By Christine Graf
Linda Brown of Spire Business, Inc. never set out to start her own business. She had a successful career in money management and financial planning when she took a maternity leave in 2002.
While on leave, a CPA asked her if she could help some of his clients with QuickBooks.
“I never went back to corporate America,” she said. “As a financial planner, you work 70 hours a week and I really didn’t want to do that.”
Instead, she started her own business called My Office Staff. Having her own business allowed her to work part-time and spend time with her baby. Her business was well established by the time her second child was born. Her clients were primarily women and included solo entrepreneurs and small business owners with as many as fifteen employees.
“I basically became their operations and financial advisor. I took care of all of the back-office work that needed to happen in a small business,” she said.
Although not an accountant—her degree is in economics—Brown said she helped her mother with her own accounting business when she was a young girl. She also did the books for her husband Peter’s business, Smooth Water Sports in Gansevoort.
Her business grew rapidly based on word of mouth and referrals from CPAs. She worked a part-time schedule.
“I was turning away work more than I was actually taking on,” she said. “At that point in time, I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I did everything while my kids were sleeping or those two days at day care. I was very blessed in that I could grow the business as I wanted to and how I wanted to.”
“I realized that the owners weren’t actually being empowered to make good financial decisions because they didn’t understand their numbers,” she said. “So, my second iteration was Spire Business. I started doing a lot of training and education so that I can empower the entrepreneur to understand how their business works and to be able to make good financial decisions.”
“It has really taken off because people want to know once they realize they can understand it,” she said. “The goal is to take them from infancy where they need a lot of hand holding to grammar school where you only sometimes need to hold their hand to being completely independent when they graduate from college. That is how I believe a business needs to be run. That is also the way I work with my clients.”
Brown also teaches clients how to use QuickBooks. With proper training, she said most small business owners can do their own bookkeeping in five to 10 minutes a day.
For those who do not want to do their own bookkeeping, Brown and her team will do it for them. She employs three women—all moms—who work between 25 and 30 hours a week. Her office is located at Exit 17 in Moreau.
In January, Brown held her first weekend prosperity retreat in Florida. Beginning this summer, she plans to offer retreats quarterly. The retreats include discussions about the importance of meditation, nutrition, and exercise.
“The whole purpose is to align your mind, body and your business,” said Brown. “You have to be able to take care of yourself to be able to take care of everything else in your life.”
“I got great reviews,” she said. “People said it was so much better than what they expected. They said they thought it was going to be dry and that they were really surprised how I could mix meditation right in there with Business 101.”
Brown is also in the process of designing on-demand online classes. One of the classes in development is called Spires Money Mastery. She described it as a Business 101 class for people who don’t have a business background.
Brown also speaks at conferences and events. In July, she will address the Real Estate Staging Association in Las Vegas.
As she grows her business, she continues to focus on empowering the female entrepreneur to make good financial decisions and understand money.
She understands the unique challenges faced by women in business and remembers being told that no one would ever be interested in attending her seminars or workshops.
“I was basically told nobody will attend, nobody cares, don’t waste your time,” said Brown. “All these men were telling me your business is not going to succeed. Today, I have a multi-six figure business.”
For more information on Spire Business, Inc., visit www.spirebusiness.com
By Christine Graf