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Thought Leader Interviews

Building a Successful Community – Roundtable Labs with Richard Roppa-Roberts

By February 8, 2023April 27th, 2023No Comments
Richard Roppa-Roberts

Building a Successful Community with Roundtable Labs

One of the best things that can happen is when you connect with amazing people, and see them bringing awesomeness to the world. It actually happens every day. But the thing here, sometimes, we lose the connection with those people for some reason at any point in our lives. But, at the end of the day, we realize that businesses are not made up of people, they are established with valuable connections. And one of the great ways to reconnect and keep the existing connection healthy is to build a community.

With that, join Richard Roppa-Roberts as he discusses the importance of community, education, and accounting in building a successful future.

Topics discussed in the podcast:

  • What brought Richard to where he is today?
  • The humble beginning of the Roundtable Labs
  • The trends many people do now
  • The value of building a community for a business
  • Things to keep in mind when building a community
  • Talking about price and service increases

Tune in to learn more!

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Creating a Winning Community with Roundtable Labs

The Inception of the Roundtable Labs

It started out as a means of survival. I moved to Palm Springs and was laid off from my job the day after my house closed. But it gave me an opportunity to figure out what’s next. It’s time to start a business.

As a business coach, I was getting a lot of clients, more clients than I could handle. When I realized that I was maxed out in the one-on-one world, I immediately thought of what could be my next offer. It was a group and I didn’t want to do group coaching because I didn’t feel that was a great scenario every time. So what ended up happening is I had five prospects. I put them all in the same room together, and magic was born. Roundtable Labs grew out of that initial five people meeting up in a prospect call.

Roundtable Labs was born, but we did not have a name for it. It was about six months that I had been billing this thing as the unnamed roundtable project. Then, it worked. One of my members came to me and suggested that we call it “Not the Only One Roundtable” because no matter what the issue is, and no matter what the problem is, somebody has been there before me in this group.

As a result, I am not the only one to need this problem solved and be able to fast-track getting there by pulling information out of other people. Then, “Not the Only One Roundtable” was born, and lasted for five and a half years.

From there, we hit max capacity. We started rolling out other roundtables. We had some specialty roundtables that focused on individual specialty niches, and some had bigger and deeper thinking topics. One was the Empower Your Passion Roundtable, which is all about the things that get in your way and anything that goes in your mind.

I got into this because of a sense of people needing assistance, and we built it as we went. I do it because people need help. What keeps me going is we keep having amazing stories from our team.

Why I do what I do is because I saw the results that were happening. Roundtable is interactive. It’s not a talking head that is espousing their beliefs. We look at issues from all sides. We dig into why people are making modifications to what the experts are saying. We dig into as many topics in each session as humanly possible.

We’re not expanding the topic with a lot of fluff. We’re getting down to the answers. When we’re done, we move the stage to a completely different topic that may be unrelated. But it’s always about solving the need of the day.

The Mission to Serve and Help People

You may feel that if you try to sell your clients additional ongoing services, then you’re being more self-serving. So you then have to reflect on that believing you’d be helping them more if you had longer, more engaged relationships with them. Of course, you could help them so much more. That’s how you serve them. If you’re doing it authentically, you will see a big possibility.

You need to be able to share that with them and enroll them to help them on their behalf. You’re there to serve your mission of helping others. Then, you can get that in return because you’re providing value. Framing is really important. If you’re thinking that it feels wrong to try to offer that, then don’t do it. Now, you’re actually servicing those you serve.

Talking About Price and Service Increases

When scoping out an engagement, oftentimes, we’ll see that there’s a discussion about pricing. People should be able to talk about price and service increases at any time. In fact, once your clients get past the clean-up, and they start the monthly bookkeeping, they may find that down the road they want to change service providers, change payroll providers, or create a whole new thing.

So being able to have those discussions about pricing and contracts is very helpful. That’s for planning. Here’s another pro tip: don’t price for today, but do price for six months from now. If you’re doing fixed prices, I suggest always including the unknown cost.

So being able to price them, potentially six months from now, then you’re not regretting the price that you chose six months ago. The way that I suggest looking at that is if you’ve got to look at their books, and you know that they’ve grown on average 20% every year, if you’re pricing for what the work would cost today, in six months, you’re behind.

