Ben Walker is the CEO and founder of Transcription Outsourcing, LLC, a company in Denver, Colo., that provides transcription services to clients in the medical, legal, law enforcement, financial, academic, and general business industries across the United States. Walker founded the company after breaking off from another transcription business in order to expand and diversify the services offered to clients. He prides himself on operating on a shoestring budget and growing the company organically.
Why did you start your business?
I also own part of a medical transcription only company in Omaha, Neb. We were losing a whole bunch of clients due to technology changes in the health care industry. I started researching other types of transcription and found out there was a giant need for it in the legal, law enforcement, and academic fields. The profit margins were actually higher than in the medical field.
How did you get the funds to get going?
I self-funded from money I had made in the past.
Have you heard of business credit?
Yes. I use my MileagePlus credit card every month. It’s in my personal name. I would prefer it to be in my company name, but from what I understand from speaking with people like Chase and AmEx, my company needs to do $4 million a year to have credit in the name of the company so I’m not personally liable. I’m not there yet, but establishing business credit is something that’s on my radar, without a doubt.
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Managing the Business
What’s most challenging about running your business?
Finding good people.
How do you finance your business to manage cash flow or growth?
I try to keep three months in reserve, if not more.
Do you use trade credit from your vendors or suppliers?
We pay within 30 days. It’s just sort of understood. We’ve never really formally talked about it, though.
What’s the biggest mistake you made in your first year?
I’ve made a ton of mistakes. Thank God, none of them have been critical. I would say public relations is probably the most important thing you need to do as a new business. Public relations only takes time, it doesn’t take money. You can pay a public relations firm, but they may not know your industry.
What’s the smartest thing you did in your first year?
Being on a shoestring budget helps a lot. Some companies get $10 million funding and they eat out every day, have drinks every night, and spend money like it’s going out of style. I don’t do that, and I never have. It sets discipline.
What’s the most rewarding thing about owning a business?
When we get “job well done” complements from our clients.
What does the future look like for your business?
Our target is 25 percent growth a year, and we’ve already gotten there and we’re halfway through. Unless something bad were to happen, we’ll exceed that for sure.
I just got two word-of-mouth referrals from existing clients, which are probably better than a “job well done.”
What advice do you have for someone starting a business?
You have to know your numbers. If you’re not an accountant, you need to learn to be an accountant.