The reading level for this article is Novice
Were you the founder of the company?
Yes, I founded Peoples 9/1/87
What is the legal structure of your company?
How many employees does your business employ?
15 full-time year-round, and 125 seasonal — 140 total
How was the business model of the company developed?
Our core tax preparation (and income tax school) business was built on the business model of H & R Block and enhanced by changing the things that are the greatest frustrations to clients and employees.
Our income tax practice management publishing business was developed internally.
Was your company financed by venture capital, private investment, loans, or personal funds?
primarily personal funds, plus a small amount of private venture capital.
Do you feel your company has a distinct corporate culture? If so, would you describe it?
Yes, we have a culture of mutual support & cooperation, teamwork, concern for clients and all others, social consciousness and productivity.
How important do you feel the proper advisors are in ensuring an young entrepreneurs success?
Very important; See my article on forming an Executive Advisory Board in the Business Resource Center.
Have there been any organizations that have helped your business grow? If so, what are they?
Virginia Council of CEOs; Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, and other local business organizations; Edward Lowe Foundation; National Association of Tax Professionals and other tax professional associations; Internal Revenue Service
What have been the keys in bringing your company to the level it is at today?
Good business planning and sound marketing practices, combined by personal vision, focus, drive, perseverance and discipline.
How have you kept your edge over competitors fresh?
Read business articles, listen to business tapes, attend seminars, meet with people, attend conferences and conventions; meet with key employees and managers regularly; engage business consultants as necessary
What are the marketing methods you have used with the most success?
Mass media advertising, direct mail, signage/office visibility, public relations, networking, Internet marketing, trade shows.
What books and resources would you recommend for young entrepreneurs?
“Nuts” by Herb Kelleher (SouthWest Airlines), “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber; all writings of Peter Drucker.
Important resources include professional industry associations, local business organizations (Chamber, etc.), local colleges and universities, local SBDC
How important do you consider networking and building contacts to be for an entrepreneur’s success?
If you could pin it down to just one thing, what is the one most important thing you have learned about business?
Never give up!
Any final advice for young entrepreneurs or businessmen just getting started?
Take a venture feasibility course or seminar at your local SBDC to make sure your business is viable and that you are willing to do what it takes and make the necessary sacrifices to be an entrepreneur. Get advice from other entrepreneurs. Join an entrepreneur support group. Join trade associations in your industry. Network. Make sure your revenue projections are realistic and attainable. Make sure you have enough money to finance your business and pay yourself an adequate salary. Write a comprehensive business plan yourself. Maintain high standards and practice business ethics and marketplace integrity. Fundamentally, remember that you must provide true value to your clients and your employees. Contribute to the communities in which you operate. Making money in business is the necessary result (not the goal) of operating a viable business that contributes to society.