it-help-atlanta-podcast-episode-6

Episode #6:
Alison Jones, Paul Masters, and Lee Jamison

IT Help Atlanta Podcast Presented by TeamLogic

The following is a transcript of Episode 6 of the IT Help Atlanta presented by TeamLogic IT podcast. All episodes of the podcast can be found on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Announcer: Broadcasting from the “Business RadioX” studios in Atlanta. It’s time for “IT Help Atlanta” brought to you by Team Logic IT, your technology advisor. Now, here’s your host, Rick Higgins.

Rick: Welcome, and good morning everyone, to the “IT Help Atlanta” radio show. The show that the profiles small to mid-market businesses and highlights how those companies use technology to succeed. “IT Help Atlanta” is brought to you by Team Logic IT, your manage services advisor, specializing in cybersecurity and cloud solutions. Team Logic IT leverages cutting edge technology to solve all types of business problems. We make technology work for business. Go to IT Help Atlanta for audio archives of this radio show and to learn more about our sponsor Team Logic IT. I’m your host, Rick Higgins, and today’s special guests are Alison Jones, president and owner of LeVino Jones Medical Interiors, Paul Masters, CEO, and owner of Anago Cleaning Systems of Atlanta and Lee Jamison of Jamison Advising, a local CPA firm. Welcome, everybody.

Paul: Thanks for having me.

Rick: Yeah, really glad everybody’s here.

Lee: Yeah. Thanks.

Rick: We’re going to jump right in with the interview process and want to start with Alison. Alison, good morning.

Alison: Good morning, Rick. How are you?

Rick: Doing great. Thank you so much for being on the show. We really appreciate it.

Alison: My pleasure.

Rick: Tell us who you are and what do you do?

Alison: Well, as you mentioned, I’m the owner of LeVino Jones Medical Interiors. We design spaces for hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, doctors’ offices, medical spas, veterinary medicine, and any other kind of healthcare environment. Our firm’s been in practice for about 32 years, this year. We’ve designed about 11 million square feet of medical space. We’re involved in kind of both new and renovation projects across the country. And we do everything from, you know, full space planning and construction documents services to related things like furnishings, artwork signage.

Rick: How can you say you’ve been in business for 32 years when you’re only 29 years old?

Alison: It’s a time warp, isn’t it? Wonderful. Yeah.

Rick: Magic.

Alison: Yeah, magic. Thank you.

Rick: You know, I didn’t know that you guys had been doing it that long and that you had done 11 million square feet of space. That’s very impressive. And you’re not just doing design and implementation, but you’re doing space planning as well, right?

Alison: We are doing space planning and full construction documents. So, that’s the stuff that goes to the permit office gets approved and gets built from. So, those rolls of blueprints that you see people building from are what we do.

Rick: Do you have a…it doesn’t have to be anything recent, but do you have a success story that you’re particularly proud of that you’d like to share?

Alison: Yeah, this is a bit non-business related. But we’ve had the opportunity to, you know, be involved in some really fun pro bono work and they’re all related to medical projects that don’t have funding. And so, recently we’ve…I’ll tell you a few things we’ve worked on. You’ll get the flavor of it. We’ve done some space planning for an autism center, we’ve designed and sourced an accessible dream room for a group called Soared. And this dream bedroom was a, and bathroom was for a young lady through a group called Sunshine on a Rainy Day. We’ve designed the Dekalb Center for family protection, which is a building that serves as a safe place for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, child and elder abuse and human trafficking. And that was an incredible project. And we’ve also recently designed a beautiful video for awareness and fundraising for a group called the Center for Black Women’s Wellness. So, you know, those were success stories in a very emotional way.

Rick: Yeah. And I knew you did pro bono work. I just didn’t know you did that much. Good for you.

Alison: We’re going to try to keep our business alive and still do it. Yes.

Rick: I know. Well, I know [inaudible 00:04:47].

Alison: It’s a business model, right?

Rick: I know it’s fulfilling to you in more ways than just, you know, income and profitability. So, and I know that, or I assume, you tell me, but that’s probably a really good morale builder for your staff as well.

Alison: We all love it. It is a huge team builder.

