It’s Time for A Small Business “Tech Makeover”
New Web Series Highlights the Transformation of a Small Business Using QuickBooks Online Ecosystem
Mar. 14, 2016
A new reality web series shines a spotlight on the power of the QuickBooks’ ecosystem and how it can transform a small business. The series is comprised of 10 mini-episodes, each about 10 minutes in length and documents the transformation of Spirits on Bourbon under the leadership of Patricia Hendrix, CEO of Ten Key Business Solutions. Patricia is also a QuickBooks ProAdvisor and frequent partner of Woodard Consulting, the firm behind the series.
Joe Woodard, CEO and Founder of Woodard Consulting, wanted to tell the story of the thousands of QuickBooks ProAdvisors who support small business owners and help them leverage technology for their success, by showcasing how a consulting service can improve the lives of a small business with the right technology and information.
Viewers may remember Spirits on Bourbon and its owners, Steve Smith and Brad Bohannan, from “Bar Rescue” on Spike TV with host Jon Taffer. Taffer was the keynote speaker at Scaling New Heights 2015 and Woodard invited Bohannan and Smith on stage to talk with Taffer about their transformation. Given the relationship between Taffer and the owners of Spirits on Bourbon, Woodard decided to take the transformation that was started on “Bar Rescue” to a new level.
Taffer had managed to successfully turn Spirits on Bourbon around, but their total transformation was not complete. There was more work to be done to help the bar run more efficiently and profitably, including upgrading their current technology systems. The goal of implementing new software during “Tech Makeover” was to improve management capabilities for the bar owners while making it easier for them to share the necessary information with their CPA.
Moving forward, Woodard wanted someone that could continue the work that Taffer had already started. The web series was sure to be a high-profile engagement and he needed someone that would be successful and professional. Insert Hendrix, a tightly aligned Woodard Consulting partner with 20 years of experience.
“Patricia has a proven track record, and she’s certified on all of the technologies that were deployed. Every referral we’ve sent her way, she’s done an amazing job with, so naturally, it made her a good fit for the series and for Spirits on Bourbon. She doesn’t know how to fail,” said Woodard.
The second part of Spirits on Bourbon’s transformation actually began during Scaling New Heights. Woodard and Hendrix analyzed how the bar was currently using technology and interviewed team members to get an idea of their goals and what they needed to get to the next level.
Once they were on site, Hendrix decided that the first step was to put in a powerful wireless system to get Spirits on Bourbon working efficiently in the cloud. Once they had the system in place, Hendrix recommended the bar be moved to QuickBooks Online. The bar previously used QuickBooks Desktop, but there was a lot of time wasted waiting for Bohannan, Smith and their accountant to enter information. As a result, it could take almost a month for Bohannan and Smith to get updated information. By moving the bar’s books to QuickBooks Online and transitioning their accountant to use QuickBooks Online Accountant, Hendrix empowered Bohannan and Smith to make faster business decisions with real time data. This enabled their accountant to access and update their books at any time during the month without having to wait for information from the bar owners.
All of the solutions that were deployed integrate with QuickBooks Online, eliminating the need for double entry. Hendrix moved Spirits on Bourbon to QuickBooks Point of Sale, powered by Revel Systems. Data from the POS system, such as the End-of-Day Summary, is automatically updated and entered into QuickBooks Online, creating a daily information feed. She also moved the bar onto Intuit Payments, which automatically groups payments in QuickBooks Online to match the batches that post to the bank, saving what could be hours of reconciling work. She introduced scheduling software, When I Work, which allows management and employees to easily communicate and control schedules from their phones, as well as a smart receipt management system by NEAT to streamline the flow of information to their accountant – helping Bohannan and Smith stay organized.
