As a small business, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of your accounting and financial planning. Team Lucky Duck has found incredible value in using Business By Design to handle many financial aspects of running our real estate team. Today we have Paul Miller, founder of Business By Design with us to answer some entrepreneur and small business questions for us.
Team Lucky Duck: What inspired you to start Business By Design?
Paul Miller: About 20 years ago I was self-employed selling financial products to entrepreneurs and small businesses. I found myself needing a good accountant to handle the finances of my business. As I interviewed accountants, I got a lot of mixed messages and became more confused. I decided to do some investigating and developed my own plan. It turns out a lot of other business owners had the same issues so I gave up my original business and started showing people how to set up their business properly. Eventually business planning turned into tax preparation so we hired a CPA to manage that aspect.
TLD: What services do you offer?
PM: We focus on teaching the planning, tools, and knowledge you need to run your business, which I find holds the most value. And then we can also offer payroll and tax services.
TLD: What kind of businesses do you work with most often?
PM: Typically small business owners and entrepreneurs with 10 employees or less. My passion is working with business like that because they typically don’t get a fair shake. They’re normally just reacting versus having a plan and I want to help them with that.
TLD: Is there an industry you work with most often?
PM: I would say about 2/3rds of our clients are in the real estate business in one way or another. You know, agents, brokers, contractors, etc. The other third is made up of small business owners.
TLD: What is the most common problem people come to you with?
PM: People are usually referred to us to start with their taxes but I end up qualifying it more as an ongoing cash flow issue. When small businesses make a dollar, owners have a hard time knowing how much is their’s and how much is already spoken for. I will listen to their objectives and provide perspective on how much money their business will need to earn to meet their goals. I help them establish and understand their business model and explain how they build equity in their company.
TLD: What are the first steps to getting started with Business By Design?
PM: The first step is to do a quick interview to make sure we are a good fit based on our services and their priorities. We price our services purely based on value so no one writes a check until it’s been determined that I have solved a problem or saved you money. Then we define fees based on that.
TLD: What sets you apart from other small business accountants?
PM: I consider our business to be more of a trusted advisor instead of an accountant. I treat my work as providing education on the fundamentals of a business model. People will think they need to file a tax return but usually what they really need is education. I am very transparent in that I don’t have any cutting edge knowledge or a patent on the services I provide. Anyone could figure it out on their own but for those that would rather outsource it, they can pay us for the shortcut. I always tell people to outsource what they’re not good at so they can focus on the best use of their time.
If you have any questions for Paul or would like to get started with Business By Design, you can reach him here. A big thank you to Paul Miller for taking the time to answer our questions for our Featured Vendor Friday!