I'm new to the community, but have very much enjoyed spending my afternoon reading through some of the discussions. I'm looking for some advice on how to monetize a business idea.
As background, I'm a CPA with 7 years of public accounting experience (mostly audit) and 3 years of consulting for large companies. I've also owned businesses while in high school and college, so I'm no stranger to the entrepreneur mindset. From working through the first part of 48 Days (and getting some good life experience under my belt), I'm finding my gifts are more people-oriented than task-based. I love sitting down with someone, hearing their dreams, and then starting to brainstorm how to make them a reality. I love the technical side of accounting, but am wired for people and strategic thinking (I usually come out as an S or I and a C on the DISC profile.
My goal is to start a CFO outsourcing service for small businesses and start-ups. In my experience, the CPA profession is great at handling technical issues (taxes, accounting pronouncements, etc), but often isn't effective at providing advisory services (I'll list examples in a moment). To illustrate my goal, here is my 30-second spiel:
"The role of a CFO at a large organization is to take financial information, verify its accuracy, and put it in a format useful to the decision-makers (CEO, COO, Board of Directors, etc). I think small businesses should have someone on their team that performs the same function, and who helps them make wise business decisions based on the numbers, not just hopes and guesses."
So the crux of the problem is - how do I monetize this concept effectively? Working with start-ups by definition means a client base with very limited resources. And the type of work I want to do here is very time-intensive. I believe it's possible, but could use some brainstorming help. Any thoughts?
First I love the fact that you are right in tune with how you are 'wired' and are looking to move into working in your sweet spot.
Before monetizing the concept, I have clients get crystal clear on what they are offering. Are you consulting with them on tax strategies, operations, leveraging receivables, or payroll. While you might be able to do all of that, which is the area you are the most gifted at AND enjoy the most (then it won't seem like work). Once you zero in on what the key service will be in your portfolio, the monetizing piece is a bit easier to nail.
Then in line with your key service, you'll want to put together a no cost assessment where you can help the business owner see the value in adding your services to their overall strategy.
What a great way to start out the New Year!
Why limit yourself to a client base that is tight on money? I know someone in my local chamber of commerce that does exactly what you are suggesting, but he works for more established businesses. I think his biggest market segment is car dealerships. They are a decent sized business, but not large enough to hire a full-time CFO.
As a CPA I'm sure you know that the more $$/client you can make the easier your life will be. I personally would much rather work for 20 larger firms that 100 small firms.
I think the person I know charges a percentage of gross income for his service. I know he is not charging by the hour.