April 19, 2012

Small Business Awards: Profit Builders grew with back-office work

Michelle Becker believes it is possible to build a company and raise a family at the same time.

Michelle Becker believes it is possible to build a company and raise a family at the same time.

It takes time to nurture both, but she’s been pretty successful: Her company, Profit Builders, has averaged 30 percent growth a year.

She left her accounting job at Pizza Hut nearly 20 years ago to raise her 1-year-old son and kept her career going with consulting work.

She started her own contract accounting firm in her basement, and within a few years had moved to a larger space with a few employees.

In 2005, an old Pizza Hut co-worker and friend, Sam Oglesby, called and asked if she would be interested in contract work for franchise restaurants. They became partners.

The company now employs 22 people, who handle accounting, payroll, financial reporting and other back-office work for restaurants and small businesses across 25 states, in sizes ranging from $100,000 in revenue to $80 million.

About 60 percent of the company’s revenue comes from serving franchises such as Hardees, YUM Brands, Papa John’s and Qdoba. It was recently recommended by Freddy’s Frozen Custard for its franchisees.

The 1-year-old who helped create the branch in Becker’s career path – her son Aaron – is now the company’s information technology manager.

Becker understands the struggles of working mothers. She said eight to 10 employees are mothers working flexible part-time schedules.

“Parents know how to juggle responsibilities better than anyone,” she said. “They get pulled in both directions. There’s nothing that says they can’t do both well.”

Outsourcing has been tremendously helpful for small business, Becker said, because it allows them access to experienced accountants and human resources professionals and top-quality software, at a fraction of the cost of doing it themselves.

In the future, Profit Builders plans to introduce more technology to simplify and automate many of the interactions with their customers. Becker and Oglesby said they are happy with their rate of growth. It allows them to maintain quality control and personal contact with their clients as they expand.

“We’re the sales and marketing department,” she said of the two partners.

“And the complaint department,” Oglesby said.

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