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Superior Service Doesn’t Have To Be Hairy Business
You have the opportunity to go above and beyond the call of duty every time you engage with a client. And don’t think that your superior work and insight will go unnoticed! Before long, you will find that they will go out of their way in search of your insight and advice. Regardless of your profession, the potential is there for you to become a trusted advisor. We strive to reach this standard here at Rea, but I know of others who I would consider to be trusted advisors in a variety of other professions.
My Hair Stylist Is A Trusted Advisor
After attending my last meeting of the day, I gathered my things, left the conference room, walked to my car and sat down in the driver’s seat ready to depart for my regularly scheduled hair appointment. As I turned the engine, I started thinking the meeting I just left, during which we spent a lot of time discussing the succession plan of an existing client and what we could do to deliver the best experience (and outcome) possible. Then my thoughts drifted to the task at hand – my hair appointment and how I truly consider Aaren, my stylist, to be a trusted advisor in my life. Here’s why:
Before busy season starts (January-April in our industry) Aaren will style my hair in a way that helps facilitate a faster dry time each morning. Being the numbers addict I am I have estimated that I can save about 6.5 hours if I opt for a shorter hairstyle. This is similar to how Rea is dedicated to delivering superior efficiency. For example, we have integrated Lean Six Sigma into our culture as a means to deliver efficient, cost effective service. We use it. We know it works. And we have helped other businesses implement their own Lean initiatives as well.
The Best Ideas You Weren’t Expecting
Not only does Aaren understand how to encourage her clients how to care for their hair during the best of times, she’s mindful of changes that could occur as a result of environmental factors and makes recommendations accordingly. This is what happened when I told her I was going on vacation to the ocean. This seemingly casual conversation revealed an opportunity to warn me about the dangers of saltwater on hair; she recommended a product to help prevent damage while I was on vacation. The great thing about developing a relationship with a trusted advisor is that they genuinely care! Are your children gearing up for graduation? Are you eyeballing retirement? Are you looking to invest in a summer home? A trusted advisor might be able to help you seize an opportunity that you would otherwise miss.
Sound Advice In Advance
I have found that Aaren is most effective when I keep her in the loop. I let her know when I have a vacation or a wedding many months in advance. This way she can help me get the results I want without unpleasant side effects. For example, rather than dye my hair right before a major wedding that was taking place in our family, Aaren encouraged me to change the color over a six-month period. By making the changes gradually and planned out we were to prevent my hair becoming damaged due to the chemicals.
Your advisors are also most effective when they are able to get in front of an issue. For example, if a client wanted to pass their business on to the next generation, an advisor could help you identify your succession plan, help you prepare for the changeover, identify financing solutions for your own retirement and help establish a cash flow strategy for the incoming management.
Every time I climb into Aaren’s chair my hair is trimmed – regardless of its condition. This helps maintain a fresh look while preventing additional breakage. It also gives her an opportunity to assess the state of my hair and make recommendations to help keep it looking its best! From helping a client monitor their cash flow to updating a buy-sell agreement, a lot of preventive maintenance can be done at a regular meeting with your financial advisor, too. You never know when a simple lunch meeting could reveal an underlying problem that, if left to fester, could be damaging to your business.
When it comes to the management of my hair, Aaren is a trusted advisor. She continues to demonstrate her expertise and always goes above and beyond my expectations, which is why I will drive two hours to keep my hair appointments!
What do you do to set yourself apart from the competition? Why would a client drive two hours to buy your products or services? How can you be a trusted advisor to the clients you serve? Mike Taylor, a CPA and executive principal here at Rea, did a great job talking about the advisory role on an episode of unsuitable on Rea Radio. You can listen to the podcast below or click here to learn more about this particular episode. You can also email Rea & Associates to speak with one of our industry professionals to find out how you can take your business to the next level.
By Katie Snyder, CPA (Wooster office)
Check out these articles for additional insight into the benefits of working with a trusted advisor:
“There’s always next year …”
Since 1999 that phrase has been uttered so many times in reference to the Cleveland Browns it should have been declared Ohio’s state motto. Well, it’s now 2016 and it looks as though next year might finally be THE year. Why am I so optimistic? Because the day after the Browns cleaned house, the franchise announced who would step in as the new Chief Strategy Officer to help rebuild the team – Paul DePodesta!
