A well-rounded leadership background is essential to the success of a multi-faceted business. Effective workforce mentoring, crisis management, the ability to quickly make key decisions are all in better hands with a leader who exudes a “been there, done that” mentality. When an executive brings those skills to the table with a humble, relatable, ready-to-work attitude, a business can elevate from good to great. Those types of skills are a necessity, not a luxury.
Pro Back Office (PBO), one of the fastest-growing companies in Southern California, provides operational accounting and strategic consulting services that are available onsite or remotely, ongoing, hourly or fixed fee. PBO ensures you have the right level of professional talent and expertise doing exactly what they are good at and what you need. You never want your CFO doing data entry or your bookkeeper trying to be your CFO.
Mike Ford, who started PBO in 2011 brought in outsource accounting expert Jennifer Barnes to grow the operational accounting business, naming her Co-Founder and CEO. While the scope and scale of PBO’s customized business outsourcing platform changes based on customer needs, one thing doesn’t change – the commitment to customer excellence that’s made Pro Back Office a preferred provider of everything from audit assistance to project-based consultation. We recently sat down with Ms. Barnes and asked her about current marketing trends, personal inspiration, what the future holds for PBO and much more.
1, Who has been your greatest inspiration?
If I had to pick someone in my life who was the most influential, it would be my grandfather. He was kind and thoughtful, smart and savvy with business, an entrepreneur, pilot, veteran, father and respected man in the community. He was strong in his convictions and kind in his tone. He had few enemies and he treated everyone as a friend. He volunteered his time and helped in his community. He enjoyed square dancing with my grandmother as much as he did building a house. He was an inspiration to me when he was alive and even more so now that he is gone.
2. What piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to become an entrepreneur?
If you get the opportunity to start a business, you have become an entrepreneur. You might be successful or absolutely fail, not once but multiple times. In either case, the key ingredients to have are passion, perseverance and persuasion. You’ll learn from your mistakes and successes so don’t get too high or too low when things are going good or bad. You’ll work hard and put in long hours so it’s important to surround yourself with people you trust and can provide you advice when needed. Be true to yourself. Find time to have a personal life outside of work and don’t bring your work home with you on a regular basis. Delegate when necessary to ensure you are working on the right things to lead the company.
3. Where do you see your business in 10 years?
We are striving to be a very successful, well-known and respected operational accounting and strategic consulting firm, bringing the best of the best in talent, experience and expertise to our clients. We could easily have 200 employees and offices throughout the west coast. and reach $50,000 in revenue. To help reach our goals, we will look to make key acquisitions along the way. For example, we recently acquired a reputable group of consultants with government, risk and compliance expertise to compliment our current strategic consulting services offerings. The exciting part is we will have the opportunity to give back more to our communities, create more jobs and help more businesses.
4. How do you go about marketing your business?
We have been able to grow our business mostly by word of mouth. Our clients love us and we constantly get referred to other businesses. We have a website, and produce a monthly e-newsletter that is distributed to every business we meet along the way. We recently started investing in digital marketing so that we increase our exposure and gain additional clients. We also spend time hosting CEO based events where we can meet potential clients in a relaxed atmosphere where we can all learn something.
5. What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Our clients are really our “sales force.” They recognize our commitment to excellence in everything we do, the results we provide and the impact we can make to their bottomline. Referrals are the best way to grow a business.
6. What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
We have taken on some risky clients who didn’t have enough funds to pay us. We’ve learned to work with clients that better fit our business model which is to provide top accounting and consulting services at a fraction of the cost of hiring full-time employees.
7. How does your company provide innovation within your industry?
We are always looking to find ways to streamline and improve processes, whether it
be integrating the latest technology or implementing better employee benefits. We have several CPA’s on staff who are constantly being trained on best practices and new ideas, to proving flexible work hours and work space.
Ms. Barnes’ responses provide a glimpse into what makes a successful business leader. Young executives and CEOs can learn a lot from this interview, whether they’re in the financial services industry, or any industry. We’d like to thank Ms. Barnes for taking time out of her busy schedule to speak with us.