Marketing basics

How To Successfully go from an Expected Business to an Exceptional Business

When we ask business owners how they feel about introducing marketing strategies to their business, they are somewhat hesitant. There was one business owner who told us that every time he talks to his customers about increasing prices on their services or products, his customers do not react in a positive way. He went on to say that his customers see him as salesman, the supplier guy, the cheapest guy. And this business owner concluded that he would not be able to convince his customers to engage him for any other services and that his industry is priced based.

We remember back to 1997 when one of associates introduced business planning/ coaching services to his clients and we do recall seeing some resistance. Mainly resistance to change. Small business owners don’t often like change. In fact they fear change to a certain degree.

Back in 1997 we had to explain what business planning was to our clients and how it works. Back then it was only the big corporate firms that were receiving coaching and consulting services. The smaller businesses did not have the capacity or human resources to take on these services.

So we started looking back at the history of the accounting profession. Way back in the 1950’s and early 1960’s accountants did not prepare income tax returns. They considered that tax returns were covered by taxation law and as such should be dealt with by a solicitor. And what about in the 1970’s. It wasn’t until 1979 that accountants were allowed to advertise. And remember in the 1980’s? Accountants started offering financial planning advice through organisations such as Count Wealth Accountants. The accounting bodies were reluctant to allow their members to offer financial planning services to their clients as they deemed that it was unethical for accountants to receive commissions. There are now a large number of accounting firms that offer financial planning.

And then we came to the 1990’s. In Australia we had the recession (that we had to have) and small business owners were going out of business in droves. This led to a number of coaching firms looking to help their clients with business planning to help them grow their business. Through referrals and Networks, coaches were able to help the smaller businesses to receive affordable and effective business planning services, not only for themselves but also to their business associates as they realised the value they received and benefits their business gained.

So, here we are in 2019 and accountants are faced with yet another challenge. The Australian Taxation Office has announced that by 2020 they will have enough information to be in a position to prepare accounts and income tax returns for small business. And now the accounting bodies are preparing for the decrease in revenue from compliance work anticipated for 2020.

Everyone is telling accountants that they should be offering different services to their clients…but unfortunately no-one is showing them how!!

The Top Four Business Concerns For Business owners In 2019 – And How To Overcome Them All

We asked 200 business owners what The four top business concerns they are facing in 2019. These concerns are listed in order of priority as:-

  1. Attracting new high value business clients
  2. Declining sales growth and profit margins
  3. Capacity and time constraints
  4. Transitioning from an expected to an exceptional business model

In this edition we will address each of these issues in order and will also offer solutions to overcome each challenge. So, here we go, lets start with attracting new high value business clients.

Attracting New High Value Business Clients

The challenges

  1. From our survey it was apparent that businesses are now hungry for growth. That their staff need to be motivated and focussed on growth through exceptional practices. The next step is taking action.
  2. The survey also pointed out that business owners don’t believe they have the right relationship with their existing clients. Only 64% believed that they had enough relationship and product trust with their clients to grow their business services and sales. This underlines the highest business concern – as business owners don’t believe they can grow their business with existing clients, they will clearly lack confidence in attracting new business clients and getting more out of their existing clients.
  3. Business owners do not have a system for delivering improved business services and products
  4. Business owners don’t know how to market these services and products well


Customers are currently shopping around for better prices. They look at expected services to be a commodity, and as such, they don’t see why they should pay more for that commodity with existing businesses. Unfortunately, business owners are dropping their prices in order to retain these clients. And competing on price is not how to grow a business. Competing on price is competing to get to the bottom first. The latest price competition has had a detrimental effect on many businesses profits as profits have been declining over the past two years.

Reducing price is not going to grow the business. The key to growing a business is differentiation. Do something and separate your business from all other businesses by offering a unique selling proposition (USP). And not just the stock standard sales pitch such as lowest price, best quality, great service etc. When I say different… I mean different. Think about delivering marketing strategies and tactics (the message) that will help your small business, overcome cash flow problems, and take your business to the next level. Small business owner clients would never leave an accountant that helped them to grow their business. And these clients will refer other small business owners to the accountant as well. By offering a USP that will help your clients you will not only retain quality clients, they will also attract new quality clients.

There are many strategies that business owners can implement in order to grow their business with quality clients in 2019 onwards.

next we will show you how to overcome concern No 2…Transitioning from expected to an exceptional business model.

Transitioning from an Expected to an Exceptional Business Model

The Challenges

  1. From the business owners surveyed there were 50% of business owners that believed major changes were required for their business to grow but did not have a plan to implement those changes.
  2. Business owners want to grow and improve their business. The next step is to achieve it – and business owners are not sure that they will succeed in taking this step.
  3. There are 58% of business owners that believe that they are OK in offering expected services and products to their clients, while 33% stated they are not so good.
  4. Business owners don’t have the tools to deliver exceptional services.
  5. Businesses don’t have a system to ensure the consistency of services.
  6. Business owners just don’t have the time or resources to deliver improved services.

The Solution

A business owner needs to differentiate themselves from all other similar businesses that offer the same vanilla product or services. Differentiation is the key and business owners must create an apples vs oranges comparison between themselves and their competition. They must do something different and unique and it must be something that the customer wants…and simply cannot live without.

There are clear opportunities for the business to satisfy the needs of customers by improving their products and services. Let me explain…

When you ask small business owners the two things that could really help them with their business right now: they almost always respond with:-

  1. More customers and…
  2. More revenue

And if a business owner wants to increase their customers and revenue, they need to offer more than just expected services or products. Expected is not going to help their customers or grow their business and take it to the next level…business improvements in operations, marketing and sales being exceptional will. When a business helps their clients meet and exceed their needs, the business will increase revenue and profits and improve cash flow, they will have loyal clients for a long time.

