FINSYNC and WaFd Bank are combining forces to deliver intuitive accounting software with unmatched customer service for business owners to take control of their cash flow and experience financial harmony. In this month’s Spotlight Interview, we chatted with Customer Service Representative, Kawanda Ready. Kawanda’s dedication to the WaFd team and her commitment to the small businesses she assists shines like a beacon and is just another proof-point that WaFd and FINSYNC are better together!

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

I am a very social person so I love being able to meet new people and have those wonderful conversations.

What is your favorite part of being part of the WaFd team?

Being part of WaFd is like being part of a family. My colleagues have become my friends. When you live at work more than at home, it is a blessing to be able to come in every day to a warm, inviting environment. 

How do you locate business owners that may be a good match for FINSYNC?

When I’m looking at potential FINSYNC clients, I am looking for small business owners who are trying to do all of their books, and payroll on their own and just need a little extra help.

What is your approach like?

I approach everyone as a friend so that it is easier to get people to open up. Once I have established that connection, they start talking about their business and pain points. I am listening for areas around payroll being too expensive or their accounting system being hard to use. I am in tune with them and helpful versus being a salesperson. I might ask, who helps you with your books? What do you like about it? What don’t you like? 

Do you think your customers struggle with other software solutions such as Quickbooks?

Definitely! Previously, I was both the operations manager for a trucking company and I was a manager for an accounting shop, for both of which, I did the books for these organizations. I worked with Quickbooks for 10 years and it was hard keeping up with the changes they made, it was so confusing. One owner and I spent 8 months trying to figure it out and we never did. I have a college degree in accounting and it was easier for me to write everything down. It is so confusing, they lost user-friendliness. Then as soon as you figure something out, they charge another monthly fee to use it.

What do you like best about FINSYNC?

I am excited about the products FINSYNC offers. I think it is amazing. It is so nice for small businesses to be able to have an all-inclusive package instead of what other software companies do by adding additional charges. FINSYNC is more user-friendly and everything is right there in one place.

What other “banking tools” could we provide you to help you succeed?

More FINSYNC pins! Also, it would be nice to have a video I could play really quickly on my phone to small business owners about FINSYNC.   Kawanda’s joyful personality and positive attitude will no doubt take her to new heights within the WaFd family. We are honored to have her as a part of the FINSYNC family as well and look forward to future conversations down the road. Thank you, Kawanda!   Learn more about FINSYNC's all-in-one cloud-based accounting platform. As a customer of WaFd Bank, you can use FINSYNC’s software at 50% off for 6 months.  
I had the pleasure of speaking with Mandy Perkins, the Executive Director of Choices of the Heart. Choices is a non-profit organization that provides support and compassion to women who are or think they may be pregnant. Choices of the Heart offers emotional support without judgment by providing counseling, testing, education, and resources. They are with women every step of the way, regardless of their income.  

What drew you to the company and to join in a leadership capacity? 

My husband and I have been business owners of a fabrication business for the past 20 years, and I also own an antique shop near the clinic. Our pastor started choices of the Heart in 1983, so I have always supported it in some capacity. In March 2021, there was a huge staff change, and the pastor asked me to use my business knowledge and take over as Director. I agreed, and even though there has been an enormous learning curve, I feel very blessed to be here. 

What are some of the challenges you've faced running a non-profit organization?

A non-profit is very different from a regular business. With a non-profit, you aren't physically selling anything to pull in income. We are entirely donor-supported, which adds a whole other stress element because we can't operate if we don't have the donors’ support. 

How does your work fulfill your passions?

We support women who are pregnant or think they might be. We provide pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, counseling, and additional resources. Even though this role can be very exhausting, I know this is my purpose right now. 

Who or what prompted you to start using FINSYNC? 

I was so tired of Quickbooks. I used them with our fabrication business. I have used it for years and have never been impressed. But when I came here, it made zero sense how Quickbooks works for a non-profit. Because with our non-profit, we are not here to take payments and invoices. Instead, we need to outline our budget and collect money from donors. QBO is set up for invoicing, bringing in cash for a service rendered.  When I first came on board, QBO disconnected from Synovus, the bank we were currently using. However, I kept going back and forth between these two companies, trying to get to a real person, and they each pointed their fingers, saying it was the other's fault that the bank account no longer synced. I worked for four months trying to reconnect! I was reconciling pen to paper with a spreadsheet. It was ridiculous.  I finally got fed up with it and decided to change banks to Morris Bank, which eventually led me to FINSYNC.

What are the biggest benefits your business has experienced using FINSYNC?