Rick: You’ve talked about the different types of space that you do, you know, with just not only hospitals, but doctors and whatnot. Is there anything outside of the medical community that you do? Are there any clients that still come to you and say, you know, “I want you to do this. I know this is not medical space, but I still want you to do this”?

Alison: You know, we do have that occasional request.” I’ve got a living room, or could you help me with my kitchen?” And to be honest, we do say, “Let us refer you to someone who does kitchens all day long. We are not going to be the most versed or up to date in that,” simply because we focus every day on something that’s quite different. But we could build you a surgical center in your living room. It wouldn’t work. Pick your options.

Rick: You can have it as long as it’s stainless steel, right?

Alison: Exactly.

Rick: So, here we are. It’s July 22nd and we’re in, I guess, say the fifth, depending on how you do your math, the fifth month of the COVID worldwide pandemic. Can we talk a little bit about how that’s affected your company, how you were forced to pivot if at all, and maybe even try to be a little bit of a spin Gallian predict what you see for Q3 coming up for 2020?

Alison: Yeah, that’s really tough to predict ahead. What we have seen is quite interesting. We have been called in to several existing clients who are trying to retrofit their offices just for safe practices. So, if any of you have been to a doctor’s office recently, you’ll notice you may have had to wait in the parking lot to be called in, or that when you got there, your temperature was taken or you had to sit in the waiting room, six feet away, you know, maybe the chairs are taped off or perhaps they’re turned backwards. One way traffic is becoming a very big factor in medical visits, whether it’s to a hospital or to a medical clinic. So, we have actually been doing quite a bit of work assisting others with those practical features of their existing office or new offices. And many are planning, new offices taking into account that things may look this way for a while.

Rick: Well, you know, as much as a dumpster fire as 2020 has been for the whole world in the business community, your business, which focuses on medical is, I’m not going to say recession-proof, because I don’t want to jinx you or anything like that, but you guys are definitely in positioned and in the right place at the right time for this type of a weird business scenario, I guess there’s no question on that. I’m just making a [inaudible 00:08:23].

Alison: Yeah, it’s interesting. We have not been involved in any of the popup hospitals. Those seem to be a bit more government-driven, but that was also very interesting to watch.

Rick: Got you. So, business owner for 32 years. Good for you. You know, there’s a lot of entrepreneurs out there who would be happy to take 32 months or even 32 weeks, but 32 years. That’s impressive. Thinking back on the years in terms of either professional or personal fulfillment, what has been a surprise for you? What has been something that you’ve realized that you didn’t really think about going in, if you can think back that long?

Alison: I think two things, two surprises. One is how technology would jump so far ahead and enable us to do better work remotely, to do better work on CAD drawings, to do virtual meetings. I mean, this is the way we work today and it’s the way we worked a couple of years ago. And so, technology has been a huge surprise because we actually just, I mean, we couldn’t see it coming. We didn’t know what it was going to look like. I remember John smiling, but I remember our first fax machine and we plugged it in and someone sent us a fax and we all stood around and watched something print out and we were in awe, you know, so, it just shows you how far things have come and how technology has just really aided our business and allowed us to do much better work in a quicker fashion and have better records.

Rick: And to go paperless at least as much as anybody can. I’ve been struggling with myself. I mean, I still want to have…I’m sitting here with paper and pen. I still want to become paperless, but that’s a challenge, right?

Alison: It is for us as well.

Rick: So, in ongoing growth and professional learning, how do you stay on top of those things? Does the architecture industry have required continuing ed of any sort?

Alison: Correct. So, we are required a particular number of CEUs every year. And that is for each of the organizations that we belong to. So, if we belong to the state board of architects, interior design component, we have a certain number of CEUs that are required to keep for us to keep our NCI DQ, which is our certification. We practice evidence-based design. So, that has a certain number of CEUs that are required. If you’re lead accredited, you have different CEUs and so forth. So, we certainly spend a lot of time learning.

Rick: Yeah. That’s…you just…you can’t overinvest in that area. And I know it’s not just you, but it’s your entire staff.

Alison: That’s right. Yes.

Rick: So, interesting question here that I always like to ask a little bit introspective, but what’s an aspect of your business that people don’t tend to think about but that you wish people would ask you about?

