Ron Allen wanted his clients to know their finances while thinking beyond bookkeeping and accounting.
His firm, Exigo Business Solutions, has focused on helping businesses take care of their behind-the-scenes operations since 2009, including QuickBooks, IT consulting, entity creation, data backup, and web design.
But Ron wanted clients to think bigger. He wanted them to focus not just on their business's financial health, but on their broader vision and strategy as an organization.
The structure of Exigo Business Solutions
Through accounting, payroll, tax planning, and bookkeeping services, Exigo's seven person team first helps clients lay a solid foundation for their organization's financial health. For clients who want more strategic financial management, Exigo also provides a “virtual CFO” service, where they regularly review financial results and provide guidance on how to improve the business's overall finances.
“The key,” says Ron, “is to build a business's confidence in their overall finances.”
“Exigo Business Solutions is unique because we do not offer bookkeeping and accounting services exclusively,” says Ron. “We also offer business planning, transformation coaching, virtual CFO services, and Profit First training and implementation. We currently represent a variety of companies across a variety of industries.”
Beyond basic financial health, Ron wants his clients to find what he calls their “transformation strategy.”
The key, says Ron, is to build a business's confidence in their overall finances. Ron sees this as essential not only for successful day-to-day operations and a stable business, but as the basis for the next step in the business's growth and evolution.
With LivePlan, Exigo has been able to help their clients transform operations.
“Business transformation formalizes all aspects of business planning,” explains Ron, “including vision, mission, values, budgeting, forecasting, SWOT analysis, employee management, and more.”
How Exigo uses LivePlan with clients
Bookkeeping, accounting, and tax planning remain at the core of Exigo's services. Strategic planning and advisory services, however, have helped Exigo expand their offerings and stand out in a rapidly changing industry.
With LivePlan, Exigo has been able to help their clients transform operations. Internally, Exigo has also been able to manage their workflow without additional internal tools or services, helping them keep their own project management simple and nimble.
Depending on the client's needs, Ron and Exigo's transformational advisors typically use LivePlan for about an hour a month.
Meeting on a regular basis helps Exigo's advisors pivot clients from more technical work to understanding the business as a whole.
“We set up the structure of the plan and work with the clients to ‘fill in the blanks,’” explains Ron. “Sometimes this means the client creating content, and sometimes it means the facilitator creating the content and reviewing it with the client.”
Guidance to help business owners make their businesses better
Advisors typically meet with clients twice a month. “One meeting is to review financial results from the prior period,” explains Ron. “One meeting is to make progress on the next step of their business plan.”
Meeting on a regular basis helps Exigo's advisors pivot clients from more technical work to understanding the business as a whole. From there, clients can make the right moves that help them grow their profits and stay aligned with their broader business vision. Throughout the process, clients continue evolving their business plan in LivePlan, helping them gain the broader understanding that they need to grow.
Ron has also found that one of LivePlan's strengths is its flexibility.
“Many of the business owners are ‘technicians’ within their business,” says Ron. “They do not have a firm grasp on the numbers of their business. They are looking for guidance to understand the financial health of their business, a comparison to other businesses, and how to make their business better.”
Staying nimble and adapting to what customers need
Exigo implements LivePlan for clients on an ongoing basis, using regular checkpoints to update and complete more and more of each client's plan.
“We use LivePlan as a tool to facilitate and design the business planning process for clients,” says Ron. “A transformational advisor guides the business stakeholders through the development, creation, and updating the various steps of each business's LivePlan.”
As clients gain comprehensive understanding of their business's financial health, Exigo can then help them focus on the bigger picture.
Ron has also found that one of LivePlan's strengths is its flexibility. Instead of a rigid tool that must be used as-is, he's found LivePlan's adaptability as key in customizing Exigo's offerings to serve their clients.
“LivePlan is the backbone of our planning process,” says Ron, “but we modify different components and sections of the plan to better align with the material we want to present.”
How Exigo prices and sells advisory
Exigo focuses on offering advisory services and strategic planning strictly as an add-on service for existing clients (though Ron is also exploring a bundled bookkeeping and advisory product).
Different tiers of services are available for a flat monthly fee. By limiting advisory services to existing bookkeeping clients, Ron and his team know the clients and have built the trust it takes for the client to start more in-depth business planning and vision building.
“Marketing and engagement resources are always difficult to create. It's nice to have a custom series tailored to the work in LivePlan.”
As clients gain comprehensive understanding of their business's financial health, Exigo can then help them focus on the bigger picture. That's where Exigo's transformational advisors engage with clients on an ongoing basis to identify growth areas and implement the steps it will take to grow.
How Palo Alto Software and LivePlan support Exigo Business Solutions
From the beginning, LivePlan's ease of use helped Exigo get onboarded quickly. Whenever Ron and his team needed help, they knew that LivePlan's online documentation and live support staff were at the ready.
“Initially when we started using the software, [LivePlan] staff support helped,” says Ron. “And the LivePlan Method for Strategic Advising training resources have been great.”
In addition, when Ron suggested to the LivePlan team that an email series for marketing and engagement would be really helpful, they listened and created one.
“Marketing and engagement resources are always difficult to create. It's nice to have a custom series tailored to the work in LivePlan,” said Ron.