Quickbooks treated our donors as invoices, as in businesses being invoiced, which did not make any sense. This ended up being more work on my part than it should have been.  Plus, ACH donations were not tracked in QBO. These donations were only tracked through the bank. So each month, I had to go to the bank and login into two accounts, transfer ACH donations using a token code from one account to another and then manually put this into Quickbooks. It was ridiculous, and I just knew there had to be a simpler way. The most significant benefit FINSYNC offers is its customer service, without a doubt. I talked to Phil Weidner on many occasions because I am not very comfortable with technology, and Phil was very patient with me and helped me get set up. Phil is still helping me, and he has transferred all my bank statements from 2021 to be up to date. Phil has helped me with ACH payments and transfers done and eventually reconciling. I know he will walk me through whatever I need to ensure I am doing it correctly. 

We have to thank our friends and partners at Morris Bank for this introduction and relationship; tell us a little more about your relationship with them.

I am so happy with Morris Bank. My feeling all along is that we are a local non-profit, so we should be with a local bank and have each other's back. When we moved Choices from Synovus to Morris, I told Robert Benson, who I have known for some time at Morris, that I was so frustrated with Quickbooks. Immediately, Robert said, "Let me tell you about FINSYNC." I told him that if it keeps track of my donors and allows me to reconcile donations, I am in! So Robert put me in touch with Jack Stone, who walked me through the software and showed me how simple it is, which I like. I am so happy with what FINSYNC allows me to do. 

Could you talk more about the partnership between Morris Bank and FINSYNC, particularly at the beginning of the relationship?

My husband and I already have our personal accounts and other business accounts through Morris Bank here in Statesboro. So when I called, Robert was extremely helpful in this transition. Robert is the son of Dr. Benson, who we know personally. When I started working at Choices of the Heart, my first thought was Morris Bank. 

Do you have any other financial institutions connected to FINSYNC; if so, how is your relationship with them; how would you compare the relationships?

When I go into Morris, everybody recognizes me and says, "Hey Miss Mandy!" so happy and cheerful. When I walked into Synovus, it wasn't like that at all. I wasn't recognized. They didn't know who I was, they were there to do a job, and that is it. They weren't involved in the community.  It is a huge difference, and I guess if you are not a business owner, maybe it doesn't matter so much. But when you are a business owner, you want to call up your banker, and they know who you are. 

How would you grade your experience connecting your bank accounts to FINSYNC; did you connect more than one account? How has this helped make your business life easier?

Very high! It was very easy. Phil did most of it. He will tell me to press here, click on that. I really appreciate that extra help. Phil was able to design it for what we needed. If I ever have a problem, I know he will figure out a strategy somehow. 

What advice do you have for others running a business or 501c3 (non-profit) like yours?

Pray a lot! Learning along the road is the best way because if you come into a non-profit with no prior experience in 501c3, it will shape you to what it needs. Versus someone coming in thinking they know everything and changing the organization.  With non-profits, our budget is our main thing, and we have to stay in line with our budget since we don't have discretionary funds.  Finally, you have to have the attitude that we are here to serve, not just be served. I think all non-profits work in that way. 

Anything else you would like to share with other potential and actual small business owners?

You need to love what you are doing. If you don't love it, you don't need to be in a non-profit. This is not a job; this is a calling. If you want just to earn a paycheck, don't work for a non-profit. The girls that walk through those doors into our clinic need to know the moment we greet them, that they are not being judged. They are truly our #1 focus. You can't do that if it is not in your heart. I have often said if this ever gets to be "just a job," I will move on to something else. Right now, my heart is here.   FINSYNC ensures you have the best financing options to grow your business.
Building relationships with her community and supporting small businesses ranks among the top of Traci Kelly's key pillars for life enjoyment. Hear about how she and Doug, her husband of 33 years, have successfully managed their business, Kelly Limestone Learn more about her story, what brought Traci to FINSYNC, and why she is passionate about connecting with small organizations.  

Tell me about your company and what inspired you to start.

Kelly Limestone is a family business that Doug's parents started in the 1940s. After Doug's mother passed away in 1991, we moved from Aspen, CO, back to Missouri to help with the family business. At the time, this business was a rock quarry, mining rock, and manufacturing limestone, which ultimately grew into the business today.  In 2002 we officially purchased the entire business from Doug's father. We sold the rock quarry section of the company in 2007 and concentrated on manufacturing limestone and gypsum products The limestone contains calcium deposits which feed the plants and makes other nutrients work better. Calcium is critical to the human body and plant growth as well.  Our target markets include golf courses, agricultural farms, and lawn care. We manufacture this product in Missouri and ship it to over 38 states and countries. 

