Pedro Noyola, CEO of Balanced Business Group, took a less traditional route to firm ownership, with stops in sales and the car industry providing him with a well-rounded understanding of the business world.
Balanced Business Group provides accounting services for boutique wineries, or those producing 20,000 or fewer cases per year.
Pedro sets OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) with his wife, bringing business principles of excellence into their home life.
Why limit business tactics to 9 to 5?
Pedro Noyola integrates the best business principles into every part of his life, including at home with his family. He and his wife set annual goals for finance, kids, and their marriage.
He implemented this habit as a result of years of working in accounting, business and entrepreneurship across many industries.
Pedro’s business mindset has proven beneficial. He’s got 10 acquisitions under his belt, the most recent being Balanced Business Group, which provides accounting services for boutique wineries.
Pedro chats with Karbon CEO and host Stuart McLeod on episode 53 of the Accounting Leaders Podcast, sharing his unconventional journey from CPA to a multi-time business owner, with stops at Deloitte, the car industry, and sales along the way.
Pedro’s career started in a typical way before quickly taking a sharp left turn.
After graduating from the University of Texas’s five-year accounting master’s program, Pedro worked for Deloitte. And that’s where his typical accounting journey came to an end.
“The transition for anybody coming out of college into their first job is always tough. I worked 70, 80, 90 hours, understaffed through the busy season, and the busy season never really ended—it went into the extension season. I saw what they were billing me out at and said, ‘Nobody should be paying that for me. If they’re charging that, I should see the lion’s share of it'.”
It was then that Pedro started thinking about striking out on his own. He started a business process outsourcing (BPO) company that combined his accounting experience with what he’d seen at Deloitte.
But then he got pulled into a car startup.
As the accountant for the car company’s small team, Pedro broadened his experience with financing, marketing, and strategy. Though he fell in love with the car industry, the startup didn’t survive. Pedro eventually went on to business school and then into a sales role, further rounding out his breadth of knowledge.
“Coming out of grad school, I looked at people who led B2B SaaS software companies. A lot of them had been salespeople. I was one of the few people to take a sales job out of business school, and it paid dividends later on.”
“Knowing how to stand naked in front of a customer and try to convince them to use a product is an extremely valuable experience.”
When Pedro first heard that Balanced Business Group was for sale, he had lofty goals for what to do with the wine accounting firm. Specifically, he wanted to acquire a number of other outsourced accounting and bookkeeping companies and roll them into one entity.
But once he got better acquainted with the boutique wine industry, he had a change of heart. He found that there were many different areas of accounting in wineries: manufacturing, regulations, agriculture, retail, and distribution.
“After just a few months, I really got romanced by the people of the industry. They're just really warm, welcoming, salt-of-the-earth people,” Pedro says of Balanced Business Group’s winery clients.
According to Pedro, there are two major types of owners in the boutique wine space:
Those who have had careers in other industries and for whom the work is more of a hobby
Those for whom the vineyard is a family legacy.
For him, working with both types is equally rewarding.
What Pedro also enjoys about working for wineries is how he gets to mesh his personal life with his professional one.
“Once a month, I bring my wife and my kids out to meet clients. We do a wine tasting and see the place in person. It’s been nice doing something fun in a beautiful setting with my family,” Pedro says.
Recommended reading: Targeting the wine accounting vertical with Zane Stevens from Protea Financial
Pedro and his wife have some unconventional methods for organizing their home life. Together, they set annual OKRs to figure out how to best achieve their goals as a family unit. To make sure they’re sticking to their goals, they hold monthly meetings to check in on their progress. Pedro gives an example of one of the objectives for their kids:
“One of our family objectives is to build badass kids. My kids are almost three and almost one. And so the key results right now are just to make sure that they're getting so many hours of socialization and so many opportunities to play and to learn and to grow and have new experiences.”
Before becoming parents, the couple’s OKRs concerned things like life insurance and living wills—in Pedro’s words, the “grown-up stuff”.
This business-minded approach isn’t just about goal setting, though.
Pedro and his wife also set aside time to be together for a weekly date night. That quality time is critical for them, as they realize that a healthy home life starts with harmonious parenting.
“We even tell our kids that mom and dad are number one. We have to love and prioritize each other for the whole family to work,” Pedro says.
Since acquiring Balanced Business Group, Pedro’s spent most of his time learning the ropes, but he’s got bigger goals for the coming year. His initial plan was to acquire multiple parallel businesses, and he hopes to get back to that.
“I will definitely look at additional acquisitions that fit our criteria, which is outsourced accounting and bookkeeping,” Pedro says on the podcast.
To make those acquisitions a reality, he hopes to get out to more accounting conferences to meet his colleagues. He’ll also focus more on organically growing Balanced Business Group’s client base of boutique wineries producing 20,000 cases or less per year.
“There's still lots of demand in our space. I haven't had the time this past year to really hustle and try to find new clients, so that's on my agenda.”
Either way, the future for Balanced Business Group looks very much like a fine wine’s profile: forward, complex, and balanced.