Some of you may have no idea who this guy is. But stay with me here while I explain why the news of the Browns hiring DePodesta may have changed the way I look at a team that has done nothing but bring me heartache and disappointment for more than literally half my life.
Six months back I wrote the post “The Billy Beane Approach To Business Success,” which was inspired by another lackluster sports team. One night, rather than watch the Cleveland Indians withstand another defeat, I chose to watch a baseball story with a much happier ending.
If you’ve seen Moneyball then you know that Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s, is famous for abandoning “business as usual” and embracing a data driven approach to team building. In doing so, Beane transformed his team and began delivering results simply by recruiting players based on a single data point – their ability to get on base.
So, what does Beane’s story have to do with the Cleveland Browns and Paul DePodesta? Everything. DePodesta, also known as Beane’s right-hand-man, is the guy who first identified the data that went on to drive the Oakland A’s success!
It looks like the Dawg Pound is scheduled for a renovation after all and that “next year” may finally be here!
Now the question is: what data driver will be the key to turning the Browns into a winning team?
What Drives Your Business’s Success?
Take a play from the Browns’ new strategy, your priority should always be defined by what is driving your business’s success and you can’t afford to let yourself become bogged down by business as usual. If you are finding that you are becoming more and more distracted, it may be time to take a fresh look at your organization and refocus on what’s important. Let go of everything else.
This is something the management team at Rea can speak a lot about. The firm recently rolled out its new strategic plan, which calls for all 200+ employees throughout 11 offices across the state of Ohio to focus on a singular driver. Today, all employees are able to clearly identify how their position impacts the firm’s ability to be successful and, together, we can work to deliver real, measurable results.
Listen to Rea’s CEO talk about the firm’s new strategic plan in episode 4 of unsuitable on Rea Radio: “How To Run With The Big Dogs.”
Are you ready to make a change and develop a winning strategy? We can help. Email Rea & Associates to speak to someone who can help you identify and assess your company’s drivers.
In the meantime, I don’t know about you, but I will be eagerly awaiting the announcement of the Browns’ new GM (general manager.) Maybe it will be Kevin Costner – he did a great job for the Browns in Draft Day. The Browns do have the number two draft pick of 2016. Anything can happen.
By Katie Snyder (Wooster office)
Want more tips to help you improve your business? These posts will help:
It’s summer and that means that baseball season is in full swing. I don’t know about you, but nothing truly beats the feeling of spending a few hours in a stadium cheering for your favorite team – mine just happens to be the Cleveland Indians.
While I am a devoted fan and will support my team at nearly every opportunity (Go Tribe!), I must confess that there are days when, rather than have my heart broken by another loss, I opt to spend my time watching something a little more … encouraging. So, the other night I turned to the movie Moneyball for some baseball-themed comfort.
Read Also: Is Your Business Batting A Thousand?
Based on a true story, Moneyball follows Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane as he attempts to overcome multiple challenges in the hopes of taking his baseball team to the next level by leveraging cost effective measures to transform his team. I was particularly struck by the part when Billy, played by Brad Pitt, made a point to zero in on a single characteristic in the hopes of taking his team to the top – hitting. Moving forward with this strategy, Billy turned to data for answers.
Big Data, Business and Baseball
I’m willing to bet that almost everybody reading this post right now is at least somewhat familiar with the term “Big Data.” Some of us are generally aware of its role in business while others help facilitate the collection of data and are ultimately responsible for its collection and interpretation. Then there are others who are acutely aware of Big Data’s magnitude. These are the people who readily acknowledge how data is being used to track our buying behavior, monitor our interests and influence our interactions with others. Today, it is common practice to zero in on the details, which may have cost us our ability to see the forest through the trees – but at least we know that our trees look fabulous.
The Big Data concept is articulated in Moneyball. While most baseball teams devote countless hours to offensive and defensive strategies in an attempt to excel in all aspects of the game, The Oakland A’s ushered in a different type of strategy – one rooted in the power of optimizing a single data point – getting hits to get the team’s players on base.
Billy’s strategy can apply to your business success as well. For example, if you are able to focus on your business’s key driver while cutting out the aspects of your business that are holding you back (such as a poorly selling product, costly production or a minimal return on a particular investment) you can take the steps to increase your efficiency, company-wide value and ability to meet a growing demand. And consider watching Moneyball for inspiration – it sure beats tuning in to another lackluster performance by the Indians.
By Katie Snyder (Wooster Office)