Alison: Yeah. I love this question. It’s how long do things take? So, the question is if at the onset people said, how long does it take to get through the process of designing a medical clinic, getting it permitted, getting it bid, getting the documents complete, getting it built? Our answer would surprise them. Things take much longer than you would think. And so, the process of really good design takes a while, and it’s never accounted for. So, if people were to ask us, “Oh, I’m thinking of building a clinic,” the next question might be, how long will this take? Because it’s such a surprising answer when you sit down and look at it on paper.

Rick: Right. Well, Alison, I know you’re super-duper busy and I want to wrap up with you, but before I do, do you have any questions for me?

Alison: I would like to ask you, Rick, what do you love about your business supporting interior designers?

Rick: I think the, well, thanks, and full disclosure to the audience out there, Alison is a client of ours at Team Logic IT, and I guess we’re coming up on over three years now, right?

Alison: Yeah. You guys are awesome.

Rick: Thank you. I think the answer is more general than specific. And that is what I like best about what I do is interacting with companies like yours, to learn all the different ways that small business people make money and how you find your clients and what your business problems are and what we can do to help you with those technology solutions to solve those business problems. But thank you for that. Thank you for that very much.

Alison: And you actually do ask us that quite frequently, so we appreciate it. Thanks for having us.

Rick: Good. So, and thank you. So, tell the audience how to get in touch with you. How do we find you?

Alison: Yeah. Our website is levinojones.com and our phone number is 404-459-9411.

Rick: Thanks, Alison.

Alison: Enjoyed it. Thank you.

Rick: Thank you so much for your appearance this morning on the show. So, next we’d like to talk to Paul Masters, CEO and founder and owner of Anago Cleaning Systems. Good morning, Paul.

Paul: Hey, Rick. Good morning.

Rick: How are you?

Paul: I’m fantastic. How are you today?

Rick: Good. I feel like we’ve been spending a lot of time together recently, and I’m sure by now you’re completely sick of me.

Paul: I got my hair cut like yours today because of this appearance.

Rick: All right. Well, I’m sorry to tell you we’re only going to be broadcasting audio and no video. So, like I like to say, I steal another one of my friend’s comments and that is that I have the face for radio.

Paul: Oh, good one.

Rick: So, tell us who you are and what do you do, Paul?

Paul: Sure. So, I’m Paul Masters. I am the owner and CEO of Anago Cleaning Systems. We are a professional commercial cleaning service provider here in Atlanta. We, on any given night have about 200 facilities that we’re responsible for cleaning and it’s a 100% commercial, ranges from general office. We have a lot of medical clients, financial institutions, religious institutions, and educational facilities are kind of our four main buckets.

Rick: So, let’s dive a little bit deeper into that. You call yourself a cleaning company. You know, what’s a differentiator between a cleaning company and a maid service, for example?

Paul: Well, so, we refer to ourselves as a professional cleaning service provider. And to us, that means about four things. It means the training that we invest in our franchise owners, it means the tools, the processes and the chemicals that they use. And that’s I think a distinctive that you see from just a general maid service that’s emptying trash cans and cleaning toilets. There’s a lot more to it than that.

Rick: Yeah. And I imagine with where we are in the throes of the COVID pandemic that you’re working, you know, 30 hours a day, trying to combat and learn and educate and then downstream educate your franchisees as well. Am I correct?

Paul: That’s such a big part of what we’ve been doing the last, you know, call it four months, which is, you know, our clients are looking to us for best practices on infection control and that’s quite different than what they looked to us for, you know, five or six months ago. So, our role has changed, you know, our visibility and significance to our clients have changed. And that is a good thing, but it’s also put a ton more pressure on us, you know, in just in terms of making sure that we have the latest information, latest and best practices, you know, it’s humbling, but we’re also glad to play a much bigger role in the lives of our clients in their facilities than we did before.

Rick; Have you had any clients with employees who’ve tested positive for COVID?

Paul: Yes, we have. And so, a lot of what we’ve been doing the last several months is responding to, call it an emergency type of situation where an employee or a guest tested positive, the facility has been closed. It cannot be reopened until, you know, the folks there certified that the facility has been disinfected. And so, you know, we’re almost like firemen in a little bit of a sense and that we’ve got to be ready to show up, you know, within a couple of hours’ notice really to help, you know, give our clients comfort to know that the building is disinfected and they can reopen and they can start generating revenue again. So, it’s a very serious matter

Rick: Paul, I’ve known you for a long time and it’s no surprise to me, although it’ll be an interesting surprise to the audience to know that even with what we’ve going on with the dumpster fire that has been 2020 in Q2 in particular, that you’ve still grown your business. How did you do that?

