He’s a published author and the owner of a 7 figure firm, coming off its best year ever. Jon Neal is enjoying his success (sometimes on the beaches of Cancun), but it didn’t come easy. And, the road to get here wasn’t always smooth.
Decades ago, tired of sitting around a table arguing about his billable hours and other administrative minutiae, Jon Neal left the firm where he was a partner, to start his own accounting practice. In a crowded basement office, he made his first foray into firm ownership. It would be a few years before his firm made it to their big office on the top floor. But once they did, Jon and his team were regularly pulling in high-value dream clients.
CPA Jon Neal started his own firm, The Neal Group, decades ago. Initially skeptical about how the Create Your Dream Firm program could help improve his practice, today he’s a believer. He fired two problem clients, worth $40K a year, and still managed to increase profits by 15% for his 7 figure firm. But in his opinion, the most important thing he got out of the program was time.
Fewer clients, less time, more money. That’s the story of The Neal Group.
Be Careful About What You Say Yes To...
Unfortunately, Jon learned this lesson in his personal life and in his work life. Always looking to help someone in need, he decided to loan the money for his payroll taxes to help a trucker get out of a tough spot. Quickly enough, the government caught up to him and he was forced to step away from his firm for five months.
For any firm owner, this would be tough, but for Jon, who was currently experiencing record revenue highs, it was devastating. It also exposed some weaknesses in the firm’s operations. Namely, The Neal Group couldn’t run without Jon overseeing everything. And amidst this turbulence, Jon lost the person he had been grooming to be a partner. With more on his plate than several people could handle and no clear path forward the firm’s revenue fell for the first time in years… by a substantial margin. From over a million dollars to just over $600,000… it was a tough time.
Maintenance to Movement
“I’ve been doing this for 45 years, what are you going to teach me?”
Back with a full head of steam, Jon found himself trying to fix every part of their processes at the same time. They were getting things done here and there, but they didn’t have a focused mission, and it was holding them back. And with a 10-person team made up primarily of CPAs, the firm was an expensive venture to fund. In the hopes of reigniting their 7-figure highs, they were accepting any and all clients. But something was still missing.
Every time the firm grew, so did its costs. The firm was stuck in maintenance mode. For the first time, they were playing from behind. Jon couldn’t generate the forward momentum they needed to experience record profits because he was worried about everything else. Jon had tried other programs before he found the Create Your Dream Firm program. But the Create Your Dream Firm program was the only one that “walked the walk.”
Talked the Talk AND Walked The Walk
“If They Could Walk Through The Door, We Would Take Them.”
What could this program possibly teach someone who had been a successful accounting professional for decades? It’s a fair question and one that was bouncing around inside Jon Neal’s head. But he soon realized that this was a program that gave advice AND the guidelines to execute it. The first piece of advice Jon followed was to delegate to his team.
For some reason, delegation is often associated with a loss of quality, but Jon quickly found that it was quite the opposite. He downsized his team to just a few members he could trust and turned over the responsibility of some of his daily tasks to them. In conjunction with new automated processes (also implemented through the program), this allowed Jon the time to focus on their biggest problem: costs increasing in tandem with growth.
Focused & Fired
“We can still do the same amount of revenue with less people, if we have the systems and procedures in place.”
Jon was done taking on anyone and everyone. And most importantly, he was done lowballing them just to get their business. His firm was wasting time chasing down information and inputting last-minute data. He fired two problem clients worth about 24K a year, each. Believe it or not, this was the best thing he did for his firm. Because it made room for higher value, dream clients.
And Jon was surprised to find that those clients, thanks to the lead generation system he implemented in our program, were waiting just around the corner.
How did he know they were his dream clients? Because of his newfound time, he was also able to specifically outline his dream clients. He niched up in the restaurant space and quickly became the go-to accountant for several restaurant chains. And instead of focusing on year-end tax resolution, he increased the value of his services by transitioning to an advisory firm, providing bookkeeping and tax services. The addition of bookkeeping built a base of trust with his clients and ensured accurate numbers, putting him in the ideal position to provide financial advice.
The Neal Group Today
“I am keeping more money…. But more importantly, the time factor.”
Reappropriating the owner, Jon’s, time, was the biggest step this firm took. It gave Jon the opportunity to focus on high-level growth and development processes. And with this time and some help from the Create Your Dream Firm program, he identified and eliminated the firm’s biggest obstacles to growth, nightmare clients and an overwhelmed owner. With all these new changes came the return of the 7-figure year. Even after firing two of their biggest clients, they were able to increase revenue by 15%.
“Last year, we did about 1.1 million”
It also gave Jon the time to pursue some passion projects. Although his generous nature had gotten him into trouble before, he still had the desire to help. He formed a sister firm called “Right Choice Tax Resolution Services” to help those who were in over their head with late and owed tax payments. He also spent some time writing a book about his experience with tax struggles, in an attempt to help others avoid them but also to show how he turned them around.
We helped Jon change the way his firm operated by leveraging technology, changing what they were offering, and moving towards a more profitable model that doesn’t require as much expertise. At the end of the day, this allows Jon’s firm to enjoy record profits. And it allows Jon to enjoy 35-hour work weeks in the midst of tax season and trips to Cancun.