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OnlineAdviser gets a makeover

As I reviewed my first year in business (2015) it was obvious that I had 3 distinct problems with the business model and my personal habits. It was not completely unexpected. I operate a different and largely untested type of accounting practice under the brand name OnlineAdviser that relies almost exclusively on online technologies. While I have decades of experience building online business in other fields, this skill is not automatically transferable to accounting and advisory services. This post list the three issues I encountered and how I am dealing with each of them this year:

1) I gave out over 80 total business referrals and received none.

I redesigned my service to avoid the risk of uncompensated referrals. The result is now available at and I am now removing online references to prior years’ services.

I read in a few places that much of an accountant’s work in the beginning comes from family and friends. This post isn’t about casting doubt on y relationships with my well-connected family and friends but the fact is that this was not a source of any business for me. I trust it may evolve in time.

2) I was constantly offering help and advice to peers but when I needed help and advice I was being nickeled and dimed by charges in a wide range of services.

I am forming a peer-t-peer online support group where the focus is on helping each other. I have to presume that I’m not the only one willing to extend this offer; I just have to find more like-minded people with high level skill sets. See This is clearly the riskiest of the three steps I am taking to change this year’s business model.

3) I have legitimate opportunities to partner in joint ventures but found only networkers who want to sell, not cooperate.

My several “side businesses” – ranging from an online insurance exchange to a small seafood company – have been cannibalized by my efforts to help peers with their own businesses. Going forward, my focus will be on developing joint ventures with my affiliated firms. I need to focus on win/win options sort of like the way the TV show “Shark Tank” works. This change appears to be primarily a shift in my verbal communications with people, especially in business networking situations. I need to be clear, even harsh, that “I am looking for partners, not networkers”. See the related post and discussion comments on LinkedIn.


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