Our 10th Year Anniversary!


Thanks for the past 10 years!

Thanks for the past 10 years!

So this tax season was a little more challenging than anticipated; thus the reason this post is coming out in October.  Needless to say, back on September 14, 2005 Wilson Rogers & Company came into existence.  That means that 2015 marks 10 years of us being in business!  A lot has happened in that time frame.  So with this post, we thought we would not only recap our history, but just how we were able to make it that long.

So after years of Jared getting “hey, your’re an accountant, I have a tax question for you.” he and Aaronita Wilson decided to start a tax company.  “What are we going to call it?” was the question for a while.  “How about we call it Rogers Wilson” Aaronita would say.  “Nah, how about Wilson Rogers?” Jared replied.  “Kind of sounds like a person.  Some estately dude on a horse playing polo.  It also sounds like another tax company we know…”  And with that, Wilson Rogers & Company took form.

This was the first year that we actually started doing returns for pay.  Some of the key highlights:

  • Mr. Asberry becomes “client number one” by sending us his information.
  • Mr. Simpson becomes the first transmitted return as he was quicker to process than Mr. Asberry!
  • Jared and Aaronita get married on September 22, 2006, thus effectively removing a person named “Wilson” from the company.  Don’t worry, people still ask to speak to Wilson Rogers when they come to the office!

These were the “slow years” for the most part as there really wasn’t much that changed.  Client levels stayed pretty consistent and revenues were largely flat.  This was primarily due to the fact that both Aaronita and Jared maintained full time jobs within Corporate America.  This would start to change in the following year.

Sometime towards the end of 2011, the decision was made that Jared would leave Corporate America to head up our first “retail” office.  Up until this point, all the tax returns were done “in house” by making appointments to pick up documents, preparing the returns at night and then providing the completed return to the client at a later date.  2011 was filled with decisions about health insurance, resignation dates and how to outfit the new office.  Somehow, someway, it all managed to come together.

Tax Season? Ready, Set, Go!

Tax Season? Ready, Set, Go!

So this was the first tax season with the new office.  If you want to read the recap on how it went, you can check that out here.  Some of the things that you won’t see in this post:

  • Mr. Campbell had the honor of becoming “retail client number one” on a cold day in January.  He had all his paperwork…we didn’t have the nice frilly folders to give him his tax return in. Oh man…the early days!
  • At the same time we were opening the office, Jared was moonlighting with the fine folks of Intuit with their Turbotax Ask A Tax Expert (ATE) team.  It was also the year that he broke the wrist on his dominant hand and had to finish out tax season using his left hand.  Talk about bad handwriting!
  • We also took many steps into the marketing world to help get the word out.  One of these included developing relationships with sites like Teaspiller (which was later acquired by Intuit)

So we survived another retail office tax season.  That recap can be found here.  The one standout item for this year was that Teaspiller was purchased by Intuit and folded into the TurboTax brand.  What that did was drive additional tax preparation business to us that was above and beyond what we had projected.  It also continued Jared’s relationship with Intuit, which further broadened in late April when he became certified as a Quickbooks Proadvisor.

This was the year that we hired “employee number one” so that Jared could have a little help.  You can read all about Stephanie in a little interview that we did here.  If you want to read about the season, that is located in this post.  That post will also talk about how we began using bus benches to advertise to local traffic in our area!

This was our fourth tax season with the office, and man did things really pick up.  They picked up so much that we hired Patricia as “employee number two” to keep up with things.  This was also the year that we launched www.fileoldtaxreturns.com to offer those needing to file older tax returns an option to do so.

