“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” – Albert Einstein
As we prepare for an exciting change as a company (stay tuned – announcement coming at the end of July!), I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on where we have been as a business, what we have learned and, ultimately, God’s faithfulness.
It is hard to believe that it was 13 years ago when I made the life-changing decision to start my own business! I had three clients at the time, a laptop computer (no cloud!), no QuickBooks software (my clients owned the licenses) and no employees – but I did have a lot of ambition. I had no office. Well, actually, I did – it was a desk in the back of a clothes closet in our one- bedroom apartment.
The main thing I had was the Lord, who gave me clients that believed in me and were willing to give me a chance at transforming their businesses. Back in those days, I would typically travel to each client’s office. Boy, the messes I would encounter and the things I would be asked to do! I remember one time being asked to set up a home audio system. How does a bookkeeper get asked to do such things? Anyway, it was an interesting time, but also a great learning experience.
Slowly, the business grew. Eventually, I needed to make my first hire. Who do you first turn to in those situations? Family! While I know it can be challenging at times to work with family, I am very thankful for both my mom and brother who were crazy enough to work for me from the beginning and who still work for me today. Mom (Susan) handles all our mail processing, and Daniel is my right-hand man who manages our company’s operations.
However, getting non-family members to buy into my vision and work for me was not as easy. In the beginning, we had to go through a lot of new hires, but eventually, one employee stuck, then another and another. God has been so good to build a wonderful team of family and non-family to serve our clients and provide so much diversity and talent to our company.
One of my passions early on was to build a business model that was scalable and could be replicated. This was challenging, seeing that I started doing pretty much anything the client asked me to do (think office manager), billed by the hour, and used whatever tools and equipment the client supplied me with. Slowly but surely, we started developing and implementing standard practices that have totally transformed our business and allowed us to grow. Now, we serve more clients more effectively and focus on our core competencies.
From the very beginning, the heart of our business and our core has always been to care about our clients on a personal level. In the last couple of years, the Lord has led us to start praying for each of our clients by name on a regular basis. We truly desire God’s blessing on each of our clients, not only in their businesses, but also in the personal lives and in their relationship with him. It rejoices me beyond measure when I hear of our staff going out of their way to serve our clients and meet their needs.
I can also remember when we decided to go virtual as a company. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. One of our earlier non-family hires told me one day that she was going to be moving away. This was devastating, especially seeing how much we needed her help, how well she worked and how invested she was in our company. We had a physical server in our office closet (does anyone use those anymore?). My IT guy, who is still with me (thank you, Damon!), was able to figure out how to make our server accessible from the outside in a secure fashion. This allowed my staff member to keep working for me. Eventually, we all began to work remotely and it totally transformed my business. Now, we provide 95 percent of all our services virtually and all my staff works from their home offices.
God has truly been good to Sound Business Services! We have learned a lot and grown a lot over the last 13 years. I am totally excited about the future and serving our clients in even greater ways.