business loan packages as a financial consultant.  Our manual, Becoming a Financial Consultant, includes clear instructions and terrific resource materials that will simplify the creation of a loan application package.  Using the sample loan package included as a model, you can easily help clients apply for a valuable business loan.  Within hours you can begin offering your services as a financial consultant. Call Universal at 1 -877-833-7909 to order your copy now!

 

Resource

kmurray.  “Tips for Young Entrepreneurs during National Mentoring Month.”  8 January 2014 sba.gov

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