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5 questions with Bill Maness

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, June 6, 2013, at 12:14 a.m.

It was nearly 11 years ago that Bill Maness started his human-resource outsourcing and payroll-processing business.

Today, that firm, Syndeo Outsourcing, employs 25 people and is expanding to a third line of business, staffing services.

It now operates from its second headquarters location, a 6,500-square-foot suite at 3504 N. Great Plains in northeast Wichita that should accommodate the firm’s growth for more than 10 years. Syndeo moved there in 2009 from a 1,500-square-foot space in the former Brite Voice building on East 21st Street. Maness said the Brite Voice space was designed for seven people, and by the time he moved he had 13.

Staffing services is not an entirely new venture for the firm, which Maness and two other partners own.

He said Syndeo offered staffing services to its human-resource and payroll clients a year after he started the firm. But until this year, that service was only available to those clients, which include Capps Manufacturing, Chrome Plus International and High Touch Technology Solutions.

“It’s driven by demands in the market for higher levels of service and capabilities,” Maness said of opening the firm’s staffing services to non-Syndeo clients. He said he hired Gary Cundiff as development manager for the staffing business.

One of Maness’ first lessons as a business owner and president was branding. When he started the firm, he named it Human Resources Management Services LLC, but soon decided the name was too generic, unwieldy and difficult to brand.

Maness engaged a marketer and after going through hundreds of name possibilities he said she came up with the one that finally stuck: Syndeo.

“It’s basically the ancient Greek word for ally … as in friend and connection,” he said. “We thought that really fit who we were with the services we provide.”

Q. I understand your company has seen some pretty good growth in the past year. Can you tell me what is driving that growth and how Syndeo has responded?

A. It’s a combination of building a service business the right way, slowly, and concentrating on doing what we promise and an increase in government regulations for employers that forces owners to consider outsourcing as a viable option. We have responded by investing our profits into growth and will continue to do so.

Q. What are your expectations for Syndeo’s business in 2013?

A. We anticipate steady growth in our HR and payroll services in Wichita, expanding our service offerings to other markets (such as Kansas City and Oklahoma City), and increasing the commitment to growing our staffing business in Wichita.

Q. What are some of the key HR issues businesses are facing right now?

A. PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) is at the top of everyone’s list, but I see an increasing enforcement environment in a lot of other government agencies relating to employer compliance.

Q. What made you decide to start Syndeo?

A. Classic start-up story: I got fired by my previous employer. I was ready to do something on my own and looked at the opportunity as a sign.

Q. What are a couple of key things that you have learned as a business owner?

A. First, recognize your strengths and surround yourself with quality people to cover your weaknesses. Lord knows I have enough of the latter. Second, truly embrace the old saying, “It’s about the journey, not the destination.”

Reach Jerry Siebenmark at 316-268-6576 or jsiebenmark@wichitaeagle.com.

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