What are some of the challenges you've faced as a small business owner?

Over the years, the challenges we have faced are the growing pains of a capital-intensive business, and raw material sourcing has been a big challenge.  We have been blessed and have always had wonderful employees. We have not had a lot of employee turnover, high employee retention, and we are grateful for that. 

What's the best thing about being a small business owner?

This is so easy! We forge meaningful relationships with our customers and our employees. We have come to know many of them personally and their families; we are truly blessed. They have made our lives fuller.  Many of the companies who have been our clients since 1991 are also small businesses. We have known them personally over the years, and we go to their funerals when loved ones pass. Their lives are intermixed with ours in lots of wonderful ways.

What prompted you to start using FINSYNC?

I researched all the bigger companies because I knew our software had to be web-based since our secretary was working from a different location.  I have always been a supporter of small businesses. In fact, I told our friends and family that I am buying all Christmas presents locally this year. I felt like FINSYNC was a small company where I could call and talk to an actual person if I needed help. Since I have always been a big supporter of small businesses, I felt you fit me.

What are the biggest benefits your business has experienced using FINSYNC?

There are actually a lot of things I like about you. I like working with real people. When I have a question, David, or another customer support member, get back to me quickly. When I send an email, I like that someone will get back to me within a few hours. That's a big thing for me. I recently had a banking glitch which was kind of frustrating. But it is incredibly great to know I could talk to a person and they would help me through it, and we would figure out the solution together even if it is just a connection issue that was the root cause of my problem.  Keep doing your customer service the way you're doing it because that is such an asset for your company!

What financial institutions do you have connected to FINSYNC?

I previously was with US Bank, and during COVID they closed the lobby of their branches. I was tired of calling these 1-800 numbers, not reaching a real person. My husband and I decided we were going to try a small, local bank instead. We switched to OakStar using FINSYNC. I am so thrilled I made this change and have nothing but good things to say about that decision.  Moving away from giant conglomerations and supporting small businesses is kind of a theme for me.

How does having FINSYNC connected to the accounts mentioned above make your business life easier?

The bank sync is definitely a game-changer for me, and I can compare transactions and click "done" from my car. So quick and easy. I also like Lockbox for checks. This feature is a good thing for me because I am always on the move. 

What advice do you have for those thinking about owning their own business?

I would say go for it! It has been an incredible ride for us since 1991. It is rewarding, yet exhausting. If you are fortunate enough to do it with someone you love, it makes it all the better. I am very blessed to be in business with my husband. We have a joke in our family that he is the "rainmaker" because he is that guy that goes out and makes everything happen, and I come home and put together the details. We really complement each other. 

Anything else you would like to share with other potential and actual small business owners?

If you are thinking about starting your own business, I highly recommend going with FINSYNC and the smaller banking institutions. I feel both are readily available and interested in your success.    Learn more about FINSYNC's all-in-one cloud-based accounting platform.
Christophe Choquart followed his passion for art and opened LM Frame & Gallery in July of 2020 in Marietta, GA. We had the opportunity to interview him and learn more about his journey and how FINSYNC has helped him along the way.

Tell me about your company and what inspired you to start

I have been a collector of art for a while, and I’ve always had the idea of opening a gallery where I could display Australian art. I ended up having the opportunity to purchase my gallery in July of 2020 right in the middle of COVID. When I saw that the business that was previously located here was going to close, I decided to follow my passion and open LM Frame & Gallery. I was looking to diversify and create an ecosystem with an art shop that could be a one-stop-shop for art and framing.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a small business owner?

There have been many challenges! Due to COVID, we’ve experienced supply chain issues. It has been challenging to keep up with inventory and inflation. As a small business owner, there are always things that need to be fixed. You’re accountable for every single mistake while keeping everyone happy and managing your team. Sometimes there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done.

What’s the best thing about being a small business owner?

Following my passion and making clients happy. To me, the greatest thing is working around art and helping people enhance their art with custom frames.

What prompted you to start using FINSYNC?

I had the opportunity to work with FINSYNC software at my previous job. I wanted to have a tool that would be a one-stop shop where I could pay my suppliers, do my payroll, monitor my P&L, check my bank information, and get bookkeeping help. FINSYNC has allowed me to have a clear understanding of my business and where I was heading.

What financial institutions do you have connected to FINSYNC?

I have Chase Bank which is my main operating bank.

How does having FINSYNC connected to the accounts mentioned above make your business life easier?

I can very quickly categorize my spending. I have quick access to view my P&L, monitor cash flow, and make decisions based on cash flow scenarios. Having my accounts connected has helped me manage my cash flow and bookkeeping.

