If your business is hurting or stagnating – whether due to Covid-19, technology or market shifts – there are three key changes you can make now to fuel your business growth.
Long-time Howick and East Tamaki staple Pat Callinan Accounting underwent a transformation of its own recently after a management buy-out and shifts in market demand created the need to change. As a result, the firm is now trading as Louw & Co.
"The three most important changes we needed to make, to reposition for growth and to meet new needs in our target market, were 1. Rebrand, 2. Implement new systems, and 3. Revise our staff resource," says managing director Melt Louw.
"The old firm was very compliance-based, but events like the Covid-19 pandemic meant our clients needed more. Our clients will always need their annual accounts, but they also now need us to interpret those numbers and advise them on what decisions to make for their business based on what the numbers were telling us. We had to change to meet that demand."
Melt's track record as a business advisory accountant – with a double degree in law and accounting – meant he knew the firm needed to keep what was working and change what wasn't.
"I had been a senior member of Pat Callinan Accounting's team for several years, so I already had a good understanding of the firm, the people, its clients and the culture," Melt says.
Melt says that the strength of Louw & Co is that it remains an approachable, walk-in kind of practice – not stuffy at all – but with additional expertise, new systems and a strong advisory service.
"We are still a friendly accounting firm serving our local community, and the new Louw & Co brand needed to reflect our community values while also showing that we are expert advisors who can make a difference to your bottom line.
"If you want to rebrand, my advice is to be sure of who you are and to understand your customers. We are not a compliance shop, and we are not a big corporate firm – we are a middle of the road, friendly, expert team that looks after the local SME market."
2. New technology
Melt says that by introducing new technology, the firm reduced its stationery and printing bill by 80 per cent, increased processing time and created a lot of efficiencies.
"My advice here is to make sure that your clients are ready for change. If you are going to introduce efficiencies, make sure you take your clients along on the journey."
3. Revise staff resourcing
When it came to staff resourcing, Louw & Co had to make sure they got right the mix between old and new to retain the friendly feel and culture of the old firm while increasing the level of business and tax advisory expertise in the firm.
"My advice is to make sure you know what you want to keep and what you want to change – for example, in terms of operations, personality and services – and implement a very good interview process that gets the people who are the right fit."
Finally, says Melt, make sure you understand the numbers because the clues to what's working and what isn't working will be in the accounts.
"If your margins are not what they should be, let us take a look at your numbers. We will be able to advise you on how to grow and thrive."