Because of COVID-19, we have experienced a shift in the way our country and the world operates. Facing this situation can only make us more resilient, and help us to develop a more conscious mindset when making decisions. We can adapt and make the right decisions at the right time, and that is what all this is all about: helping others in need to reassess and perform accordingly with the times.
I know that we are all in the same storm, but not in the same boat. That is why we need each other. As small business advisors, we need to thrive during a time of change, and be ready to help by thinking outside the box for our clients and for ourselves.
Here are seven actionable recommendations we can work on with our clients, old and new, to make a difference in their business and personal lives:
- Help your clients with government relief programs. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has many provisions you ought to know about and pass on to your clients – if you haven’t done so already.
- Create a contingency plan with your clients. What are the actionable things they can do to maintain themselves during this time? For example, restaurants are doing curbside deliveries and gyms are offering classes online for a minimal fee. Help your clients think about ways they can provide their services and products to customers.
- Review and work on their cash flow. Understanding the amount of cash small businesses have on an ongoing basis is key to making informed decisions. Intuit® created a cash flow continuity playbook to make it easier to quickly assess our clients’ cash situation, and help them achieve and maintain informational cash flow reports. Let’s use it.
- Be social. This is the time to help your clients understand the meaning of social media marketing. Social media is definitely not for everybody, but in times of change, we need to adapt. Since most of the people around the world have their phones in their hands at all hours of the day, help your clients understand the importance of letting their customers know they are open for business. With promotions and update messages, they can drive ongoing business. Letting customers know what is happening in their businesses is the key to sustainability.
- Prepare offers for now and later. Help your clients think about what they can offer right now that will generate returns. Beauty salons, for example, are contacting their customers, offering coloring and blow-drying videos for anyone who purchases coloring and conditioning products. Dentist offices are offering free virtual consultations for patients who sign up right now for treatments in the future at discounted prices. Car dealers are offering the touchless experience of buying a car online with no payments for 90 days, including driving the car right to your front door, with touchless delivery to keep buyers safe. Just help your clients think outside the box.
- Continue reinventing their business – what can they become? Once they handle short-term issues, such as cash flow and new sources of revenue, reimagining products and services can help position your clients to win in the future. For example, a wholesale food animal store decided to reinvent their business by providing wholesale prices on a new online store they are creating. Another example is a lawyer’s office that not only has documents signed digitally, but also offering notary services online.
- Teach them how to organize for the future. Now is a great time to teach clients document organization and QuickBooks®. In addition, if a client’s taxes are already done, review what can be improved for the rest of 2020 and assess the future based on our new normal.
Our clients look up to us because we are not only their accountants and tax preparers, but also their counselors. Many times, we become their most loyal friends, especially in a time when they face exceptional events. Now is our time to shine and show them what we are all about. If you are not doing it yet, expand your services and offer advisory services. You can also team up with a ProAdvisor® colleague and work on referral revenues.
Reinventing is part of who we are as a community – and we will get through this. As Intuit® says, let’s keep on powering prosperity for the world!
Editor’s note: Vanessa Vasquez presented this topic during “Transforming Client Success,” an Intuit Accountants virtual conference on May 20-21, 2020. Watch the recording now.