Which Businesses Make Good Money

Which Businesses Make Good Money

When I was just starting out as an accountant I spent some time doing tax returns for SMEs at a small accounting practice.

It was interesting to be able to see inside lots of different businesses and try to work out what made them tick. I just saw the numbers because I was stuck in a back office as a trainee, but I started to visit the businesses as a customer and tried to put the two things together. Obviously, confidentiality was a big thing, and I have never told anyone the details but it started a lifelong fascination of mine, trying to work out, when I walk into a business, how well it is going. I like to look at new businesses when they open and try to guess how they will do and why.

The first thing I started to notice, all those years ago, is that the businesses that made big money weren’t always big or flash. That stumped me for a while, we’re told by movies and advertisers that wealth equals flashy and big. Years later I read Rich Dad Poor Dad and started to understand this a little more.


You can tell a lot about a business by the way frontline people interact with customers, and how easy they make it to buy something.

That’s the sort of business we all want to deal with, and run, but is it directly related to how much money they make?

If it was only about customer experience, we wouldn’t wait hours on hold for “service” from big Australian companies, they usually know what makes money. In some ways high sensitivity to customer experience might even point to less strength in the underlying offering. Obviously huge variations here, and for that reason alone, I don’t think it’s a reliable indicator.

Great customer experience turbo-changes the strength of the underlying product/service offering. Check out Good to Great.  


What does matter the most?

There is an old saying that to be successful in business you need to sell a need, not a want, into a market as big as Texas.

Obviously, there are lots of exceptions to this, but I think most are explained by people thinking they need something. We don’t really need a new phone every year.

We are all very good at justifying our biases, maybe using Man Math. But I think that the people I know who are happiest with their life and business, and have made good coin, have produced and continued to develop, things that align with their core values – things they think make the world a better place. Things that lots of other people think are really needed. Something your descendants would be proud of.

They say you should never make a job out of your hobby; I say treat your job like you would a hobby. Be passionate about giving people what makes them happy – it all flows back to you.          



Photo by Ethan Wilkinson on Unsplash