How did you become a small business owner?
I’ve had several great bosses, but one in particular that invested in my professional development. He lived in Vancouver, Canada but owned the Austin, Texas business I worked for. I began as their controller and was promoted to managing director within 5 years. When he purchased the company, he traveled to the states each month, but decreased his travel as he gained confidence in my ability to manage his company. As his regular visits were replaced by my attendance at company board meetings in Canada, it dawned on me that I was capable of running a large business myself. He was my biggest supporter when I decided to launch out on my own.
Why did you become an NFIB member?
To stay engaged with an organization that advocates on behalf of small business.
In what ways has NFIB helped your small business?
Because NFIB is a small business watchdog group, it’s members benefit from their knowledge and expertise on legislative issues impacting business. It’s like having an in-house consultant for the price of annual dues (which are very inexpensive). Often times, business owners are too busy running their business to know what’s out there that could hurt them. NFIB keeps it’s members informed so they can do what they do best – run their organizations.
What’s the biggest challenge that face Texas small businesses owners like you?
Unpredictable regulation that constantly modifies the way we need to do business. It’s hard enough to stay competitive in the marketplace without having to continually change your strategy to stay in compliance.
What advice would you give NFIB members to make the most of their membership?
Get involved. Start by reading the weekly newsletter that outlines legislative or regulatory concerns for each industry. If one of them impacts your business directly and you feel strongly about it’s opposition or support, join forces with NFIB. After making multiple trips to the state and nation’s capital to advocate on behalf of small business, it’s clear the lawmakers are insulated from the businesses they regulate. Become the face of small business. Be the voice of reason.
Who has been a small business hero or mentor that has helped shape your entrepreneurialism?
The founder of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels was my personal friend and next-door neighbor, years before founding the national franchise that boasts 1600 locations worldwide today. I was 22 years old when we met and I watched her conduct personal matters with integrity and compassion. This gave me unique insights into the way she would run her company. It’s been 29 years since the company was founded and it still reflects her vision, personality and core values.
You’re working with NFIB as an advocate to reduce regulations in Texas. Are there any specific regulations you’re hoping will be overturned that will benefit small business?
Often times, there are duplicate regulations between the local, state, and federal level, so hopefully scaling back agency regulations on the state level will lessen the burden for small business. Generally, there are already provisions in the state law that allow for remedies of an aggrieved employee, or that regulate the health and safety of business. It seems that state agencies feel the need to propose and adopt new rules in order to prove their worth. HB1290 should help scale back overzealous state agencies and the unnecessary regulations proposed each new legislative session.