I never used to engage with the numbers in my business, and I used to hate talking about our personal finances.
It was generally assumed that because I’m a marketer and my brain is wired to hang out over on the right side (which dominates with creativity and artistic traits), that I may as well write-off any hope of activating the left half which favours logic and process.
To be honest, I had myself convinced of that. I hated maths at school and flourished in English, Arts and anything creative. So that was it – I did not enjoy numbers, and that was that.
1. My accountant entered my life.
I had been searching for someone who could advise me on how on earth I was supposed to know how much to charge for the work I did. I knew how much my competitors charged, but I had no idea what it cost me to perform my work.
I was clueless as to what profit I should or could be making. I did not know when I was able to afford another staff member. I basically had no idea about the numbers in my business. I found that really frustrating. I wanted to understand but I couldn’t. I needed someone to help me.
Enter my accountant; who very simply taught me the key numbers to focus on in my business. He didn’t overwhelm me with technical detail that I didn’t need to know. He easily could have, as sometimes when we are passionate about our area of expertise, we tend to over explain. But he didn’t. He just taught me the basics.
That changed my life in business. It not only made me a much stronger business owner, but it also made me a much better strategic marketer.
As I got to understand how much numbers affect a business, I could start integrating this further into my marketing planning for clients.
2. I read The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape.
Again, here was a super simple explanation of how to save money and become an investor. I think I dog-eared and highlighted just about every page of this book. I have been so engaged in my personal finances ever since.
We now have a solid savings plan in place, and I feel like I make much better decisions in this area.
For that reason, I feel an immense sense of gratitude towards them. I have deep feelings of trust and loyalty, and I seriously cannot even count the number of people that I have raved about these people and their services to.
It occurred to me that I didn’t engage with numbers or accountants before encountering these two people because I didn’t understand it. Whenever I tried to engage, I was overwhelmed with confusion and negative feelings as I realised it was hard and confronting.
Once I understood the concepts at hand, I could engage at a much deeper level, both with the topic and their businesses.
There is a terrific lesson in this for any organisation aspiring to encourage engagement from their customers or clients at a deeper level:
Think about how you communicate with your target audience.
Are you overwhelming them with technical details that just confuse them? Or conversely, are you not providing them with any information at all?
Are you boring them to tears as you talk about how wonderful you and your business are? Or is your marketing content providing truly valuable information that will help your customer become a better person?
I can guarantee it’s the latter option that will incite trust, loyalty, positive word-of-mouth and a long-lasting customer relationship.