Bradley Cooper, CPA, Fort Myers, Florida
I recently had the pleasure of doing not one but two interviews with one Mr. Bradley Cooper. The first of these interviews was filmed at our Advanced Training Conference in Hilton Head, South Carolina this past October. That interview will soon be added along with seven others to the testimonials portion of our website. Following that interview I contacted Bradley to feature him in our November newsletter.
Bradley has had extensive experience with New Clients Inc. Bradley has used the Plan 1 program to test the waters and build his first practice to sell. He listed and sold that practice through NCI. He then initiated a Plan 3 program to grow a new business from nothing. He has not looked back since and has added about $380,000 in only 3 years and continues to market and grow. Bradley gives some great insight into growing and managing a successful business using the NCI approach. It’s very clear to me having conducted these interviews, as to why Bradley is doing so well with the program and other accountants both using the program and those considering it can learn a lot from what he has said. Read the details below.
Chris: Please give me some background information on you, where did you go to school and what have you done between now and then?
Bradley: I got my first job in Waycross, Georgia with a CPA firm there and worked there for a few years. [I] wanted to move to the mountains of North Carolina, so I found a job in Asheville, North Carolina. I worked there for a year with that fella’ and he laid me off. So I decided to go ahead and start my own business, didn’t really know anything about doing this, I got my clients by going door to door saying my name is Bradley Cooper, I’m a CPA can I work with you? It’s a tough way to go I can tell you that. I hated to see the sun come up to do that stuff. That’s how I started and I stayed in that business for about twenty something years. I had heard about New Clients Inc. for several years in the last part of those 20 years that I was there in my own practice but I never really did anything about it. I was pretty comfortable where I was, not getting rich but I was making a good living and a heck of a lot better living then I was making when I was working for somebody else and it would increase a little bit each year. My wife and I decided we wanted to move to Florida, so I investigated NCI and said well this is as a good a time as any, let’s go ahead and do some of this stuff and see how it works. So we went up to Philadelphia and a Friday, Saturday and Sunday with y’all, got some ideas as to how y’all do things decided to go back and implement the program with me doing the sales. Really just kind of went back and screwed around with it. Got a couple of clients but I was pretty busy before I went up there, we got a few clients and got busy again. The telemarketers, me being the salesperson, all those kinds of things combined together, I just said this is the pits. Nonetheless we got a couple of clients out of the thing. I sold my practice, sold my house and my wife and I decided to take a year or two off and go on a mission for our church, so we did and went to Africa in the Ivory Coast. We were over there for 14 months, it was a great experience and we came back and moved down to Florida with no clients at all. We opened the doors with nothing. When I left North Carolina I knew I wasn’t going to be able to come down here and start a business the way that I started it up there, nor did I want to. I didn’t want to, and I knew I couldn’t grow fast enough so I contacted Bruce [Clark] again, said look I’m interested in doing this, I don’t need a sales presentation, I already know I want to do it. So we signed everything, we got David over here to get us started, and hire our salesperson and hire the telemarketers and we just started. We got the telemarketers in, we got the sales guy up and running and we’ve been doing it ever since.
Chris: Can you tell me a little about your time in Africa and what you did there?
Bradley: It might make more sense if I tell you that I’m a Mormon. Now if you know anything about Mormons you know that they have these 19, 20 year old boys going from door to door talking to people. And that’s what they did over there [in the Ivory Coast.] What my wife and I did was go over there and we worked in the office to support those boys paying bills for their rent and utilities and things like that. We had to give them money so they could afford food. I went out with them from time to time as well. So those are the kinds of things that we did.
Chris: Approximately how much growth have you added to your Florida practice since implementing the Plan 3 Marketing Program and in what time frame?
Bradley: Let me bring up my last financial statement from October and I can tell you what my sales were and that’s what I’ve added because I didn’t have anything when I started. Let’s see, we’ve done in ten months time, $321,000 so far for this year and I expect we’ll do at least another $50-60,000 this year. If we say $60,000 we should end up with about $380,000. We started in ’05 in October of ’05, so I can tell you in my first year we did $159,000.