Have a think about it… why would any customer even consider leaving your business that has exceptional services and helps them exceed their needs or grow their business year in and year out.

And addressing the final challenge – Business owners are also time poor and don’t have the time or the resources to deliver improved services or products… Solution – education and coaching with a marketing strategist/ business coach to assist you with the heavy lifting and deliver these services.


During coaching sessions, you will discover the following key strategies:

  • How to stop competing on price with all other similar businesses
  • How to attract high paying clients to your business;
  • How to increase your prices without losing a single high paying client;
  • How to increase your price base by more than 12.5% EVERY year without losing a single customer; and
  • How to transition your business into a lucrative, market-dominating Business.


If you want to grow your business… improve your cash flow… and NEVER again worry about results, then This information will be life-changing for you as you reposition yourself to your clients as their exceptional trusted business. And to make sure you can receive this critical information, we’re offering 2 sessions Register now for the one most convenient for you.

(NOTE: Our last Business Breakfast attracted 76 businesses, and that was in the busy month of June. I suggest you register now to avoid missing out)



Businesses Continue to Struggle with their Marketing

If all the other similar businesses say the same thing the only question that is left for the prospect to ask is about price.

The key to successful marketing is differentiation. Businesses must create an apples Vs oranges situation between their business and their competitors. They need to let their prospects know the benefits of coming on board as a customer.

After you have looked at the web sites of five other similar businesses to your own, have a look at your own web site and marketing peripherals and think of how you can differentiate yourself from your competition, how you can break yourself away from the pack and create that apples Vs oranges situation that will differentiate you from your competitors.

Customers are currently shopping around for your services and best price. They see your services or product as just a commodity and they don’t see why they should pay more for that commodity. In order to take the prospect’s thinking away from price and back to value, you need to show them the benefits of dealing with your business, you need to show them that you are different and that you offer value, and you need to provide some education for them so that they can make an informed decision to purchase your services or product. Marketing and sales may have never been a strong point in your business. The main reason for this is that marketing was never included in any of the courses offered to business owners by the various learning institutions. Accountants learn how to become technically good at what they do but are never taught how to run and grow their own accounting practice.

Let’s face it… as a business owner we may not be built to sell. Some don’t like being a salesperson. In fact some business owners or staff feel very uncomfortable when we feel that we are selling and therefore are not very good at it. Likewise, with marketing.

Here’s an exercise for you…

Have a look at five web sites like your business. Now tell me if I have this right…They are all pretty much the same. On the front page of the site there is the name of the business at the top of the page and possibly their phone number or contact us. And then follows a whole bunch of platitudes such as:-

  • We have friendly staff
  • We are highly qualified and efficient
  • All of our staff are trained to ensure you receive the best service
  • We pride ourselves on quality…and so on and so on.
  • We have up-to-date technology

I read all these platitudes and all I can say is “well I hope so.” Expected.

And then there’s that oldie but a goodie…”we have been in business since 149BC…who cares!

All the web sites look the same and then business owners wonder why it is that when prospects make an enquiry the only question they ask is about the price of their services or products. You see, that’s the only question they can ask, that’s the default question.

How Would You Like Marketing Strategies and Tactics That Attracts Quality Clients To Your Business?

Have a look at the web sites for five businesses that you consider to be in competition with you for that ‘ideal client.’

Did you notice anything different about these web sites? …probably not.

When your competitor, just like you, create a website for example, the easiest thing to do is create a web site from a template that ends up looking the same as every other similar business in your area. And then they wondered why there were very few enquiries from their web site.

When customers are searching for a product or service, they will likely look at about five web sites. So, have a look at your web site and now have a look at the web sites of five other businesses like yours in your area. Did you notice something different about all of these web sites…that’s right. There is no difference, they are all saying very much the same thing.

Business web sites and marketing materials are all saying pretty much the same thing. The web sites and marketing message are all full of platitudes. For example:-

  • Professional competence
  • A skilled friendly team
  • Timely professional advice
  • Commitment to excellence
  • Expert local advice

And not to mention that oldie but a goodie…

  • We’ve been in business since 1491B.C.

As business owners we have been conditioned to think that this is the proper way to market our business, especially since most marketing follows the same formula.

Prospects that are landing on your web site, calling your phone or dropping into your business, are not looking for price…they are looking for value. Unfortunately, most businesses use platitudes that are all much the same and therefore prospective clients automatically assume that everyone is pretty much the same and hence they default to calling on the business offering the lowest price.

Our marketing equation has four main components:-

  • Interrupt/Introduce,
  • engage,
  • educate and;
  • offer

The interrupt/Introduce is your headline that highlights a specific problem that your prospects are looking for a solution to…and the engage is your sub-headline that promises them that you offer a solution to the problem we mentioned in the headline. The third component is educate. Once you’ve interrupted and engaged the prospect we have to give information that allows them to logically understand how and why you solve the problem they’re facing. The fourth and final component of our marketing equation is your offer. Now that we’ve interrupted the prospective client based on problems that are important to them…engaged by a promise of the solution… and they’ve examined the educational information that makes your solution real and believable… the last step we need to take is to give them a low risk (or no risk) way to take the next step in your sales process. Your offer will allow your prospect to feel in control of their final decision to call and buy from you.

So our marketing equation is interrupt, engage, educate and offer and together they equal market domination.

Congradulations, you have taken the first steps from having an Expected Business to an Exceptional Business.

Now take the next step and contact us to find out more.


Joe Cicala

Business Coach/Consultant

Business Improvement Specialist