Designing a Business for Success

business advisory strategies for accountants Nov 28, 2022


What does it mean to design a business for success?


In this blog post, I’ll take you through how you can create business success for your own accounting or bookkeeping firm. But, if you want to help your clients to be more successful through a business advisory service, then this is a thought process that you can also walk them through.


Click here to check out the full video on this topic.


What’s the purpose of a business?


If we’re going to build our business to be successful, the first thing we need to do is ask ourselves some questions.


The first question we need to ask ourselves is, ‘What’s the purpose of a business?’


For some people, this comes down to necessity. Perhaps they’ve been made redundant or laid off, so they build their own business to get themselves an income.


I like to think that the purpose of a business is to get you the life you want. In which case, we need to ask ourselves, ‘What is success to us? What is the end goal? What do we want out of life?’


Whether that’s financial goals, lifestyle goals, family time, freedom, etc. – a business is a vehicle to help us achieve what we want.


Owner vs. Manager




The problem for many small businesses is we don’t think about the difference between owner and manager. We’re just doing the work and never taking that step back and thinking holistically.


If we want to build a business for success, we have to make sure that we’re spending some time with our ‘Owner’ hat on. That means spending time strategic planning.


We need to think about strategy and vision. What’s the core purpose of the business? We should be having a strategic retreat at least once a year, planning the strategy for the year ahead, and thinking about the vision. Then let the manager worry about implementing the strategy.


And it may be that you’re fulfilling both of those roles, but we mustn’t muddle them up. We must make sure we put time aside to spend as the owner.


The 5 core functions of a business


Every business is made up of 5 core functions. Those are:

  • Marketing – getting people interested in buying from us
  • Sales – converting those leads into customers
  • Operations – delivering on the marketing’s promise
  • Finance – managing the money
  • People – managing people and resources




Every business has these functions, even if you’re a sole practitioner and you’re fulfilling all the roles yourself.


The problem with many small businesses is they don’t have anyone focusing on marketing and sales, so they’re not growing as a result. There needs to be some focus there.


The question you need to ask yourself here is, how much time do you spend in each of the boxes in the chart?


For example, if you’re a solo bookkeeper, you would probably find yourself spending 80-90% of your time doing bookkeeping for clients and your own bookkeeping. There might not be time for sales and marketing. If that’s the case, you’re not building a business, you’re doing a job.


To build a business, you need to get out of those bottom core functions and spend more time at the top of the chart. If you want to design a business for success, you need to spend much more time on strategic planning, and less time doing the work.


How do we do that?


To do this, we must put systems in place. We need a marketing system, a sales system etc. And once we have those systems, then we can hire somebody to run those systems for us. But we shouldn’t hire someone to run those parts of our business without a system in place first.


You’re the business owner, you have to set the rules and figure out what works for your business. It’s your vision. What are the processes you have to work through to do the marketing, to find new clients, to do the operational work? We have to systemise. Once we systemise, it’s so much easier to hire people.


A great tool for keeping track of your systems is Trello.


So, that’s how we start to go about designing a business for success. Think about all the functions of the business, all the things that have to be done, and then recognise that our primary role is to be the owner. To think about the strategy, the systems, the vision, and how we’re going to build that business.


Click here to watch the full video on this topic.



If you found this valuable and would like to learn more about value pricing, I run a free live online training session every month with a topic chosen by you. Attend live and you can ask me any questions you have. Click here to register and I will send you an invitation to the next session.


Wishing you every success on your pricing journey


Mark Wickersham


Chartered Accountant, Public Speaker and Author of Amazon No.1 Best Seller “Effective Pricing for Accountants”