Paul: Dumb luck. I mean, honestly, it just… Who knew that, you know, probably one of the lowest commodity type of services of janitorial would become one of the most important services that a company could need here in these four months of ensuring for their employees and their guests that the facility is clean and disinfected and safe to be in every day? So, I wish, you know, like you were talking about a minute ago, I wish that we could have predicted that, but it’s just one of those things, right place, right time.

Rick: And yet at the same time, I’m guessing that you’ve got a significant amount of pent up pipeline for stuff that’s been put on hold from offices being shut down. Is that correct?

Paul: Yes. That is kind of the interesting flip side to this is, you know, some clients closed their businesses March 13th, 14th, haven’t reopened, and really have no plans to reopen, you know, at least for the foreseeable future. So, it’s been an interesting mix of lots of calls for services. And at the same time, you know, a significant number of our clients needing to close their facility for weeks and months.

Rick: Do you have a particular success story that you’re proud of? And this doesn’t have to be anything that’s happened recently or even as part of the pandemic scenario.

Paul: Yeah, I would say probably one of our…the most recent client that I’m proudest of is we were able to take over the nightly cleaning of 150,000 square feet of medical office buildings. And we were able to demonstrate our value to the property management firm there. But I’m also really proud of the property management firm because they took quite as traditionally kind of a low-budget cost center item to them and really wanted to create value for their tenants, you know, which are physicians in their buildings and wanted to make it a place where they placed a premium on the cleanliness and health of those environments as opposed to just cutting corners and trying to squeeze another dollar or two out of the profit of that building.

Rick: Is, you know, we’ve talked about some of the specifics of the types of clients and it’s no surprise to me that you’re doing a lot of medical interior stuff. Is there any limitations to who you’re able to work for or willing and want to work for you, or is just that anybody that has physical space that needs to be clean?

Paul: Yeah. There are a few types of facilities where we feel like those aren’t really our sweet spots. It’s pretty limited, but two that come to mind are restaurants. We don’t tend to do well in restaurants just because it’s seven days a week. It’s 2:00 in the morning. There’s a lot of kind of subtleties to it that we just aren’t really equipped for. And then, you know, the 50 or 75 storey office building in downtown Atlanta is really kind of a different environment than our cost model allows us to be effective for the property management company and the tenants there.

Rick: So, Paul, you’ve got a vast wealth of experience and as both an entrepreneur and working for some the largest corporate structured companies that there are, I don’t want to make any assumptions about what you prefer, but talk to me about those differences and, you know, what you prefer and why you prefer it.

Paul: Yeah. You know, the good Lord made us all different, right? And so, I’m thankful that some people like to be in small environments, some people like to be in large environments. I had a little bit of a unique experience going from corporate to entrepreneurial back to corporate and then back to entrepreneurial. And I much prefer the entrepreneurial environment. You know, I feel like there’s, you know, kind of a direct, I see everybody nodding their heads. The thing that I’ve realized, two things that I realized I missed being in the corporate environment after being in an entrepreneurial environment for so long is the direct cause and effect of you seeing what you were able to accomplish to move the business forward that day. I missed that in a multi-hundred million dollar multinational corporation, you know, a million dollar deal was a rounding error for them, you know, here a million-dollar deal, we’re closing up shop early and everybody’s going out to celebrate because that’s huge.

And then I think the other thing that maybe it was more implied or perceived on my part, but I realized that I’d be willing to trade a lot of things to be in control of my time. And I missed that being in a corporate environment. And so, I’m glad to be back in a place where, you know, you work as much as you have to and need to and want to, but you’re still largely in control of your time. And as you get older, that becomes worth a lot of money to you, you’d be willing to give up a lot of stuff to be in control of your time, I think. And so, I missed that and I’m glad to be back in a situation where I have that back in my control.

Rick: So, we have a lot of entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs listening and both now and in the future for recordings and it’s a really good message to them. And that’s something that they may not even think about going in and deciding that they want to do something like found a small business. Thank you for that. Thank you for that, Paul.