How Did We Survive 10 Years?
Everyone knows the statistic that most businesses fail to make it to the 5 year mark.  While we have been lucky enough to avoid the top 5 reasons businesses fail, we must admit that it takes a little more than that to last for 10 years.  So what are the keys to the castle?  In summary we think:

  • Provide good service.  If you don’t do that, you’ll be lucky if you last beyond a year.
  • Value your customers. We have wonderful customers and we try to let them know that as frequently as possible.  Without them, there would be no Wilson Rogers & Company.
  • Stand out from your competitors.  We’ve all heard that insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  If you look, sound and act just like your competitors, expect to get their results – average!  So be bold. Do things differently. Give the public what they want, not what YOU think they want.
  • Make adjustments when necessary.  Getting to 10 years has not been a straight line drive.  We’ve had to adjust and pivot along the way.  Have we made mistakes? You bet! Have we learned from them? Continuously.  The key is to make adjustments when needed, forget the past and try to do better in the future.  If you can do that (combined with the above points), then maybe one day we’ll be reading about how you survived your first ten years.

Here’s to a bright future!

Top 5 Reasons Businesses Fail

When an entrepreneur embarks on their journey to build the next big thing, they will undoubtedly come across the “statistics” that we’ve heard a thousand times.  You know the ones where 50% of businesses fail within a year and 95% are gone within five years.  But just what is it that causes these new establishments to go belly up?  Here is a list of the top five drivers based on our experience helping new companies navigate those early startup waters:

5. You start your business for the wrong reasons.  The thought of being your own boss is cool until the first major issue comes up.  Is the sole reason you’re starting your business because you want to make a lot of money? Do you think if you had your own business that you’d have more time with your family? If so, you’d better think again.  Running a business is hard work – often much harder than what you have previously been doing to earn a living (especially if you’re coming from an office job).  With that said, when times get tough (mentally, financially, spiritually, etc.) you need to have a firm resolve as to why you’re in this game.  If your reason is planted on a weak foundation, don’t be surprised if you find yourself quitting before success has had a chance to begin.

4. Lack of Planning.  Anyone who has ever been in charge of an event knows that that were it not for their careful, methodical, strategic planning (and hard work) success would not have followed. The same should be said of most business successes.  Many small businesses fail because something which was very fundamental to their success (such as marketing or customer seasonality) was not thoroughly understood and addressed.   If for no other reason than to flush out these potential sticking points, we always recommend that a new entrepreneur take the time to prepare a business plan.  Besides, most lenders will request one if you’re seeking to secure capital for your company so you might as well go through the exercise.

3. Over-expansion.  A leading cause of business failure, expanding too quickly, often happens when owners confuse success with how fast they can grow.   Thus, a focus on slow and steadily planned growth is far more ideal. Many a bankruptcy has been caused by rapidly expanding companies.

At the same time, you do not want to repress growth. Once you have an established solid customer base and good cash flow, let your success help you set the right measured pace. Some indications that expansion may be warranted include the inability to fill customer orders/requests in a timely manner and employees having difficulty keeping up with production demands.  If expansion is what you need to succeed,  identify what and who you need to add in order for your business to grow.

2. Poor Management.  Many a new business owner often find themselves admitting that they know how to make the product or deliver the service , but lack management expertise in areas such as finance, purchasing, selling, production and hiring/managing employees. Unless they recognize what they don’t do well and seek help quickly, many owners may soon face disaster.

Neglect of a business can also be its downfall. Care must be taken to regularly study, organize, plan and control all activities of its operations. This includes continually staying in touch with market research, customer data and of course the financials.  The moment that that you take your eyes of the game so to speak is when your competitors will take the opportunity to make their move.  Thus, new owners must always be aware of what’s going on or risk sinking their ship!

1. Insufficient Capital.  The most common yet fatal mistake for many failed businesses is having insufficient operating funds. Many owners often underestimate how much money is needed to weather the start up phase and are forced to close before they even have had a fair chance to succeed.  Some also may have an unrealistic expectation of incoming revenues from sales, which can exacerbate the situation.

Before you begin your venture it is imperative to ascertain how much money your business will require.  We’re not talking about only the costs of starting your endeavor, but the cost of staying in business.  It is not uncommon for a business to take a year or two to get going. This means you will need enough funds to cover all your expenses until sales can eventually pay for these costs.  To start, we’d recommend using a business start up cost calculator such as this one or setting up a consultation with a local accounting firm or CPA.  Many will be happy to talk with you as no one wants to see a business fail.

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