Chris: What was it that made you want to upgrade to Plan 3 when you started your business in Florida?
Bradley: One [problem we had with Plan 1] is the time for doing the sales and y’all say that in your seminar, get a salesman because you’re going to get some clients in, you’re going to have back work to do and you’re going to sit there and get busy and you [don’t] have time to do [the sales.] And that’s exactly right, that’s the situation I found myself in, I didn’t have time to mess with it. I was busy already, I already had a decent practice and as I went out and did sales and got clients I didn’t have time to go out and do other sales, which was a problem.
Chris: Can you elaborate a bit on the sale of your Asheville practice since you had NCI put that deal together?
Bradley: Sure, I listed the practice with Bruce and he asked me for some numbers [I gave him those] and he started sending people over. The process went pretty smoothly for me getting information to NCI and for NCI finding potential buyers for me.
Chris: What brought you to NCI in the first place?
Bradley: I knew that when I sold my Asheville practice the sale price would be a multiple of what my gross revenues were. So I figured if I could get the revenues up I could sell that practice for more and I’ll tell you the truth that was the case. This fella, I anticipated him writing me a check for x number of dollars and he wrote me a check greater than that, about $20-30,000 more then that. The reason was, we made the sales price contingent on what he billed over the first 12 months. Well we were growing then and we were doing very well then and bringing in new clients and he continued to bring in new clients through the NCI program we had. So he ended up paying me more then what I thought he was going to pay.
Chris: What was your biggest concern before signing up for the program?
Bradley: The plan 1 wasn’t a big deal, y’all charge about $2,000 to do that. When I got through the weekend with y’all I had a pretty good idea that this was going to work. It sounded pretty good to me, I’ve been a marketer for a long time or at least a believer in marketing for a long time, I hate sales but I believe in marketing. So I tried it and it worked some but I knew that it did not produce as much as we wanted simply because I didn’t have time to do it. I don’t know that y’all had to sell me on [the program] I was pretty much sold already, and I knew I was going to move to Florida and I knew I had to get some clients so I said let’s just test the waters and see how this works before I went to Florida because I knew I had to get some clients somehow or there’s no reason to move down there.
Chris: What about any concerns before upgrading to Plan 3?
Bradley: Well, it’s one thing to say yes, I think it’ll work but when you’ve got to put $30,000 down, now you better be daggum sure it’s going to work. Because even though there’s a guarantee and the guarantee sure helps an awful lot, as a matter of fact I think the guy I sold the [Asheville] practice to went with [the NCI program] and he tried it and it ended up it didn’t work for him and I think he told me Bruce gave him his money back. So I said okay he’s got a guarantee and I know he honors that guarantee. So if it doesn’t work I’ll at least get my money back. I was real sure it was going to work but I’ll tell you that faith is hard.
Chris: What has been your biggest challenge in running the program?
Bradley: Telemarketers, it’s just really tough to get them, it is tough to manage them. We’ve just had to do the hard thing. When we hire a new telemarketer we say look If you don’t get an appointment in the first three days, you’re out of here…and that has been kind of hard for us. I think telemarketers is the hardest part for us, we’ve got a good sales guy, he’s out and about trying, working at it so I think he’s after it all the time. I think that aspect of it is pretty good.
Chris: What are your future plans and goals for the practice now?
Bradley: Just keep growing; just going to keep after it, we have no plans of stopping. This is a growth area, a lot of growth here. The past economy has been really hard it’s really been hard on us this past year with all of Florida not just with the Fort Myers area that I’m in all of Florida is hit hard along with the rest of the country I suspect. Nonetheless we’ve grown this year; our revenues are up this year from last year. So we’re doing better this year then last year. So we’re going to keep on keeping on.