What are the biggest benefits your business has experienced using FINSYNC?

FINSYNC has allowed me to free up time to focus on running my business. I can go in at any time and see what is coming in and out. It’s such a productive tool that allows me to stay on top of my cash flow without spending too much time worrying about financials.

What advice do you have for those who are thinking about owning their own business?

It’s important to have enough money saved up to go through the beginning stages of starting a business. Make sure you have the cash to support your initial investment until your business is profitable.

Anything else you would like to share with other potential and actual small business owners?

If you are looking for an accounting plus cash flow management tool, you should give FINSYNC a try. The customer service is great and they offer so many resources for your small business such as financing. In my opinion, when looking for a tool you need something user-friendly that’s really going to let you know what’s working and what’s not. Numbers tell a big story and it’s better to have one tool like FINSYNC that helps you understand and move your business forward.   Learn more about FINSYNC's all-in-one cloud-based accounting platform.
We had the opportunity to interview Bridget Chun of Chunogly Productions. Bridget wears several hats including managing her own business, podcaster for Romance at a Glance, and mother of two children, to name a few. Read about her journey as a small business owner and how FINSYNC has helped her simplify her cash flow management.

Tell Me About Your Company and What Inspired You to Start

I have been working as a freelancer in the entertainment and digital space for over 6 years. In the past, I was mostly working 1099 jobs due to being in the creative industry. I still wanted to have the flexibility and not take on the traditional W2 job. I started my company, Chunogly Productions in 2016. My company consists of writing and consulting in the digital podcasting space.

What Are Some of the Challenges You’ve Faced as a Small Business Owner?

One of the largest challenges that I’ve faced is learning how to properly manage cash flow. Part of the reason why I chose FINSYNC for my small business is because of how easy it is to track profitability, invoices, projects, and maintain all the financial aspects. As a result, I have been able to continue focusing on writing, consulting, and working closely with my clients. Navigating through the pandemic has also been challenging. A lot of my clients paused their projects from March until October. This was a huge problem not only for me but for every small business owner.

What’s the Best Thing About Being a Small Business Owner?

Flexibility! I am a mother of two children. I have a three and a half-year-old and a one and a half-year-old. Having my own business has allowed me to spend significantly more time with my children than I would have if I were working full time. I was fortunate enough to have been able to take off six months after having my baby. I was able to keep paying myself because I had a reserve of money. My clients have been extremely understanding during those times.

What Prompted You to Start Using FINSYNC?

My company was starting to earn more revenue from different places. I found myself needing to move from using spreadsheets to an actual system, and I was looking around at all the different options. All of the traditional accounting software systems did not seem intuitive enough for me since I am a very visual person. While I was searching and comparing different plans, I came across FINSYNC. After testing out the 7-day free trial, I found it very easy to use and decided that this was the best route for my business.

What Financial Institutions Do You Have Connected to FINSYNC?

Chase Bank.

How Does Having FINSYNC Connected to the Accounts Mentioned Above Make Your Business Life Easier?

Having my Chase accounts connected to FINSYNC makes my life significantly easier! It is especially convenient for my accountants when they do my deductibles or while figuring out how much we spend and what we spend it on. For example, categorizing everything and knowing exactly how much equipment or website fees we spend on a project is great.

What Are the Biggest Benefits Your Business Has Experienced Using FINSYNC?

Being able to get a very quick and clear picture of how much cash I have coming in or how much cash I have already promised to go out. The reporting feature allows me to pull up all kinds of different information as well. Another great feature is having the ability to send out reminders for my clients if they haven’t paid on time by implementing invoice financing.

What Advice Do You Have for Those Who Are Thinking About Owning Their own Business?

Don’t be afraid to pivot or market yourself in a different way if your original plan is not working out as expected. Oftentimes we have a whole plan of how we would like for things to work out, but it’s okay to change your mind or figure out different ways to obtain your goals. Something else I’d recommend is to spend money on advertising your business.   FINSYNC’s intuitive online tools can help you easily visualize and manage your company’s cash flow so you can gain insights that will optimize your chances of getting the best financing to grow your business.
Asaneth French started her company, SOLV Maintenance and Repair on March 14th, 2020. We had the opportunity to interview her and learn more about her journey. She shared with us how she’s managed to run her business amidst a pandemic and some general advice for other people thinking about starting a small business.