Creating New Ways to Create More Freedom

You can service so many people, and you need to think about creating a different model to help you out. That’s one of the challenges that a lot of people in this space who have been connecting with and helping those that they serve, they’re maxed out.

They become their own bottleneck, and they need to be doing things in a different manner. They get so busy catching up with a whirlwind. They can’t think about doing new things, and they’re just continually putting out fires.

How to Start a Community for Your Business?

Creating communities is about encouraging people to do what they need to do to further their initiatives in their businesses and in their lives. Communities that have nothing or very little to do with are important. If you feel it is a need for your clients to have their own community, go ahead and start one.

But how do you get started? First, you have to recognize if there is a need.

Is there a need to create a community within your business?

The problem here is that you may have maxed out your time. So the answer is not always to start something new at that point. The answer is to get organized, create efficiencies, look for efficiencies in your employees, and make sure that you are aligned with the goals.

If you’re paying hourly, there are no incentives for your employees to become efficient, no matter how many times you talk about it. They also say that they get more work but fewer hours.

No! It’s about creating a model of repeatable scenarios that can be done over and over again. Doing so will help you take on more clients and have the number of hours you want your people to have.

Moreover, once people hit a certain dollar number or a certain number of employees, they tend to be in their own way a lot. You shouldn’t hire people that you don’t trust to do things the right way. So it’s about creating accountability for getting out of your way, and recognizing that it’s possible.

The biggest thing to be aware of in communities, especially with the cooperative communities, where they’re solving things together, is that you have to drop the notion that every accountant and bookkeeper is more competitive.

There are not enough bookkeepers and accountants to go around for all the small businesses in this country. So there’s plenty of fish out there, and there are plenty of people to work with.

Things to Remember When Starting a Community

The community is not for everyone. Everyone doesn’t need to have a community but what is happening in today’s world is that people work to build awareness with their audience, build a bond, have that rapport and transparency, and connect and let their brands cultivate their own community.

They’re being able to create something that wasn’t even possible a few years ago. It’s a trend that’s happening.

Many years ago, small businesses didn’t have the tools or resources to be able to do it, but now they are able to. If you think it’s too much to do, you don’t have to start it overnight. It can be a start something you plant the seed and think about in the future.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you need to avoid listening to your inner saboteur. You need to have confidence that you can do what you’re setting out to do.

Facilitation is not an easy task. Facilitation of conversation is cutting off long talkers, keeping people on track, and making sure that the discussion is around the thing that you want to discuss, but being open to hearing those other nuances that may be the next topic that you want to talk about.

Being overly agendized is also not good. Let it flow the way that it should. Community is about give and take. It is not about the person who has the mic and being the only person that has the mic. That’s one of the biggest differences.

Start Building Your Community

Building a community around your business can be a powerful strategy for success. By fostering a sense of belongingness and engagement among your customers, employees, and partners, you can create a loyal and enthusiastic following that will support and promote your brand.

A strong community can also provide valuable feedback, insights, and ideas that can help you improve your services, and stay ahead of the competition. Whether you are a small business owner or a large corporation, investing in community-building initiatives can pay off in the form of increased customer retention, brand awareness, and revenue growth.

So, start engaging with your audience, listening to their needs, and creating opportunities for them to connect with each other and with your brand. Your community may just become your biggest asset.


Richard Roppa-Roberts is The ProAdvisor™ Advisor at Quasar Cowboy & Roundtable Labs. He always believes that the key to a better business lies in working collaboratively, and this belief is the foundation of the community’s success at the Roundtable Labs that he’s been cultivating since 2015. This is also what frames his style of coaching, Quasar Cowboy.

Richard has been named a Best of 2019, 2020, and 2021: Strategic Business Consulting, Palm Springs; he’s on Avalara’s Social Media Top 100; had an Honorable Mention on Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting list, and he is a regular author with Intuit’s Firm of the Future and Tax blogs as well as CPA Practice Advisor, and other industry blogs. You may have seen Richard speak at QuickBooks Connect, Ensuring Success, Scaling New Heights, SleeterCon, or the Los Angeles Accounting & Finance Show.

With his extensive experience in the field, Richard provides valuable insights into how accountants can thrive in today’s competitive landscape.

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