Posts Tagged ‘newsletter’

Do You Need to Pivot? — Adapt to the Market

By Tom Sponsel, CPA/ABV, CFF
Managing Partner
tsponsel@sponselcpagroup.com

Life doesn’t always go as planned, especially in the business world. But don’t be afraid of change! Use any detour or setback as a springboard toward new and exciting opportunities. As the year slowly draws to a close, you may want to ask yourself if your business needs to pivot in a different direction — which may include changes in product or services, marketplace, management, salesforce, maybe even the go forward vision for your company!

Many companies have done this with great success. Take PayPal, for instance. After operating as a subsidiary of eBay for more than a decade, it went on to thrive as an independent company. It changed its business model to attract users across multiple platforms outside of the eBay auction community. It smoothly stepped out of eBay’s shadow and formed its own identity.

Ash & Elm Cider Co., the start-up business featured in this month’s client profile, also adapted in a similar way. The founders, Aaron and Andréa Homoya, originally wanted to tap into the craft beer industry. But as they saw it crowding the market in Indianapolis, they decided to stand out by making and selling hard cider instead. (Read more about them and their company here.)

Other companies that successfully changed their business models include: Yamaha, which started as a piano company and went on to manufacture motorcycles, car engines, boats and more; Nokia, whose roots as a paper mill grew into the start of a mobile communications brand; and Abercrombie & Fitch, which detoured from sporting goods to focus on selling clothes. These are just a few of the many examples of booming businesses that have evolved for the better.

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t stubbornly stick to your initial vision if your results are disappointing — a brighter opportunity may be around the corner. Strive for innovation and challenge the status quo. And most importantly, prepare for failure. But don’t think of it as a final step — it’s just part of the pathway toward success.

This advice is very true for “start–ups,” which are trying to bootstrap their way to financial stability, as well as mature companies. Do you recall that IBM (the largest mainframe computer company at the time) thought the personal computer was not going to be an acceptable product in the marketplace and left the marketplace wide open for young startups at the time — like Dell!

Be OPEN to the PIVOT: Listen to your customers and the marketplace!

If we can assist you further with achieving success in your business or personal affairs, please contact Tom Sponsel at (317) 608-6691 or email tsponsel@sponselcpagroup.com.

Client Profile: Ash & Elm Cider Co.

Ash Elm & Cider Co. is a relatively new family business run by the husband and wife team of Aaron and Andréa Homoya. After roughly two years of planning, they opened the craft cidery in the summer of 2016.

Aaron, the chief fermentation officer, has been brewing beer at home for more than a decade. But as the craft beer industry seemed to be crowding the market in Indy, he and Andréa decided to shift their focus to hard cider. A particularly tasty cider they tried in Ireland inspired them to start making their own. And they wanted to stand out from the local competition.

“No one in Indianapolis was making craft cider the way we wanted to, and as a category, cider was really becoming a lot more popular nationwide,” Andréa said. “The skills transferred pretty well between brewing and cider-making, so we decided to go for it.”

Aaron kept his day job as an electrical engineer, moonlighting as the manager of Ash & Elm’s cider-making process. As CEO, Andréa oversees the daily operations, making sure everything in the tasting room and kitchen runs smoothly and working with local bars and restaurants to get the company’s ciders on taps and retail shelves all around town.

Everything at Ash & Elm is local — from the Indiana-grown apples used to make the ciders to the meats and cheeses on its delicious pressed sandwiches. Aaron and Andréa take pride in the company’s Hoosier roots.

The Homoyas’ relationship with Sponsel CPA Group began when Ash & Elm was still in its infancy.

“Our lawyer, Dave Castor, recommended Sponsel back when we were still a business in planning,” Andréa said. “We were looking to secure some bank financing and needed help with our business projections. We hired Sponsel to help us with that project, and then we decided to continue the relationship after finding them great to work with and very knowledgeable.”

Ash & Elm continues to grow and thrive. Keep an eye out for its upcoming seasonal ciders — pumpkin, raspberry and winter spice. Click here to learn more about the company.

Employee Spotlight: Philip Jackson

Not to be confused as the former professional basketball coach, Philip Jackson is a new Manager in our firm’s Tax Services department. He is also a CPA with more than 20 years of experience in public accounting in assisting businesses, individuals and not-for-profits through tax consulting and compliance services. A University of Indianapolis graduate with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, Philip enjoys explaining tax considerations and options to keep clients informed of current and potential tax regulations. This allows him to proactively provide knowledge and expertise from a tax planning perspective.