Tell Me About Your Company and What Inspired You to Start

We are a maintenance and repair company, and we cater to three demographics which are residential, multifamily communities, and commercial. We do anything from installing light fixtures to minor remodeling and plumbing. Typically we are placed in the handyman category, but I feel that we're a little more than that. My husband and I are co-owners, and we both have over 16 years of experience in the apartment industry. Previously, I was an apartment manager, and he was the lead maintenance supervisor. We knew a lot about budgeting and why it’s important to repair something rather than replace and how to deal with vendors. Our goal was for our business to be different. We wanted to offer repair before replacement and emphasize we do everything we can to repair and keep the cost down and budgets down. I want to make sure people, especially in our community, are taken care of.

What Are Some of the Challenges You’ve Faced as a Small Business Owner?

Our company launched on March 14th of 2020. It was literally the week when everything shut down due to the Coronavirus. Besides the initial launching of a business in the midst of a pandemic struggle, it's been very challenging to compete with larger commercial companies that have a multi fleet. My husband and I have only one work truck. Establishing rapport without compromising our quality has been very challenging because they just see us as a handy service, but we provide the same services that commercial companies do.

What’s the Best Thing About Being a Small Business Owner?

One thing is that we're able to accommodate the schedule of our customers because they range from residential to commercial. We can cater to that, personalizing our relationship with them, really getting to know them. I think the personalization of a small business has been awesome for me. That's why I like what I do. I like to make sure we're servicing our customers the way they need to be serviced.

What Prompted You to Start Using FINSYNC?

When I initially set up my account with Randolph-Books Federal Credit Union, they sent me a link and they asked me if I wanted more information on services such as payroll and bookkeeping and all that, and I said yes. Once I received the information, I visited FINSYNC’s website and saw which services were offered and the convenience of having my bank and everything in one was just awesome.

How Does Having FINSYNC Connected to the Accounts Mentioned Above Make Your Business Life Easier?

I am very thankful for the discount we receive due to the partnership with Randolf-Brooks FCU. It's awesome for my small business. I’ve never had an issue when I have to sync my account or with the transition between my bank. So far it has been flawless. It’s very convenient to be able to log in and have all of my information there in one place.

What Are the Biggest Benefits Your Business Has Experienced Using FINSYNC?

Thanks to FINSYNC I can offer my customers the option to pay with a credit card. This has been awesome. FINSYNC is also very user-friendly and saves me time. I know what I am doing and it’s easy to find what I am looking for. If I ever run into any issues, I go to the chat option or send an email and someone immediately answers. I’ve never had to wait more than 24 hours to get a response.

What Advice Do You Have for Those Who Are Thinking About Owning Their own Business?

The first year is always going to be hard. You have to put in elbow grease in order to achieve your goals. In my industry, I am literally climbing ladders, painting windows. So if you have that willingness to labor for your own business, you'll eventually reap what you're selling. Just hang in there!   FINSYNC continues to support your small business with updated accounting and business knowledge to help you grow, scale and succeed.
We had the opportunity to interview Romeo Bagherinia, founder of Mr. Robert’s Handyman Services, a contracting company located in San Antonio, Texas.

Tell Me About Your Company and What Inspired You to Start

The name of our company comes from my father-in-law. He was always a huge inspiration to me. Back in 2011, we lost him due to cancer, and the stuff we do now is his trademark. He was always working outdoors building something. Even when he was diagnosed with cancer, you couldn’t stop him from working on something outside to help homeowners. Our goal at Mr. Robert’s Handyman Services is to help our clients upgrade their homes in a way that makes them feel comfortable, whether they want to make it their forever home or if they’re doing upgrades required before selling. My wife and I are both retired. We figured out a way to help folks without having to feel like they are getting ripped off at the same time. It’s something that we can feel accomplished about when they are proudly looking at their homes.

What Are Some of the Challenges You’ve Faced as a Small Business Owner?

I officially started this maintenance business 12 months ago, and along the way, we have learned so much from our mistakes. One of the biggest challenges when running your own business is making sure you have the right staff. It’s especially challenging in this industry because our main goal is to have happy customers and offer quality work. It’s a hard pill to swallow when a client is not happy with the work, and looking back at April 2020 there’s no way to go back and fix the previous jobs.

What’s the Best Thing About Being a Small Business Owner?

I really think that because of my prior military experience, there's a lot of concepts that I try to bring to it that enable the employees we have to feel good about working with us. I've got a couple of part-time employees and they tell me: “Wow man, my previous bosses are nothing like what you are,” and that makes me feel great. We're still a new company, so we're still working on quirks and now we are finally in a position to offer benefits. I can't offer complete 100% benefits just yet, but little things like that keep reminding me why I do what I do. One of the most rewarding things is to be able to have that kind of situation where I’m probably taking a bigger step than I should, but when it comes to helping people there is no bigger step. I would rather not make the money I think I can make if it means I can hire somebody to help me and they are not left in the dark.