Paul: My pleasure.

Rick: This is one of my favorite questions. What is an aspect of your business that people don’t tend to think about but that you wish people would ask you about?

Paul: So, our cover letter to our clients when we deliver proposals to them, the first sentence is that the Centers, now this is pretty COVID, of course, but the Centers for Disease Control says that U.S. corporations lose a combined $200 billion a year due to workplace absenteeism. And so, a lot of that is that people are going to work in dirty buildings and they’re getting sick because of it. And so, the one question I wish our clients would ask is how can your service help make me money? Because they look at us as, you know, sort of a necessary evil, you’ve got to have the trash emptied every night, but we really believed when we do our job and we create a clean, healthy, and productive environment for our clients that we put, you know, a portion of that $200 billion back in their pockets because their employees are coming to work in a clean building every day. So, that’s the one thing I wish we could sort of flip that paradigm for our clients is not to look at us necessarily as a cost center, but we really believe that we can be a profit center for them when we do what we’re supposed to.

Rick: Those kinds of savings, you know, even though they’re soft costs, they’re real. Those are real bottom-line things that go to profit. You know, as part of your value proposition of what you guys do, I would be touting that with bullhorns if I could. All right. So, let’s wrap up, Paul. Tell the audience how to get in touch with you. How do we find you?

Paul: Yeah, you can check out our website at www.anagoatl.com. That’s anagoatl.com. You can reach us also at 770-612-1750.

Rick: Paul, thanks for being here with us this morning.

Paul: Always good to be with you. Thanks, Rick.

Rick: Yeah. All right. Let’s pivot to our last but not least guest Lee Jamison of Jamison Advising. Good morning, Lee.

Lee: Good morning, Rick. Thanks for having me on today.

Rick: How are you?

Lee: Doing well.

Rick: So, my standard question, right? Tell us who you are and what do you do, Lee?

Lee: Yeah. So, my name’s Lee Jamison. I’m a CPA. I’ve been a CPA for about 10 years now and recently launched my own firm, Jamison Advising. And so, what we do is we help small to medium-sized business owners really reduce their tax liability, help them outsource their accounting so they can often save money in that area. And then, you know, also provide just business advisory services so they can understand their financials, how it’s working, how to increase profitability. And so, that’s really the three main core things that we do.

Lee: So, is it both business and individuals? Is that what you said?

Lee: Yeah. I do do individuals taxes, but obviously because when you have business owners, like they’re not only going to have to do their business taxes, but they’ll do their individual taxes as well. Kind of our sweet spot is more for those business owners, just because there’s more value that we can bring whereas on the individual tax side of things, usually, it’s just, you know, inputting numbers into a system and generating a tax return and it’s just really data input there, so…

Rick: Is there any one or two types of businesses that you specialize in? Vertical industries, I should say?

Lee: Yeah, so my practice is fairly new. I’ve been doing this full time for almost six months now, but typically service-based businesses I work really well with and that’s a lot of the companies that I’ve been picking up lately. So, anyone from, you know, electricians to, you know, chiropractors, any type of construction business is a great business. Usually, those people, they’re great at what they do, right? Like I’m onboarding an electrician this week. And so, like he’s an unbelievable electrician really knows what he’s doing, but he’s just never run a business before. And so, the accounting side of things, the tax side of things, they just really need a lot of advice in those areas. And I can come in and just bring a lot of value I’ve found.

Rick: And correct me if I’m wrong, but you provide bookkeeping services as well. Is that correct?

Lee: Correct. Yes. So, really the tax bookkeeping and kind of business advisory.

Rick: Got you. And how are you finding your clients? What’s your…I know lots of, probably lots of different ways, but what’s your best, and what’s your favorite way that you’re finding clients?

Lee: Yeah. I mean, really networking is the best. I love to network and meet a ton of people. Just tell them what I’m doing for folks. Because I found that there’s a, there’s a huge demand out there for small business owners in this area. Because they really do need a lot of help. And honestly, there’s not a ton of folks out there that kind of do what I do. At least that are my age. I’m in my young 30s, early 30s. So, a lot of the CPA’s and accountants my age are kind of working for, you know, large public accounting firms or kind of on the corporate side of things. And they’re…a lot of accountants aren’t very entrepreneurial and don’t have the ambitions to kind of own their own business, if you will. So, there’s not many of me running around town.

