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Don't Run Your Business Like Your Grandma Buys Groceries

At one point in my life I rented a room from a lady in her late eighties, Mrs. Visser. This woman was born during the booming twenties and graduated from high school towards the end of the dirty thirties, so she knew very well what it meant to live with very little money. On top of that, when her children were all teenagers she lost her husband to cancer. 

With all of her experience and working very hard to keep things afloat, she developed habits of saving in whatever way she could. One of those habits was going through the newspaper flyers every week to find out where her regular grocery purchases were on sale, a habit she continued even when I lived with her. She would create lists and take the whole day, going to each individual grocery store, looking for the specific items she had found during her scouring of the paper.

Twenty to thirty years ago this was likely a common habit for everyone. Nowadays though, there are a few of her habits that I have a hard time relating to:

1) The flyers – generally these will hit my recycling bin almost as soon as they get to my house. The ones I want to see are available online and I would prefer to use my phone to review them than having papers all over the kitchen table.

Put it in practice: Challenge your habits and seek better ways to do things. As a business owner, adopting emerging technologies can automate routine tasks and increase efficiency. Have more time to work on the important things and focus your energy on your business.     

2) Spending a whole day shopping – my limit for being in a grocery store is about an hour. I don’t enjoy meandering through the aisles comparing each product to see which one is best. What makes a good meal is much more about what happens in the kitchen than in the store.

Put it in practice: Important tasks need to get done, but not always by you. Should you be meeting with key stakeholders or accounting for receipts you’ve gathered? One is adding value, the other just needs to get done. Make sure you are in the metaphorical kitchen, not the grocery store.

3) Visiting multiple stores to get the sale items – if I am buying products at Walmart, I can quickly search for the same item at their competitors to see if I am getting the best price. If it is cheaper somewhere else, they will match the price. I can now get all the best prices at one location.

Put it in practice: For a business, the ability to get multiple services from one vendor creates efficiencies. There are also opportunities to save through bundling or volume discounts. Clearer communication and reduced turnaround time are also great benefits gained from having fewer hands in your business.     

In my experience, many professionals still find themselves using the same types of habits displayed by Mrs. Visser in their businesses. They spend time taking care of the administrative areas of their business such as playing phone tag with their insurance broker, bookkeeper, lawyer, investment advisor, suppliers and likely several other organizations that are required to keep their business up and running. 

At Avail CPA, we do not believe you need to run your business like Mrs. Visser bought groceries.   

We have developed an integrated model that allows us to provide multiple services all in one location and with one team. Our advisors can help manage all aspects of your business including wealth management and planning, tax planning and preparation, and automated bookkeeping services, so you can spend more revenue-generating time with your clients and patients.

You deserve more. We can help with that.


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