What Prompted You to Start Using FINSYNC?

We previously used a competitor at a price point that was more expensive. They didn’t offer nearly as many functions as FINSYNC. We signed up for the service right when COVID hit, and we were unable to use the program, but they were still charging us the full amount. Due to the pandemic, money wasn’t coming in. That’s when we began doing more research. We opened a business checking account at Randolf-Brooks Federal Credit Union and FINSYNC was recommended. We haven’t had any complaints so far, and the user-friendliness has been very helpful.

What Are the Biggest Benefits Your Business has Experienced Using FINSYNC?

I would say that one of the biggest benefits is it is user-friendly. Our first two transactions took a little longer because of being new to the system, but everything was explained. I never felt like I was left in the dark. My representative, Karima, she's awesome to work with. Any time I have questions she is there to answer them for me. Once you get started with FINSYNC, everything makes sense. One of the things I enjoy the most is having one constant person to work with versus having different people helping each time.

What Financial Institutions Do You Have Connected to FINSYNC?

Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union.

How Does Having FINSYNC Connected to the Accounts Mentioned Above Make Your Business Life Easier?

One of the biggest advantages of having Randolf-Brooks Federal Credit Union connected to FINSYNC is how easy it is to track things. When a client pays a deposit, we see the tracking from the moment they pay their deposit, when materials are purchased, invoice financing, and then clearing. I am also very impressed with the chart flow.

What Advice Do You Have for Those Who Are Thinking About Owning Their Own Business?

Set yourself a goal that’s reachable. For example, my reachable goal was that I wanted to be doing this business for 12 months and see all of the mistakes we made. No matter how small the mistakes were, for example forgetting to put gas in the truck or not putting air in a tire. I wanted to examine each mistake, and I wouldn’t say to scrutinize it, but to capitalize on that error and find the best solution. That’s the best advice I can usually give somebody that after 12 months of bumps and bruises, you know you can continue. I strongly recommend looking into your business in a 12-month aspect.

Anything Else You Would Like to Share with Other Potential and Actual Small Business Owners?

You can do it! There are so many resources in today’s society. Bless millennials and the 21st century! There are way too many resources out there to feel like you can’t do it. Don't be afraid and give yourself realistic goals to achieve. As a fellow entrepreneur, if you find yourself needing help or have any questions, I am here to help.   Learn more about FINSYNC's all-in-one cloud-based accounting platform.
We had the opportunity to interview Isaiah Grant from Dream Fitness Client Academy. Read about his journey as a small business owner and how his past health issues inspired him to create the thriving business he has today.

Tell Me About Dream Fitness Client Academy

We have been in business for four years. Initially, we began as a digital agency; working with local businesses and with online coaches from a broader perspective. Fast forward, we decided to go very niche in regards to working with fitness and health coaches. We have a 13-week implementation program to show the coaches how to go from being a person who has a hobby and turn that hobby into an online coaching business. A business that enables them to have time and financial freedom. Our motto is helping folks get off the coaching hamster wheel so that they can ultimately have the freedom to work when they want to work. We leverage systems, people, and different products and processes to help them actually scale and drive more impact to their audience.

What Inspired You to Start Dream Fitness Academy?

I was born and raised in a single-family household where my mom was personally disabled. At an early age, I had to be resourceful and learn how to build meaningful relationships with people and ultimately learn how to execute and get things done. From an early age, I was an entrepreneur. As you can imagine, in middle school, I sold everything: pencils, erasers, CDs. Ultimately, fast forward to eighth grade, I was sitting in my science class, and I was doing a year-long project on diabetes and ironically was diagnosed with diabetes during that class year. This was a pivotal stage in my life. I decided to get my own health and wellness coach, who helped me get rid of diabetes and helped me see the importance of being physically, mentally, and spiritually fit. After spending 5 years in the corporate world, I was ready to become a small business owner. I decided to leave and start my own agency. I was inspired to impact other financial or fitness and health coaches, like the individual who impacted me in eighth grade.

What’s the Best Thing About Being a Small Business Owner?

I think it's the discovery and the process of developing as a leader and realizing that you're your biggest bottleneck to your business. The more you can fire yourself from each of the different core departments like marketing, sales fulfillment in your business, the bigger you'll grow. So for me, it's been a lot of the personal development associated with being a small business owner that has been the most enjoyable. From outside the business, the impact of being able to see these fitness and health coaches grow tremendously in terms of being a business owner. That drives me to be even more of a leader for my company and for the people we serve.

What are Some of the Challenges You’ve Faced as a Small Business Owner?

