The myths, tips and lessons every business owner must know
October is Canada’s Women’s History Month. It’s a time to celebrate and recognize the achievements of trailblazing women who have shaped our country, community and way of life. This year’s theme is “Make Your Mark”, which definitely rings true for all the women who found their voice, pursued their passion and claimed their place in history in the past 150 years.
So join us as we feature some of the inspirational women who are part of the TSheetsPRO community, our 15,000-strong network of successful, innovative and inspiring accountants and bookkeepers. This is our way of honouring them for being the amazing entrepreneurs, leaders, advisors and visionaries they are.
Sometimes, things are just meant to be
Entrepreneurship can happen by accident. A “Eureka!” moment is the result of a personal pursuit, rather than a profitable one. But there are also moments when the planets and stars seem to align perfectly to make something happen.
For Tammatha Denyes, entrepreneurship was ingrained in her from an early age. She watched her parents raise and encourage their three children to create their own employment opportunities. She describes her mother as a marketing whiz who could sell sand to the desert. As far as Tammatha was concerned, becoming an entrepreneur was simply a matter of when.
All she needed was a little push.
“The catalyst, for me, was being fired from my full-time job. I had started my part-time bookkeeping practice six months prior, and my employer at the time felt I was no longer suited to work for their law firm due to this venture. My options were to look for a new job or really put my all into building a ‘BADASS’ bookkeeping practice. Guess which one I went with?”
—Tammatha Denyes, Founder, TD Accounting
In our final TSheetsPRO feature in this series, we asked Tammatha to share her journey to establishing a virtual practice in Stirling, Ontario, and the lessons she has learned so far.
Myth #1: Anyone can do it
TSheets: What is your most unpopular opinion on entrepreneurship?
Tammatha: Not every person is cut out to be an entrepreneur. There is a “breed” that has it. And if you do not, then you need to stop trying. My job requires me to be objective in making a clear distinction between effort and result. Clients are not interested in how long I spent on the task, only if it is done.
Myth #2: Canadian businesses are rejecting technology
A recent in-depth survey by PayPal Canada showed “83% of Canadian SMBs do not accept any form of online or mobile payment and 71% of this group said they would never consider selling online.”
TD Accounting is a completely virtual, cloud-based, paperless bookkeeping firm. Some may think they do things differently, but the TD Accounting team see themselves as innovators and visionaries.
Do you think businesses in Canada are rejecting technology?
There are many types of business owners in the marketplace today. And as the market shifts, members of the community are simply adopting technology at different levels. Our data shows there are the “Innovators” (2.5%) and “Early Adopters” (13.5%).
These two groups are leading the charge for the “Early Majority” (34%) and the “Late Majority” (34%) to join them in the cloud. Just as there’s no one solution to fit all problems, not every business moves at the same pace or has the same priorities.
What was the experience like for TD Accounting?
Moving my practice to the cloud definitely had its growing pains. It meant learning new ways to do what we had been doing for so long. We also had to master this knowledge before we could integrate it into our practice to help our customers. All this took time.
When we were ready, we discovered how finding like-minded accounting professionals in our community can be difficult. Most of the up-and-coming workforce has been taught to work from a desktop application and not a virtual environment. The accounting industry is being revolutionized by these changes.
Myth #3: You can do it all
What have you observed to be the main factor of failure for a business?
A lack of planning and forward-thinking is the main factor for failure. Often, an entrepreneur will get excited about an idea or vision, so they will dive in head first without due diligence on market research, product development or customer procurement.
I have noticed they also take on all aspects of the business themselves. They wear all the hats. They are the salesperson, the marketing department, the shipper, the back office, the chief bottle washer and floor cleaner. Before they know it, they’re burnt out and demotivated. Have some succeeded by doing it all? Of course. But they’re the exception, not the norm.
How did you overcome this for your practice?
Knowing when to add team members who understand these factors helps create that forward-thinking business that will stand the test of time. Planning to add the right members to the team from the very beginning can make the difference between failure and success for any business in today’s economy.
I also focused on hiring team members who have strong knowledge in areas that I am weak. Let’s face it: My educational background allows me to focus on accounting and profitability for businesses, not troubleshooting IT issues. I hire for that.
Tammatha’s most important tip: Technology is the future and it’s here
What makes your firm/business/practice stand out from others?
We do not let boundaries stop us from focusing on our customer’s needs. With technology, we’re no longer the practice that must reside in the neighbourhood or in your backyard. Instead, we’re wherever our customers are.
By using tools that are at our disposal, we can work, converse and meet with our customers across our country. There are no boundaries. We stopped focusing on data entry and churning out weekly statements. Instead, we became the educators and subject experts our customers need to build their business, create profitability and succeed.
What is TD Accounting’s greatest achievement to date?
We had a client who was on the cusp of bankruptcy. When we examined their business processes closely, we realized how they needed to put the right tools in place, from utilizing technology to realigning their KPIs to grow.
In 15 months, we devised a plan to eliminate all outstanding debt, increase their revenues and collaboratively construct a plan of action they could follow for two years. Together, we increased the profitability of the business exponentially. It was rewarding because we know exactly how hard running a business can be, and we were so proud to help them.
How did you decide on TSheets?
We decided to pair up with forward-thinking companies that understand and value the same type of relationships we do. We saw how TSheets looks for the same values in those they work with. For this reason, TSheets is an integral part of our solution for any customers looking to save money on payroll and costs and minimize waste.
Tammatha’s most important lesson: Trust your instincts and be the change you want
What is your greatest regret as an entrepreneur?
You know how to ask the difficult questions! My biggest regret was not starting this practice five years sooner. I should’ve trusted my gut instinct, but I also know hindsight is 20/20. Had I known what I know now, I would have built this team eons ago.
What have you and your team found to be most rewarding?
Being the catalyst for change for an SMB is empowering. Helping them grow and succeed by focusing on their wants and needs is a daily achievement for us. Don’t get me wrong, the journey can be painful, at times. But it’s exciting, mind-blowing and, above all, satisfying.
Expanding and embracing knowledge
Today, Tammatha wears many different hats, as a certified bookkeeper, Ecclesiast, QuickBooks ProAdvisor, entrepreneur and public speaker, just to name a few. Most recently, she has also been chosen as one of five inductees into the elite Black Swan Project, a one-of-a-kind mentoring program and the brainchild of the IPBC leaders and Ron Baker.
When asked about the one thing that few may know about her, Tammatha answered without missing a beat.
“I was a high school dropout, but I was accepted to St. Lawrence College as a mature student,” she said. “I made it a point to go back and get my high school diploma even though I had graduated because I’m the type to finish what I start and there’s just no shortcut to success.”
Have your own story to share? Drop us a note!