Chris: What advice would you give to someone who is considering using one of our marketing programs?
Bradley: My advice is to get the Plan 3, I wouldn’t go with the Plan 1. I just don’t thinks it works simply because you don’t have time to work it. You cannot grow past what you can accomplish yourself. One thing I found with Plan 3 is you’re bringing clients in and when we started on day one we didn’t have anything so you bring a client in and you’ve got time and you go do that client. You process him, you enter the check stubs and reconcile the bank account and give him the financial statements. But once you get that 30th one what I found with me is I don’t have time to sit here and do this work plus help the sales guy out and do the other things that have got to be done so I had to hire somebody. I realized very quickly that if you’re going to grow you have to have people to do the work. You’re bringing the work in, my job is to manage everything. My job, I don’t do tax returns or bank reconciliations or any of that work anymore I just manage. So I would advise somebody if they want to grow, get the Plan 3, get ready to hire somebody. Have them in the wings so to speak and don’t hesitate to hire somebody because you cannot grow if you don’t have somebody to do the work and you will have the work. So that would be my advice to do it, if you want to grow this is a great way to grow but I’d sure go with Plan 2 or Plan 3.
Chris: How has your quality of life changed since undertaking the program?
Bradley: You know I think about the money that I made in North Carolina versus the money that I’m making now. And the time that I spend in my practice in North Carolina and the time that I spend now. I don’t make as much now as I did then. My revenues are a little higher than they were then but my profit is not. And I think that is a function of, I’m spending a lot more on advertising now, about 25% of my revenue is spent on marketing, on the telemarketers, the sales guy, those kinds of things. So I didn’t have that 25% [in North Carolina] so I don’t think my profit is as good right now. The number of hours that I worked when I was in North Carolina is less then the number of hours that I work now. I think that is a function of growth, I think growth takes a lot of money and it takes a lot of time. If I were to put the two together, let’s say that I were to just say hey I’m going to fire all of marketing people and I’m not going to market anymore. I’ve got a staff in place that doesn’t need me. And I don’t have to be here forty five hours a week. But they need me because we’re getting new clients and we need to decide how to set this client up. And my sales guy comes in with somebody and says hey we’ve got somebody but he wants to make sure you’ve got a head and two arms. So I’ve got to meet with [that client.] If I didn’t have to do all that stuff, I wouldn’t have to be here 20 hours a week. So I think it is the growth that costs money and it costs time. But we’ve got a system in place here where if we were not growing, if I fired all my marketers and we didn’t have to grow, I’d probably be down to 20-30 hours a week and my profits would be much higher then they were in North Carolina. I’m investing time and money right now for down the road. My goal is to make deposits.
Chris: Please sum up your feelings about NCI, the company and our programs.
Bradley: Well I think it’s a great organization and I’m really glad that you’re there and I look at the financial success that I’ve had here and I know that I would not have had any of it without you. I would not have moved down here if you had not have been out there. I would’ve stayed in North Carolina because I know that I do not have the skills or the desire to go out and do all the marketing. And I would not have had the forethought to understand this is how you do it. So I wouldn’t have been able to invent the wheel myself so I’m glad y’all had it there because of you I’m able to sit back and enjoy the revenues and the practice that I have.
Chris: I want to thank you again Bradley for taking the time to do not one but two interviews with me over the past two months. We greatly appreciate your commitment to our marketing program and that commitment is clearly paying off for you. As you stated, that continued investment in marketing will create a vast return in terms of both added revenues and free time to enjoy those profits.
You can contact Bradley Cooper, CPA at (239) 275-4511
Chris Clark is the oldest son of New Clients Inc. founder and CEO Bruce Clark. He has worked as a Senior Account Executive at NCI for the past four years. During that time he has presented at the Practice Development Seminar on Internet and E-mail marketing and he also plays the prospective client during the seminar role play sessions. Chris also edits and contributes to the NCI newsletter, New Client News.