A huge part of my company is systems. We live and die by systems and numbers. Prior to this year, we weren't crystal clear in regards to our numbers and our KPI. We've become more clear on our value chain which is marketing, sales, and fulfillment. We've identified the top KPIs in each of those buckets. One of the huge parts was figuring out the right people who can manage those systems. It was hard for them to figure out what those numbers were without understanding the true health of our finances. That was one of the reasons why we ended up with FINSYNC. We saw that you guys offer cash flow management and a concierge service that would help us with the people planning of our business. It has been super easy working with you guys to hire a bookkeeper who is almost playing a CFO role for us at a fraction of the cost and investment. She's helping us with budgeting, forecasting, and also seeing our actuals for cash flow expenses.

What Prompted Dream Fitness Client Academy to Start Using FINSYNC?

During the earlier days of COVID, we were in the process of applying for several different loans and grants and that’s when FINSYNC was recommended to us as a great financial tool. FINSYNC gives you clarity around your cash flow, business expenses, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and also helps with managing your books. One of the things that stood out to me was the ongoing support.

Did you Consider Any Other Software Prior to FINSYNC?

We were previously using Quickbooks but found it to be very challenging. Their software was not as user-friendly as FINSYNC. At first, it was a helpful tool, but it didn’t necessarily stay up-to-date. We constantly had to sync our accounts.

What are the Biggest Benefits Dream Fitness Client Academy Has Experienced Using FINSYNC?

We have been able to get more clarity around our numbers and most importantly the user-friendliness of the tool. Getting rid of the accounting jargon has been great and the ongoing support. I would say the value that's given at the price is great. In addition, having our bookkeeper, who is serving as not only a bookkeeper but also almost like a CFO, the investment into her, and into our business is very reasonable. With FINSYNC, you see the value and the investment are completely reasonable.

What Advice do you Have for Those Who are Thinking About Owning Their Own Business?

    1. Fall in love with creating systems, they help you replicate yourself and delegate out to other people who are just as good as you are.
    2. Become in love with the numbers. Numbers are important to learn about the growth and bottlenecks in your company.
    3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When searching for a new tool for our cash flow management, I asked FINSYNC for a demo. I was not sure what to expect, but it turned out to be an amazing tool with an amazing support group.
    4. Invest in yourself constantly, so that you can continue to become a better leader, meet people, lead systems, and impact the overall growth of your company.
  If you’re looking for more helpful tips, the FINSYNC blog is a great resource. Maybe your successful business will be featured one day!
We had the chance to connect with Mike Fuller, who spoke to us about his journey to business ownership and his passion for helping others become successful in their careers. His company, Elite Source Solutions is a recruiting company founded in 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee, and Tampa, Florida. They provide talent ranging from professional services to technical staffing or IT recruiting services. As the business has grown, their focus has become the Southeast while they periodically work in other markets as well. Mike was kind enough to share some thoughts with us about starting and running a business:

What inspired you to start Elite Source Solutions?

I always had a passion throughout my career to start something of my own. Previously, I worked for another staffing company. After 12 years of working there, I felt like I was ready to take on a new challenge. I was ready for something new, and I knew I wanted to build something that I could be proud of.

What are some of the biggest rewards of running a small business?

It is extremely rewarding to watch people grow in their careers. I enjoy being able to mentor and directly help and watch others achieve success. Several of our recruiters and entry-level positions come right out of school with no prior work experience other than their degree. Watching them grow and achieve success and maturity in business is by far the most rewarding thing. Watching the company grow is so rewarding as well. It is incredible to see how we started with nothing and as time has gone by, we have gone from crawling to walking, and hopefully soon one day we will be running. It is so satisfying to see that.

What are some of the biggest challenges of owning your own business?

You never know what your day is going to hold. When you start off you are doing a little bit of everything. At first, I was running the business on my own. I found myself doing everything from accounting to sales management. It is also challenging when you have no revenue coming in at first. There is always so much going on. You really have to learn to prioritize and master time management in order to run a successful business.

Why did you choose to start working with FINSYNC?

FINSYNC was the option that had the best value for the cost. I looked at several other payments platforms and FINSYNC offered the best overall value. If I ever had an issue with anything, I knew that I could call and a real person would answer the phone and could help me through it. The quality you get for the cost was a no-brainer. I would recommend FINSYNC to any small business.

Has FINSYNC made running your business easier?

It definitely has. A lot of small things that are needed are easily accessible. For example, when I need certain documents, I know where to find them. The reporting, creating an invoice, and payroll are all located in one place. We are able to gather reports quickly and efficiently. The software is very user-friendly and easy to navigate.

