Town Haul Podcast | Episode 1 

  • Host: Amy Koonin (Rubicon)
  • Guest: Ryan Watson (Brand Ambassador at Xero)

Trying to build a business from scratch is tough. Then try adding a brick-and-mortar location into today’s e-commerce world or driving your business to be different with a sustainability or social mission.

We know it’s not easy, which is why we’ve launched the Town Haul Podcast– a series dedicated to helping sustainable businesses become more successful.

But, before you even start with your business differentiator, you need to make sure you have your books in order. Which is why our host, Amy Koonin, decided to launch our inaugural podcast with Rubicon’s small business accounting software partner – Xero.

She chats with Xero’s brand ambassador Ryan Watson about the challenges of getting a small business off the ground and how to prep your brick and mortar for the holidays.

1. Your network is your net-worth

RYAN: “When starting a small business, surround yourself with as many people who have solved challenges that you’re currently facing as possible and really lean on them. You should allocate a large amount of your budget to just having coffees, just taking people out. The reality is people like to help other people, and so reaching out with a genuine and an honest ask for folks in your community who’ve kind of been there, done that is sort of a first step into surrounding yourself with a group of eventual mentors.”

2. Find an accountant out of confidence, not convenience

RYAN: “The one advice I would give to people looking for accountants is not necessarily to find a person that’s closest to you in geography, but rather the person who is most capable of helping them solve your unique business challenges and ultimately succeed. I think that is one of the big learnings with cloud technology, firms have sort of eliminated the geographic barrier and can service clients not just in their own hometowns, but throughout the country, frankly throughout the world.”

3. No technology is more advanced than the human connection

RYAN: “What machines are very bad at, and what humans are very good at doing is providing creative thinking on top of these new automated transaction processes for e-commerce and brick and mortar. I think every industry is going to have to ask themselves what additional value-add can we provide for our customers that are highly tailored, highly customized that has real value to their lives above and beyond the traditional just service that we’re providing.”

4. Taxes aren’t just in season in the spring

RYAN: “A lot of people like to think about tax season, April as being the time of the year where I can get an accountant who can come and do a bunch of financial wizardry and really reduce my tax liability. The reality is once the year is over, there’s probably not a lot that you can do to change your tax liability for the period that’s already over, but you can do some thoughtful planning around the future, the following year to come, and these areas are around things like how you’re organized. Perhaps, organizing as an S-corp is a good solution for you and can help reduce your tax liability. Retirement planning is one area where business owners can defer quite a bit of tax liability into the future. Engaging professionals at the beginning of the year, particularly January is a time to have really good thoughtful conversations with tax accountants before they get super busy around April and March and April deadlines. I’d say those two things are suggestions I would have for folks that are thinking about 2018 and beyond.”

5. 2018 is predictable

RYAN: “A couple of things that are happening. Obviously, e-commerce is, without question, dominating. Every year it captures a larger and larger share of the holiday spend. No question that’s going to continue in 2018. One of the things that that is doing though is it’s — I think there is some amount of like Black Friday fatigue and there are more opportunities to reach buyers throughout the holiday cycle and not just on that one day. I do think we’re starting to see that spikes smooth out a little bit over that period. Frankly, that’s a good trend for the small boutiques and the small manufacturers. I think there’s definitely a trend away from only shopping at big box retailers, and those folks are going to continue to see market share decline and folks are looking for more unique, authentic, curated experiences and gifts. You’re going to see that continue to increase.”

Resources from this episode

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