Rick: So, you’ve been in it long enough that you’ve got some, you know, some spilled milk under the bridge, so to speak, as we like to say, but what do you like best about being a small business owner compared to what you were doing before? Has there been surprises for you that are…pleasant surprises, I should say?

Lee: Yeah. I mean, the thing I enjoy most is working with these small business owners. It’s just something that they’re so passionate about because they enjoy what they do. They want to grow their business, they want to provide value to their customers. And I’m the same way. Like I want to grow my business, I want to provide an unbelievable value to my customers. And so, I think there’s just that common bond of, “Hey, we’re both kind of entrepreneurial in a sense and how can we help each other out? How can we have a mutually beneficial relationship?” Is really what I enjoy most.

Rick: What ways, if any, has the COVID situation caused you to pivot and how are you dealing with that?

Lee: Yeah, so I actually lost…so, I’ve had this business plan for probably about 8 to 10 months now and had kind of had it in the background, in the works. And so, my official last day at my corporate job was March 13th. And that is the Friday where like literally everything shut down the next week. So, it was very interesting, I remember sitting there with my boss on my last day and he was like, “Hey, you know, you sure you don’t want to just hang on here for like two or three more months?” And while it was a little bit scary, you know, I’m just a firm believer like it would’ve just been a short term gain for a longterm loss, right? So, this time has allowed me to just focus on things that are required to build my business.

And like I had expected that, you know, my income, my revenue was going to be low for, you know, a couple of months, you know, it’s kind of a slow gain in my business. But I’m so blessed. I feel like that I’ve done very well in this time. So, I’m very blessed with that. Now, the COVID situation, it’s affected a lot of the businesses that I work with. So, I was nervous, you know, right off the bat that when all this stuff was happening, I was like, “Oh my goodness. You know, maybe a couple of my clients are going to leave me because they may, you know, they may think they can’t afford me or something like that.” And I remember a couple of clients just telling me, “Hey, you know, like I need you more than ever right now.”

And that really validated for me, just what I’m doing for these folks and how much they value me and the value that I bring to them. So, that’s been kind of one of the interesting situations in all this. But they’ve had a lot of questions to answer as well. A lot of the PPP loans and EIDL loans and helping them guide them through that process. I’ve kind of done that, you know, for a bonus for most clients, just because, you know, they need me for these things. So, that’s been interesting learning all that information. But like I said, I feel truly blessed how I have done in these first few months.

Rick: And you got ongoing continuing ed requirements for your licensing as well, correct?

Lee: Correct.

Rick: And then on top of all that you’ve had to drink from the PPP and the EIDL [inaudible 00:36:19]. What’s that been like?

Lee: Yeah. CPAs actually has to do about 40 hours of CPE a year. So, if you put it all to the last minute, it can get overwhelming.

Rick: Yeah. And what’s it been like to get the PPP stuff, for instance? I mean, my experience with that is that every other day they were changing their guidelines, it seem like.

Lee: Yeah, they have been…the unfortunate thing is, you know, they kind of changed a lot of these rules here in the last few weeks. And, you know, the initial period was that eight-week period where businesses had to spend the funds on certain things in that first eight weeks. And then they changed the rules from, “Hey, it had to be 75% payroll to 60% payroll.” And now you don’t have 8 weeks, but you have 24 weeks. So, it’s like, but when they instituted those changes a lot of companies had already gone to that eight-week cycle. So, it’s like, you know, it’s kind of interesting. I mean, especially for, you know, businesses like a restaurant or things like that, they may have got those PPP funds and they just, you know, gave the money to their employees and they just weren’t really doing anything. So, you know, it’s kind of an interesting program from that sense that some of these businesses that got the money, they probably just paid it out and then they may still be in really rough shape afterwards and just have to make those decisions after the eight-week period.

Rick: Right. Now, and talking to you, you’ve mentioned two different kinds of things associated with tax, you’ve mentioned tax preparation and tax planning. What are the differences there and why are the differences important?

