Pete Denholm bought in the Support Strategies franchise for accountants in 2014, about a year after its launch. He thought it would be an opportunity to work for himself for the first time, while using his experience working with major national accounting firms to help small businesses in a variety of industries.
He would quickly discover that networking and referrals would be important keys to the success of his new business.
For five years, Denholm drove a lot of miles in his car, traveling all over Duval County to meet prospects. He joined professional organizations, usually started meeting people over breakfast, and ended his day with meetings during happy hour.
It worked. He went from working alone with his wife and business partner, Diane, to hiring 12 employees, and having no clients to generating about $600,000 in revenue in the fifth year.
Then the pandemic hit.
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Denholm wasn’t worried about his business, given that the company was already set up to do business virtually. The challenge was that their customers came from multiple sectors, including those that had to close at least for a short time.
“When the pandemic hit, I was scared. One of our professional services companies put us on hold, and then other companies started closing,” he said. “We didn’t know not that it was only temporary. In the end, we didn’t lose a customer for good.”
Instead of losing clients, Denholm found that once he had a referral, they were open to meeting via videoconference. Until the pandemic hit, Denholm said it was understood he needed to meet in person to talk about accounting services. While clients had always preferred to meet in person, during the pandemic they found online meetings to be just as useful.
Supporting Strategies doubles its revenue and employees during the pandemic
Over the past two years, we have all seen companies struggle and even go bankrupt. For many, survival came down to having financial reserves to pay bills and employees when customers couldn’t get to their favorite places, restaurants and attractions. I contacted Supporting Strategies because I wanted to hear about a support services company that helps other companies.
Bookkeepers and accountants have added more services for their business clients to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey of 600 accountants surveyed by bill.com. The survey found that the top three challenges cited by customers were keeping their business open (30%), dealing with rising costs (27%), and recruiting and retaining employees (17%). .
So it makes sense that over the past two years, Supporting Strategies ended up doubling both its revenue and its number of employees. Sales increased from $600,000 to $1.4 million and employees grew from 12 to 26.
“I would like to think that we have helped to contribute to the stability of our customers,” he said. “By always providing them with accurate and timely monthly reports, it helped them make the necessary changes in their business. We were there on hand for the analyzes needed for the state and federal funding that was beginning to become available.”
Jacksonville Icemen turn to support strategies during pandemic
As businesses grappled with economic upheaval, they needed experienced accountants more than ever. They also needed services that included business management, business development, customer service monitoring, and help with hiring and retaining employees.
Andy Kaufmann, CEO of the Jacksonville Icemen, said when the pandemic hit, all seven home games were immediately canceled. It was a concern for a team that supported 13 employees.
At the time, the sports team had an accountant on staff but needed additional help to control costs. They turned to Supporting Strategies for help.
“At the time, we didn’t even know when we would play again or if a vaccine would ever be developed. Our ownership group was lucky to have savings to keep all of our employees on staff, but the business plan changed drastically because no income was coming in. »
Last season the team played the whole season with only 30% capacity. Now they are back at full capacity.
“In a nutshell, they helped control costs at a time when we had no income,” Kaufmann said. “They provide excellent customer service and professional service. They just do a great job.
In times of uncertainty, many clients seek not only tax and accounting help, but also business advice. That’s why Chef Tom Gray and his wife, Sarah Marie Johnston, owners of Prati Italia in Town Center, turned to Supporting Strategies in 2017. They also own San Marco City Hall.
Supporting Strategies helped clean up their books and helped them move to cloud-supported accounting processes, eliminating a lot of paperwork. The changes made it easier for CPAs to provide tax advice.
“Restaurants have many moving parts that need to be categorized in order to judge financial performance and be transparent to investors. Pete’s team is good at it,” Gray said. “They have documented the steps to follow to ensure we have accurate information in the event of a rollover. The more they learn about you and your business, the easier they make your life.
“They’ve learned our systems, so if I have a question about a concept I want them to execute and need some projections, they have notes in the background on how we operate.”
Over the past two years, Gray said Supporting Strategies has helped with tasks ranging from tracking paid hours if someone was sick to tax support and complicated loan applications.
Supporting Strategies is an example of a company that has found its services in higher demand during the pandemic.
Along with managing record business growth, Denholm still finds it hard to believe how much his life has changed. In the past two years, only two potential clients have insisted on meeting in person before joining us.
“I bought a car just before the pandemic hit and apparently Honda is monitoring my mileage through an app that tells me when it’s time to change my oil. Now due to a shortage of cars they want to recover mine because of low mileage,” he said. “I hardly leave the house now because people are comfortable with video conferencing.”