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I'm the managing member of Prosper Strategic Finance in Phoenix, offering business planning to aid clients in obtaining financing, performance measurement to assist in improving profitability, and strategic and tactical planning to provide a road map for achieving certain goals. I started this business after receiving an MBA/MSIM (Master Science Information Management) from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University in Tempe.
For now, I wear all the hats for this business. I'm responsible for bringing in clients, performing the projects, developing the deliverables, maintaining client satisfaction, and billing and collections. There are benefits and drawbacks to being the only employee of a company. For me, the greatest benefit is the ability to stay at home with my twin girls and watch them grow each day, while still maintaining a professional as well as personal identity.
WHY BE SHY? There were a few misconceptions I had before starting my own business. First, I thought networking was awkward. As an introvert, the last place I wanted to be was at a social function where everyone was trying to sell me something I didn't need. What I found, though, were friendly groups of people interested in watching their businesses grow and helping yours grow.
Second, I thought that working from home would be inefficient and lonely. Instead, I'm generally able to accomplish more than I could in an office because there are fewer distractions. In addition, I attend networking events, volunteer, and make more time for friends and family to ensure that I get a proper dose of "adult" conversations.
I was under the impression that most business owners, especially those with small businesses, were more educated regarding basic business tools (such as business plans, monthly financial statements, cash flow, etc.). Most of my clients did not have a current business plan in place. Therefore, they were struggling to make decisions or understand why they weren't achieving their goals. Many small-business owners don't prepare monthly or quarterly financial statements.
Life is anything but predictable when you have twins, but here's a timeline of a recent day:
6:30 a.m. -- I'm busy keeping my not-quite-one-year-old twin daughters entertained so I can get something to eat before the day gets too hectic. I won't go into the details of my "baby" schedule, but it's fairly consistent day-to-day, with feedings almost every two hours.
8 a.m. -- Check e-mail and look at my calendar to plan what must be accomplished for the day and what can wait if I run out of time.
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