Having experience with clients in a wide variety of industries and sizes allows Philip to focus on a business’s specific needs and tailor the various solutions accordingly. This industry experience includes manufacturing, real estate, professional services and healthcare, to name just a few. Philip also has experience and interest working with technology companies and startups to provide business entity selection considerations and financial guidance.

As Chairman of the Indiana CPA Society’s Tax Resource Advisory Council and member of the Indiana Commissioner’s Tax Advisory Council, Philip works with federal and state taxing authorities as an advocate for clients and the public regarding various tax matters. In addition, he contributes his time as the leader of the All Pro Dad’s program for a community school, founded by former Indianapolis Colts head coach, Tony Dungy.

Philip’s wife is a fourth grade elementary school teacher and has two children, Katherine (age 12) and Thomas (age 7). When he’s not crunching numbers, Philip enjoys attending his children’s school and extracurricular activities, watching movies, following politics and traveling.

To Be Successful, You Must Be Intentional

By Tom Sponsel, CPA/ABV, CFF
Managing Partner
tsponsel@sponselcpagroup.com

Some leaders seem to simply have a golden touch. But success is no accident. The best leaders don’t stumble into it — they take a specific path. Here’s how you can follow suit.

Don’t be afraid of failure. Learn from it! The best leaders treat failure as a launching pad rather than a roadblock. In other words, fail forward. Figure out what didn’t work, determine what you can do to improve and keep pushing to achieve your goals. Keep in mind that you may need to modify those goals along the way.

Be intentional. Operate in a deliberate manner. Effective leaders come to decisions through careful and extensive analysis. They always ask questions and hold themselves and their team members accountable. They keep track of goals, evaluate progress and sometimes even bring in a third party to oversee the company’s practices with a fresh set of eyes.

Maintain a healthy balance. Great leaders seamlessly juggle personal and professional responsibilities. And they never lose sight of their long-term goals in and outside of the office. They have a specific vision for their work and home lives.

Whatever kind of leader you are — manager, supervisor, CEO, etc. — and whatever sort of business you’re in, this advice applies to you. Hopefully it helps you on your path to success!

If we can assist you further with achieving success in your business or personal affairs, please contact Tom Sponsel at (317) 608-6691 or email tsponsel@sponselcpagroup.com.

Making Your Staff Better than You

By Lisa Purichia
Partner, Director of Entrepreneurial Services & Employee Benefit Services
lpurichia@sponselcpagroup.com

A leader is only as strong as the team behind them. With just a few months before the end of the year, now is a good time to evaluate your staff and determine areas in need of improvement. Listed below are some tips to help you get started on the path toward strengthening your team and your company as a whole.

In the long run, taking these steps will enhance your ability to achieve desired results and make you a better leader as well. Most successful leaders surround themselves with a diverse, skilled group that in many cases encompasses individuals who have select skills that are better than the leader’s in certain tasks. But the group’s collective skills ultimately enhance the team’s ability to achieve success!

Listen closely! Ask your staff members about their goals within the company. Where do they hope to see themselves next month or next year? What do they want to improve? Raising these questions will let them know you care, but make sure your actions mirror your narrative and accordingly you will motivate them to be team players.

Invest in your people. Make sure they have all the necessary resources, including tools and training — not just in the beginning, but continuously throughout their time at the company. The current workplace environment mandates that your staff is continually enhancing their skills or learning new ones. Coach your employees and make them hungry to grow and thrive. But also be patient and give them the proper amount of runway and time to blossom. Focus on building upon the individual’s strengths and what they do well — don’t try and fit that square peg in a round hole!

Identify strengths and weaknesses. The most successful businesses have an effective talent management system for finding the BEST candidates to meet the company’s wide variety of needs. If there are competency gaps within your organization, perhaps you need to rethink hiring strategies, provide more training or assign certain tasks to different employees. You should ultimately strive to create an eclectic team. Diversity of thought and expertise breeds success.

If we can assist you with achieving success in your business through staff enhancement, please contact Lisa Purichia at (317) 608-6693 or email lpurichia@sponselcpagroup.com.

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