“It’s not just about QuickBooks Point of Sale and process management. It’s about exemplifying QuickBooks Online as a hub of information in that every technology talks to QuickBooks Online directly – and sometimes to each other through QuickBooks. It becomes more than just a way to enter information and balance accounts. It’s about the whole QuickBooks ecosystem – Intuit, the small business, Intuit’s developer partners. And, ‘Tech Makeover’ really showcases this,” said Woodard.
From beginning to end, things moved exceptionally fast: filming for the entire first season took place just before Christmas and ended shortly thereafter. In order to minimize downtime for the business and account for filming logistics, Hendrix and Woodard needed to implement the entire project in a one-week period.
“The ‘Tech Makeover’ with Patricia, Brad and Steve was a very unique experience. For most small businesses and their accountants, a transformation will be an ongoing process over time. Things won’t change as quickly as they did in the show because our timetable was accelerated in ways that accountants and their clients shouldn’t (and, in many cases, won’t be able to) mimic,” said Woodard.
Filming may have taken place in a week, but Spirits on Bourbon’s transformation is ongoing. Woodard and Hendrix continue to work with Bohannan and Smith to improve their business operations, as well as determine the best way to continuously get data to their accountant in the most efficient way.
“A project like this just isn’t accomplished in a week. What we accomplished at Spirits on Bourbon in a week was amazing, but no ProAdvisor should realistically expect to deploy, debug and train so many solutions in a short timeframe. Overall, this was a tremendous success because we had great teams working together. But a significant ingredient to this success was the willingness on Steve’s and Brad’s part to accept new technology and understand there would be a disruption during the process,” said Hendrix.
Accounting professionals who are ready to transform their clients’ small businesses should ease their clients into any new technology, using a multiphase approach. They will have the same kind of impact on their clients that’s seen in the show if they are proactive, forward-looking and have the courage to lead their clients through, what Woodard calls, invasive change.
“It’s important to understand that not everything that invades or disrupts is bad. As trusted advisors, accountants need to be agents of positive change to not just keep their clients, which is what most professionals focus on. They also need to turn the focus to increasing wealth, which is more than just the bottom line. It’s the culture of the company. It’s work-life harmonization,” said Woodard.
The series is full of many more lessons for both ProAdvisors and small business owners. The show aims to show ProAdvisors there are tools and resources available to change the worlds of small business owners, such as Scaling New Heights and Woodard Institute – which were key tools Hendrix used to develop herself as a strategic advisor. The benefits achieved from helping their small business clients operate more efficiently can extend to the families of the owners and employees. An efficiently run business means less time spent putting out fires, which leads to a stress-free work environment.
“One of the most important concepts for accountants to understand is that we have to meet small business owners where they are and be extremely patient with their learning curve. It’s important to be genuinely empathetic with the fear, worry and anxiety that they are going to feel with this kind of change,” said Woodard. “I also hope small business owners watching ‘Tech Makeover’ are inspired to work more closely with their accounting professionals and to be more intentional in their communications.”
Small business owners who work on their business operations and look beyond the day-to-day needs can make their business run more efficiently. Working on their business tends to be small business owners’ biggest challenge, but if they can learn to make the necessary changes, they can enact that change within their entire organization.
“The biggest challenge for me was accepting and embracing the new technology. Before speaking with Joe and working with Patricia, I didn’t know all of the technology that was out there. There were so many facets to this – the different programs we use for scheduling, payroll, POS. It was overwhelming to take on at one time, but Patricia’s continued support made the whole process less intimidating,” said Smith. “There are a lot of products, but each can be adjusted to fit your needs. As a business owner, it’s important that you know what will work for your business. But if you’re not open-minded, even the best fit products won’t work for you.”
“What was most fascinating about this series was the psychology of the clients: not only were Steve and Brad open to change, but that same mindset resonated throughout their staff,” said Hendrix. “This underscores the importance of ProAdvisors really embodying that trusted advisor role to make sure their clients don’t ever feel alone, and they have someone they trust to make it all come together.”
Weekly episodes of “Tech Makeover” started airing on February 22 at www.woodard.com/broadcasts.