Saturday, August 30, 2008

Business Philosophy

I was at an educational seminar a week ago sponsored and hosted by ASBA, the Arizona Small Business Association. We were talking about branding our businesses to help recruit the best employees, which isn't really important to this post at all.

I was talking to Donna, one of the owners of Network Dogs, Inc. She said that she and her husband (another owner) would rather make $1 profit on 1,000,000 customers than $1,000,000 on 1 customer. Her reasoning was that they couldn't give the level of service they wanted to and didn't have the resources to handle the big contract, but they could help many small companies.

That got me thinking and today I finally found the correct articulation for my business philosophy. My philosophy is that I'd rather spend 8 hours a day working for 5 clients than 40 hours a week working for 1 client.

Here is my reasoning. My business is to provide administrative and bookkeeping services to small businesses on an as needed basis. This means that I am a contractor who sells my professional services to people who don't need a full-time employee. Spending forty hours a week, every week, working for one company makes me less of a contractor and more of an employee. There may come a time (rather soon) where I may need to go back to being an employee for a while, but I'd rather not. I'd rather have the experience that comes from working for a number of different clients. I've also found that I like working with small businesses. They are fun and interesting. Sure, I sometimes miss the corporate environment, but not enough to want to go back there forever.

Monday, August 11, 2008

What's Up with This Background?

(My group of Administrators at a training meeting I hosted while at Terminix. I'm on the front row - 3rd from the right.)

I know there may be people who visit this blog and wonder what's up with the background. I thought I'd tell those who don't know me well (in addition to the obvious reference to being a busy bee.)

I spent 11 years working my way up the administrative ranks of Terminix (yep - the pest control company). When I was a new employee, working as a bookkeeper in a branch office, I talked to a lot of people who referred to their technicians as their "bug guy." Well, I am an equal opportunity type person, so I adopted the term "bug babe" for female Terminix employees and I've used the online personna of "abugbabe" for many years. (Although I try not to use it for professional forums, groups,etc., because it doesn't really soundlike you should trust me with your business.) Even though the use has somewhat diminished, I remain in my heart, a bug babe.

I was recently exchanging emails with a friend from Terminix. He asked me if I regretted leaving. I learned a lot at Terminix and much of what I learned makes me a skilled and valuable asset to organizations. I don't regret working for Terminix, even though I started in an entry level position and I don't regret leaving when I did. I left at the right time for both myself and the company. We parted on good terms.

I will always be grateful to the people who were patient enough to teach me the things I didn't know, trusted me to do the seemingly impossible - or at least my job without a lot of micromanagement, let me grow and learn and make mistakes, and gave me the confidence to try all sorts of things I had no business doing (at least by conventional wisdom). I learned there was very little I couldn't do (administratively) if I needed to, which has made this new venture into the business world, if not easier, at least faced with a lot of bravado.

So thanks to the bug people who helped me on my way. I will always remain Abugbabe.