What advice do you have for those who are thinking about owning their own business?

Nowadays it's common culture for people to come directly out of college and want to become an entrepreneur and start their own business right away. I think this is great, but I feel like learning is so important. If you have the opportunity to work for another company and really get to know the business and work your way from the bottom up, I think that is very valuable. This is a great way for you to learn what to do and what not to do once you build your own business. Learning about challenges and how to overcome them is so valuable. Success takes time.     If you’re looking for more helpful tips, the FINSYNC blog is a great resource. Maybe your successful business will be featured one day!
[caption id="attachment_9660" align="alignright" width="300"]Spotlight on Small Business Owners: Darren Smith, Traipse Darren Smith[/caption] Darren Smith spoke to us about finding the right balance of visibility and control over accounting and admin tasks while staying focused on running his startup, Traipse. By FINSYNC The mobile app startup Traipse guides users through streetscapes, historic landmarks, and locally owned businesses while challenging them with scavenger hunts and puzzles. When Founder and CEO Darren Smith aimed to solve the puzzle of accounting and payroll, he found a guide in FINSYNC. We spoke with Darren Smith about how Traipse got started, the challenges and successes he’s faced as a startup, and how he’s found the right balance of oversight for his accounting.

What inspired you to start Traipse?

I started with a background in urban planning and have a passion for the historic business district as an important piece of the economy, and of our society. That was the underlying thing for me. Then, for about ten years the Washington Post ran an annual event called The Washington Post Puzzle Hunt which brought thousands of people downtown to solve puzzles they had set up. Before that, my hometown radio station used to do a treasure hunt where clues would be posted in local stores. So the idea was a combination of those things — a way to engage local merchants and to get people out exploring and learning about different places, whether or not they live there. That got my brain thinking about how something like that could be built to run at any time. I set out to create an app that lets people in a neighborhood or business district solve puzzles built around things that are always there: signs, statues, etc. 

What are some of the biggest rewards of running a small business?

The flexibility is nice. There are things that I never anticipated in terms of what it does to your psyche. To always be thinking that you need to be working to build the business. But, particularly early on, for the first years of my son’s life, I was able to be home with him three days a week and work on the early stages of the business. That was great to be able to do that. In terms of the business itself, it’s really cool to create something and then hear from people who have used and enjoyed it. We hear from people who have walked through an area hundreds of times and never knew or noticed something. Or to hear from local merchants who are able to increase business from the added foot traffic. That piece is unique to our business and makes it really rewarding.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a startup? 

For someone who had not done this before, and didn’t come from a business background, there was a lot of learning I had to do and mistakes that were made. Things that if I had known six months ago I could have avoided. But there’s no instruction manual. Some of the challenges related to capital, especially with a business like this where you’re trying to build a user base while making sales. Our model is we have contracts with local tourism and business development organizations. So we’re trying to please a lot of people. Sometimes the things you need to do to build a user base versus a client base can make it difficult because you are allocating resources to two different areas. It is the challenge of a B2B2C business. 

Why did you choose to start working with FINSYNC?

We’ve been FINSYNC users for a long time. I hadn’t done really good accounting of the business to that point and I was about to start getting everything into Quickbooks. When I heard about FINSYNC, it sounded like it was more tailored to the needs of a startup and had other tools that no other provider had at that point. It was very appealing to me. It seems easier to manage as a business with investors and various revenue streams. We haven’t really taken advantage of a lot of the FINSYNC features. I hope to be able to do that in the future. We’re currently laying the foundation needed to do some of those more advanced things. I’m looking forward to getting to the point where we’re able to take advantage of the different possibilities.

What challenges has FINSYNC helped solve?

I feel like it’s the right place on that spectrum of hands-on and hands-off. It is the most affordable solution that I know of that allows me to manage accounting, payroll and other administrative tasks that as a startup founder I don’t want to be dealing with. I also don’t want it to be a black box that I’m not aware of at all times. To me that was the biggest advantage.

Do you have any advice for other small business owners?

You need to figure out early on where on that spectrum you want to be. Also where you can be in terms of how much you want to manage your own accounting and how much you want to or are able to turn that over to someone else. Most startups can’t afford to pay a full-service accounting firm to do all this stuff for them. FINSYNC allows a founder to affordably turn some of that over to other people who know what they’re doing. It allows you to have some automated processes, synced accounts and other features that allow you to generate reports very easily and create the types of things you need as a founder. My advice is to figure out early on how you’re going to address your accounting and payroll as a business. Then, figure out what tools are out there. Focus not just on the functionality they offer, but where on that continuum they allow you to be to suit your needs.
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