Becoming a transformative advisor in the face of COVID-19 and beyond

For many of us, 2020 was nothing short of scary, challenging, and sad – both personally and professionally. While the world around us has turned upside down, we’ve been left picking up the pieces, trying to find ways to keep our businesses afloat and our families safe.

As crazy and unpredictable as the past year has been, one thing remains constant as business owners: we must move forward, adapt, and grow.

While keeping our families safe is top of mind, our business’ present and future hinges on protecting our clients, keeping them happy, and making sure they get the support they need to get through these turbulent times.

In many ways, this is the role of a transformative advisor – which happened to be the theme of Scaling New Heights, an industry conference I recently attended virtually that’s put on by Joe Woodard of Woodard Events. Joe has helped countless firms become the most they can be for their clients, and this conference’s mantra was an extension of that – “Rise of the Advisor.”

In this article, I will share some takeaways from my experience, as well as how we, at SBS Accounting & Advisors, plan to be a transformative advisor for you and your business.

Going the extra mile – Every time

At SBS, we know how important it is to get your books in order and automate your accounting processes, but we also know that’s not enough – and you need more. Over the years, we’ve discovered that our clients need help understanding their numbers and planning for the future, among other things.

This, in a nutshell, is how we envision the role of being your trusted advisor: Not just taking care of your back-office needs, but also proactively planning for your future and being there for you every step of the way. We do this through building transformation – our mission as a company. You may be wondering how this looks. Our new advisory services division is jam-packed with many of the tools and strategies we implement to take you to the next level, including Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), cash flow management, and more.

Coaching, connecting, and cultivating a powerful relationship

Becoming your clients’ advisor doesn’t just happen overnight; it takes a great deal of trust. The only way to establish that high level of trust is to build a connection, forge a strong bond, and do right by the client every time.

As Joe said, we want to be a coach, monitoring what clients are doing and informing clients what they need to do better, sometimes before they even know they need to do it. This doesn’t just show an advisor’s tremendous value; it also illustrates how much you care about your clients and how much you are looking out for their best interest.

This is the kind of personal attention and commitment we strive for every day at SBS. And, we believe you can do that for your clients as well. Let’s take one of Joe’s imaginative hypotheticals as an example:

“If the typical QuickBooks ProAdvisor ran a Starbucks, we would encourage customers to bring in their own Keurig machines, and then we’d have a shelf of all their different coffee pods, carefully labeled … and we’d let each of them tell us how to make their cups of coffee.”

This example is specifically geared toward me as a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, helping me think about what products and solutions I would offer up my clients, which include turning your financial data into powerful growth, finding the apps, and other technology needed to make your lives easier, and coaching you to rise to the next level and meet your goals and dreams. But, you can easily use this example to replace it with who you are, what you do, and what you want for your clients and their lives.

It’s up to all us to find the time and energy to become that kind of advisor for our clients – and help them see we can be an advisor who finds the ways to bring real value to our relationship with them and their relationship with us.

Working remotely – You’re NOT alone

One major impact of the pandemic has been having to change how, and where, we work. Many of us have been forced to work, and manage our staff, remotely. While some forward-thinking businesses have embraced this strategy in the past, many of us have never had to go exclusively remote for a long period of time.

If you’ve felt isolated or by yourself while working remotely during this challenging time, you’re not alone. In fact, a recent survey showed that more than half of employees working from home feel lonely, while another survey reported that communication, collaboration, and loneliness continue to be the top challenges for remote workers. The scary part is these were already a lot of the same feelings before COVID-19 – the pandemic has only made them worse.

So, what can we do to combat these feelings and issues we face? Here are five tips we have found to be helpful:

  1. Pay attention and turn off your email and phone. These distractions can keep you from getting anything done. Your clients and your business deserve your full attention. You can’t be a transformative advisor and take your business to the next level by letting distractions get in the way.
  2. Participate in online community exchanges. Just because you don’t see people in person doesn’t mean you can’t connect with them online. Spend some time each day/week engaging in conversations, building relationships, and finding ways to stay in touch with your peers and prospects. LinkedIn is a great way to do that.
  3. Find your favorite spot(s) to work at home. Find the place or places you know you work best and are the most comfortable. If a certain place helps you get in a routine of being productive and feeling good, you can better serve your clients and your business.
  4. Take some breaks. It’s not uncommon to go stir crazy working from home. Taking some breaks here and there can relieve stress, help you refocus, and keep you from feeling so overwhelmed.
  5. Take care of yourself. When working from home, it’s very important to look after your own physical and emotional well being. The last thing you want to feel is lonely or depressed. Exercise, meditation, and finding natural light to work in are just a few strategies for taking care of yourself. Discover what works best for you.

Putting the wheels in motion to adapt and grow

This past year has seen big changes and tested us seemingly every day. Juggling work/life balance, staff retention, and customer service has been difficult for many of us. But, we must plunge ahead and be willing to adapt and strategize in order to meet our goals and thrive in the future.

As we turn the chapter towards 2021, I hope that some of the values and advice I shared above can resonate with you, and help you move forward and grow.

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