Zane Stevens: Focusing on a Niche with Protea Financial
Is your business's financial situation a nightmare?
Zane Stevens is the Co-founder and Director of Protea Financial.
Protea Financial is a company that helps with everything from bookkeeping services, order processing, and tax schedules. Protea Financials’ goal is to provide fairly priced accurate and high-quality financial information for businesses.
They help business owners by listening to their needs and developing a clear strategy for financial success. Their team works around the clock to support their clients with anything they need.
Learn more about how Protea Financial can help you improve your business's financial situation by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.
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Welcome to the thoughtful entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, founder and CEO of up my influence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go. Zane Stevens, you are the director and co-founder of Protea financial, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for having me. So explain real quick what Protea financial does and then we'll get into what makes you guys kind of clever.
So you know, I just like to call us a bookkeeping firm. You know, we like to do the nuts and bolts, the transactional accounting, but really with it, we're a full service outsourced bookkeeping accounting firm. What Without us, you know, with a focus on the wine industry,
right? And so obviously, so that's one area that you guys have, from the beginning have focused very, very heavily within a specific industry. And just from a client acquisition standpoint, why do you think that that's helpful for companies to kind of really hone in on maybe just one industry or kind of try to work very hard to establish themselves within a niche as opposed to just being a generalist or a general bookkeeping agency.
So we are pretty much very much generalist with this big focus on wine just because that's where we started. What's really important for us instead of client acquisition is with the sub stakeholders that we're dealing with, who could be banks, it could be CPA firms, they like to know that the company that they're like referring to businesses that they working with under And the space. So it takes a lot away from the conversation where we don't have to sort of explain to people, hey, we actually understand why and we know what goes into the costs. So it creates credibility that we know what's going on in the space. We understand the nuts and bolts and behind it and we'll be able to talk to you about your business, not just about your accounting.
Nothing, there's an added benefit with Protea financial in that your company's kind of located in two locations. And that gives you a kind of a nice advantage. In other words, you know, for your clients. It allows you to provide a lot more into a higher quality of service for the budget, and can you kind of explain how that works?
Yeah, so we're based in the North Bay, you know, just north of San Francisco, in Marin County. You know, we've got a local team based here. And then a large portion of our team is actually based in South Africa. So, you know, offshoring is not a new thing, but We have decided to do it slightly differently where we're not provide like outsourcing our services to that entity. It's actually a wholly owned subsidiary, where we control hiring and firing. So based on that, we're able to hire team South Africa, where a large majority of them are CPA equivalents. That's having, you know, highly educated, highly trained people working on your books. Definitely a level of service provider that you wouldn't normally get with an outsource firm where it's just people pushing through the transactional accounting. This allows us to sort of have people who can put a lot better focus on your work and provide a higher quality product as well as be able to ask the questions, if something looks strange, they're not just trying to get through the transactions actually thinking about what they're doing. So it's a bit of a value add that these people are not just seeing numbers, but actually thinking about what the transaction is and how it affects your business.
Great, great. So you know, so getting back to the earlier point, you know, and I love this about being able to network so if you're an accounting firm and You offer services to the wine, food and beverage industry. From a networking standpoint, you're able to network with bankers that work specifically within the wine, food and beverage industry, you're able to network with real estate professionals who spend most of their time in the food. So anytime those so if those people like let's say, two thirds of their businesses, the wine industry, you know, I can't tell you how many times I get questions that people say, Well, you know, who do you know that does Facebook ads? Well, who do you know, that does a sales funnel development work? You know, because, you know, if they're within a specific industry, like I like to make recommendations of people that know that industry, I just think so much of business is done based on the recommendations of others. And it sounds like that's a big part of how new clients find you is Through the recommendations of others who know you in this space,
correct, I mean, the wine industry really is a very, very small community when you get down to and there's, there's also these wineries. But you know, when you get down to it, you go to events and the wine space, it's really the same faces that you see all the time and you sort of work through the same people. You know, bankers have been a great source of referral for us, mostly, because, you know, people don't really want to spend money on bookkeeping, you know, they see it as this unnecessary chore. So when it comes to bankers and stuff, they're normally holding the money and they have a little bit of a stick to be like, Hey, your bookkeeping or accounting is not up to scratch, these guys will do a better job, and I highly recommend you use them, or else we'll have to talk about this many being actually available to you. So you know, sort of networking those those, those banks is really important. And obviously being in front of the divisions within the bank that handle those portfolios is really, really important. And it's important to be able to talk to them and you know, them to understand that we understand what we're talking about. So they have competence in us. But you know, they will busy as well. So you got to do this all the time. It's just a constantly trying to get in front of them. So that's why I spend time at these events so that people can see my face. You know, yeah, remember the funny accent and they go, Hey, next time I have a client, let me let me rephrase that, because I already think they can help. I mean, we're not the only person in the space doing so you know, you sort of got to put yourself in the foot, good, best foot forward, you know, there's a couple of us running around that are really doing a really good job. And we're all getting probably, you know, depending on your relationships and the time in the space, you're getting very similar referrals and not just sort of, when it comes down to what is the best fit for that.
Yeah. You know, one piece of advice that I will commonly share with with business owners that, you know, if you're an accountant, you know, it's great that you're hanging out with other accountants to kind of, you know, learn what people are doing and that sort of thing, but you know, you're probably not going to get a whole lot of business hanging out in those circles too much you want. You want to be like this. The the single account that you want to be the one accountant that hangs out with with Somali A's and all the Somali A's know that you know oh he's my one accountant friend that I know and you know so the more people that can know you know like in my circle of friends I've got one accountant friend and I you know it's the more people that you can kind of like the be like the you know the tax preparer the the accountant for for that circle I think that's a great way to be
not I totally agree. It's, you know, it's if there is a list of you that are the more likely to be referred because it's easy to remember one and that is to remember 20
Is there anything unique about the wine industry where your background experience that you just have a lot of experience with this where it comes in helpful?
Yeah, so you know, the one thing that in the wine space that is really complicated and very different to know accounting, accounting accounting as accounting, but the inventory costing and inventory management Wine is really, really different, because you know, the time from, you know, from vine to bottle, you know, 567 years, depending on Wow, a little winery. So it's being able to sort of put that expertise to be able to allocate costs throughout the process to make sure when you know, that person puts the wine in the bottle, they understand exactly what the costs are. So they gave their pricing right, because unfortunately, there's a lot of people who just sort of throw it on a bucket doesn't matter if it's red, white, you're gonna raise a and just sort of all costs exactly the same doesn't matter about the price point. And that's I'm pretty, very helpful for running a business, you need to understand your margins. So you can put the right costs, you know, if you need to sort of provide discounts or pull back so sample allowances, those people need to understand how much money they've already put into that bottle, how much margin they playing with and sort of what effect that has on cash flow. I mean, cash flow, obviously, in the wine space, as in many businesses, really, really important. But if you're, you know, picking the grape today and it's only going to be sold in you know, five years time to very different cash flow model, then Yeah, that widget and selling tomorrow, for sure for sure.
Well, Zane Stevens, you're the director and co founder of Protea financial, and your website on the web. It's a Protea financial PROTEA financial com. Zane, thank you so much for joining us.
Thanks Josh respects it. Great to talk to you today.
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