Lee: Yeah. Good question. So, I think when most people think of their CPA, they think of like, “Oh yeah, I’ve got a CPA. They prepare my taxes every year.” And so, that’s what I found the typical CPA relationship is, they, you know, will sit down with them once a year when they prepare their taxes and they may answer a few questions for them, but there’s not really any ongoing support, if you will. So, typically, the relationship I have with clients is it’s just more of a consultative approach where, you know, I’ll handle their accounting, all their tax planning and things like that. And so, when I do that, when I know all the ins and outs of their business, I’m just able to provide much better advice, especially from a tax planning standpoint, a business advisory standpoint. We’ll typically meet on a quarterly basis and go over all these things.

So, usually, tax planning is not included in like a typical tax prep service, if you will. And so, I sit down with a lot of business owners at the beginning, I’m like, “Hey, you know, I found a couple of really cool strategies that could potentially save you a few thousand dollars in taxes.” And they’re like, “You know, I’ve never had this conversation before just because I’ve just been sitting down in my seat. Like I just have someone that prepares my taxes every year.” And so, while it’s great that they had someone prepare their taxes, sometimes, they may pay me a significant amount of money more, but between tax savings and hopefully, getting their business a little more profitable, I can typically, and this isn’t always the case, but I can typically almost pay for myself. So, it’s kind of like a great win-win situation where, hey, now they’ve got kind of a full-time CPA that they’re meeting with quarterly, that they’re being proactive on their taxes, and like I’m able to pay for myself. So, they’re getting all these other services like bookkeeping and business advisory services basically for free. So, that’s an awesome situation when that happens.

Rick: Lee, this is not about me, but this is going to be for you. I had a client tell me that, I’m going to get this quote wrong, but it’s something like this, “IT is the one thing I spend that I spend money on that makes me money.” So, with respect to tax planning, you’re welcome to use that tagline.

Lee: Yeah, for sure.

Rick: I’m thinking about incorporating that into my marketing materials as well.

Lee: Yeah. I mean, the thing with tax planning is typically I’ll sit down… Like, I had this conversation the other day, I showed them, I was like, “You know, hey, if we were working together back in 2018, I probably could have saved you like, you know, 10 grand in taxes.” But now that, like, when it’s four months after the year and you’re preparing your taxes, usually it’s very difficult to come up with situations where you can really pull and to save money on taxes. So, that’s why you’ve got to be really proactive with it.

Rick: We’re getting a little bit of digital garble from you there, Lee. But it looks like it’s cleared up, but let’s just power through it. My favorite question, what’s an aspect of your business that people don’t tend to think about but that you wish people would ask you about?

Lee: Yeah. I think it goes back to what I was talking about earlier. You know, a lot of clients will just be like, “Hey, how much is this going to cost?” And then a lot of times that’s not the right question to ask. It’s like, “Hey, how much value can I bring?” So, between, so yeah, a lot of times what I cost is much more than what they may have paid for like just tax preparation services or something in the past. But what I found is the confidence that these business owners have after working with me for a few months. They’re glad to pay that higher price just for a more premium service. So, that’s the question I would love folks to ask me more like, “Hey, what can you do for me? Like what kind of value can you bring to my business?” I position myself as like, “Hey, I’m on your team. I really want to help you and your business grow.”

Rick: Well, isn’t that also something…don’t you have a service line, you call outsourced CFO or a fractional CFO. Don’t you do that?

Lee: Correct. That’s that business advisory service that I was kind of talking about earlier. So, sometimes that is meeting, usually, it’s meeting on a quarterly basis, but it can be meeting on a monthly basis if the clients want that. Yeah.

Rick: Let’s wrap up Lee, tell the audience how to get in touch with and find you.

Lee: Yeah. So, my website is jamisonadvising.com. You can find me there. You can get in contact with me there. If you want to call or text me number 770-8-5536.

Rick: That broke up a little bit on the digital garble. I’m going to repeat that. 770-858-5536 for Lee and email is lee@jamisonadvising.com, lee@jamisonadvising.com. Thank you so much, Lee.

Lee: All right. Appreciate it, Rick. Thanks for having me.

Rick: Yeah. So, that’s a wrap, folks. I’m Rick Higgins and for my guests, Alison Jones of LeVino Jones Medical Interiors, Paul Masters of Anago Cleaning Systems of Atlanta, and Lee Jamison of Jamison Advising. Thank you so much. Join us next time on IT Help Atlanta.