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Accounting is Just the Beginning


Are Small Business Owners in Denial?

I met a business consultant contact the other day over a coffee. He was commenting that many business owners are in denial about just how badly they are doing in business: making small or no profits, working long hours with no systems, no marketing and generally not knowing whether they’re making or losing money – the list went on and on.

Are business captains hiding from facts?

Mentioning our conversation afterwards to an accountant friend, he didn’t feel that the business consultant was being totally fair to small business owners. “After all, he said, we’re still in the worst recession for 30 years, a lot of small business owners just have no resources left to utilise. The business scene is changing rapidly, marketing is a nightmare now with websites and social media. It’s hard to afford staff or to engage expert assistance anymore so business captains end up working 24/7 trying to do everything themselves. They’re skeptical about expensive business consultants in fear that they promise a lot but deliver little. In the end it’s all just so hard so they don’t know where to begin and therefore they don’t!

After that conversation, I thought, yes, there are two sides to every story. But who is right? What do you think? I’d love to hear your views, as I’m sure would others!

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4 Responses to Are Small Business Owners in Denial?

  1. Hi Nick!

    Thank you for your excellent comment. Indeed, it seems that for those struggling in the depression, failure to act only ends up maiking things worse.
    Would you mind taking the time to answer our Facebook question:

    You can also like our page, which may give a chance to win a year of free accounting for your parents’ business (although of course we wouldn’t want to take the job from you 🙂

    All the best and by all means keep sharing your thought with us. We love valuable input!

  2. I have grown up in my parent’s small business all my life. They own a retail store that sells a little bit of everything – the main sales going to alcohol and tobacco products. As a kid, I remember always helping out because things were just incredibly busy all the time. My family saw tremendous profits in those years and there was not a worry in the world.
    Today, my parents have been struggling to make enough money to cover their expenses. I am now finishing up college (majoring in accounting) and whenever I go home, it is obvious that we do not bring in half the business we use to.
    I have tried to help my parents with ideas and organizing their books, which were so disorganized before! The thing is that they are not as committed as they used to be. I set up an entire system for them to use to keep track of their revenues and expenses, but they have not taken the little time to record these things. And I think it would be very beneficial to figure these things out, so they can put the money to where it will be best.
    So, my comment to this response is that there is no questions that the recession has had a huge impact on small business. No doubt about it. I think that it was inevitable that many were driven out of business. However, for those that are struggling, I think it is a matter of low confidence with a mix of using the economy as an excuse.

  3. Hi Des and thank you for your astute comment, with which I must say I completely and utterly agree.
    Yes the cession has made it hard on everyone, but at the same time I cannot help noticing that my client list is teeming with success stories that happened during the recession. All of these share a common point: excellence of service and an unshakable will to just get on with it.
    Did the complexity of nowadays marketing tools get in the way of these business captains? Not in the slightest. They got the help they needed when they couldn’t do it themselves. All of them found that the investment was nothing compared to the benefits to them and their business.

  4. Des Gray says:

    Interesting question in your article. Here’s some helpful insight… I don’t think it’s a matter of who’s right or wrong (as that’s where most thinking stops). I think it’s more a matter of ‘what’s being missed’. Many businesses could be doing much better than they currently are, and with just a few tweaks. The honest truth is the public are finding it harder than ever to give their money away to a good home (e.g. to purchase).

    Investing in assistance is what makes top performers. It’s what helps them to the top, and what keeps them up there. It’s a conscious choice they make; to be one the leaders, or one of the also ran’s. They know they don’t know, what they don’t know – and they’re open to exploring what’s missing. They know the pay-off’s of filling in the missing links.

    When you purchase an item for resale you can sell it once, and you profit once. When you invest in yourself; you can sell it endlessly, and profit endlessly – for the rest of your life. I trust my comments stimulate some further thinking.