The personal and business connections Janet Kaup has cultivated through her PADGETT BUSINESS SERVICES accounting franchise help validate her decision to invest in the business just about every single day.
Not only has the business opportunity allowed Kaup to make a discernible impact on her small business clients, but the Gainesville, Georgia, Padgett owner regularly leverages opportunities to learn from other members of the bookkeeping franchise system. Whether it’s chatting with a Padgett owner in Illinois during her hour-long commute; brainstorming with her weekly small mastermind group; or catching up in Cancun for the annual conference after tax season, Kaup relishes the chance to swap stories, laments and laughs.
“Being in business on your own, it’s difficult to keep up with everything or know that you’re always making the right decisions. I like the brotherhood of Padgett, the chance to be around people in the same trenches as me,” Janet says.
“We give each other positive and honest feedback. ‘My employee quit… I spent $3,000 on websites and it’s not working… What do you do when a client does this?…’ I’ve learned as much from that interaction as anything else I’ve done.”
The support and fellowship of the Padgett franchise system have buoyed Janet along over the last 15 years, support she knows she wouldn’t have as an independent accountant.
“I thought about starting my own office, but the camaraderie of Padgett drew me in,” she says. “If you’re independent, you have to go find those people to connect with — who are basically your competitors in your community.”
The youngest owner of a Padgett accounting franchise
Janet’s Padgett story begins with her answering phones and doing data entry at the Padgett affiliate office she now owns. At the time, she was a young college student just looking for a way to support herself. After earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from University of North Georgia, she was promoted to an associate accountant with the business.
In 2002, the business owners decided to divide their territory into two and sell one half of it. Janet saw her moment and she went for it, purchasing the northern territory of the existing business.
“I was 25, the youngest Padgett owner ever. It was a crazy time for me, but I loved it,” she says. “The freedom of working for yourself is incredible. I would be a terrible employee.”
Even though she loves it now, Janet’s first days running her office were strange and a little scary. She went from being one of many employees to being the only one in her own business.
Because of that early support, Janet learned how to run her business while still serving clients as an accountant. She learned about marketing and the best ways to connect with the community. She learned how to be a manager, how to hire employees and, sadly, how to fire employees. She learned what it means to be a business owner.
“It has taken a lot of hard work,” Janet says. “But when I purchased the practice, I bought a job, and that allowed me to focus on learning how to be an entrepreneur.”
Finding her niche in the accounting franchise
Over the years, Janet continued to grow her practice, and in 2009, decided to purchase the southern half of the territory, bringing the two territories and business back under one roof. Janet’s Padgett accounting franchise now serves a large area north of Atlanta.
“I was blown away by the opportunity offered to me through the Padgett affiliate system,” she says.
Janet’s small business accounting and tax preparation franchise serves organizations large and small, though Janet says her practice has identified one particular niche. Partly because the region is experiencing significant development in the medical industry, Janet’s business has engaged several clients who are self-proprietors in related fields.
“Many people think of home-based business and conjure up images of a person doing direct sales, but there are so many true businesses who are operating through a virtual presence online — chiropractors, dentists, orthodontists, anesthetists, psychologists,” Janet says. “These people don’t need a brick and mortar presence, but they’re still really in need of accounting services because they’re running a small business.”
In addition to those in medical fields, Janet says she works with many small business owners across a variety of industries. From delis to hair salons to car mechanics, Janet’s accounting franchise serves a wide variety of small businesses, something that keeps the work diverse and exciting.
“I’m always looking for the next opportunity, but I balance it with realistic financial expectations,” Janet says.
Hard work and fun in the future of her bookkeeping franchise
She’s realistic, but ambitious. Padgett’s Gainesville bookkeeping franchise is part of a growth group, wherein Janet’s practice competes with others in the Padgett system to achieve growth. It’s a friendly competition, one that’s meant to encourage and connect Padgett owners.
“The connections through Padgett are plentiful, along with the ongoing education and support from Padgett,” Janet says.
Running a tax preparation franchise that’s also an accounting franchise can be quite stressful, especially from January to May. But regrouping with other Padgett affiliates helps Janet stay positive and moving forward.
“Do the trips to Mexico help? Yes,” she says laughing. “Sitting elbow to elbow with another business owner who’s been through the same things you’ve been through, looking at the white sandy beaches of Cancun, drinking adult beverages. Does that help? You bet.”
Learn more about how you can convert your business to a PADGETT BUSINESS SERVICES accounting franchise, and review a copy of our free industry report, The 5 Biggest Challenges Facing Small Business Accountants.