How does any business start? Lots of stories: it’s like asking someone how they got together with their spouse.
It took a while to work my through college. The jobs included selling food in the dorms, bookkeeping, office support, computer programming, laboratory assistant and general helper in a veterinary office. I attended two universities and changed my major several times before graduating with a BS in mathematics. Central to all this variety is a love of thinking, imagining, putting things together and making them work. My corporate background is in life-critical system architectures for large energy and military projects. That included wearing lots of hats: developer, designer, tester, project manager and rain-maker. I’m not a ‘thinking outside of the box’ gal. I ask. ‘What box?’
Building these systems required team skills because the training in engineering and the sciences is deep and focused. All the systems used computers, sensors and human operators. System design always began by thinking about normal, everyday activities. Every day means all the time. We spent a lot of time thinking about what could go wrong and how to keep things going when/if that happened.
Biz 4 the Rest of Us opened in 2004 after the second layoff. The layoffs disrupted my cash flow and my life. Obviously, the only way I could trust my boss was to be the boss.
There are many reasons to focus on business continuity for normal operations. Business continuity is usually about disaster recovery. That’s important; however, the most common disaster is a business failure. Business continuity during normal operations is the first line of defense against failure because we look at the root causes: money and management. Money failure means the business doesn’t support the owner. Management failure stems from an owner’s approaching a business as a technician, not an owner/ manager.
How do we put a business together and make it work? How do we scale it as we grow? Technology is a big help but choosing the right option can be daunting. Most businesses start with bookkeeping software. Next, they learn to do it well enough to trust the reports and, finally, to use them. The next step starts with some event that spotlights a weakness.
Biz is a virtual shop so we use the web to get things done. We began using Spring Ahead when a part-time worker could not enter billable hours through a (now defunct) QuickBooks time tracker. Last year we began using Method Integration to improve marketing, sales and customer service activities. Budgeting in QuickBooks is (to put it kindly) minimal. Enter ProfitSee.
I introduce products to my clients after I verify that 1) they solve a common problem, 2) I can trust them and 3) the integration with QuickBooks is solid. I have used them, sometimes struggled with them and, finally, come to respect the software and the companies who sell them.