Small businesses are popping up at an increasingly fast rate and with such growth the every day entrepreneur may benefit from a few efficient assistants, but can not always afford them. A small business, descriptively named The Task Runners, is designed to assist other personally owned endeavors grow. Sofia Yepes, founder and owner of The Task Runners, shared her experience in starting and managing a company. The Task Runners began in February 2011. The company is designed to provide assistance to clients in performing any task that they need in order to increase productivity, both professional and personal.
Latasha Alvaro (LA): What brought on your desire to start a business? Why did you want to do personal/professional assistance?
Sofia J.Yepes (SJY): I was assisting a small business owner and realized how much more profitable he was with me there, because all he focused on was his speciality. He didn’t have to worry about anything else. My father was a small business owner at one point, he had a repair shop. He ended up losing it, because he wasn’t savvy in operating the administrative side of things. I don’t want to see a small business come to a close prematurely, because the owner gets overwhelmed. Sometimes a little help can go a long way, especially in the creative process.
LA: That is a very good perspective, and a great reason to start a business. How did you begin the process of starting the company? What was the biggest challenge with inception?
SJY: It was a really organic beginning. I was just looking for extra work, so I asked for referrals and before I knew it I had more work than time. I was thankful for the success, but started to get a bit stressed and overwhelmed. I picked up another contractor to help me out, which was a great success and helped with our growth. The greatest challenge was all the legalities. It was a lot of trial and error. We are now very efficient, and have a great group of assistants ready to get the job done. It is still a learning process. Learning and growing from our mistakes, improving plans and productivity with each new client. It will always be that way I think, with any business.
LA: I agree with you there. I know for me writing, and almost all aspects of my life feel like a lot of slow learning and growing. Do you train the employees yourself? Do you require any certifications for workers?
SJY: I do train everyone personally, and I hand pick them myself. When I look at employees I look for a broad knowlede base in administrative skills. The biggest thing, however, is costumer service. I look for good people skills, and a trustworthy person. The rest I can teach. Some things none of us here know how to do, and when we don’t we learn. Costumer service, and personality, those are hard things to teach though. I have been lucky enough to find people with these good qualities to come on board.
LA: That is a fine quality to have, in any profession. So what does your client base look like in general, and what is your employee to client ratio? Do you try to maintain a continuity of care between client and Task Runner?
SJY: Our clients are small business only. I enjoy doing it that way, because it feels like we can treat the clients business like our own. Our workers are one on one, at least while they are working with a client. If an assistant is on the job, that job is their only priority. This always complete focus. We absolutely strive for continuity, it helps promote trust between us and the client, which again is the most important thing to me. We want our assistants to take stress away for the client, not add to it.
LA: That is a very honest and earnest response. On that note, what has been your greatest reward as a business owner?
SJY: Getting a hug from a client after we have helped get them out of a jam. Seeting the relief come over a stressed out person is probably the most rewarding thing.
LA: With a business that is said to cater to all of a clients needs, both personal and professional, you must get some pretty interesting proposals. What is the most unconvential request you have had? Anything risque or off the wall?
SJY: Probably the most unconventional request has been to… Actually, I do not think I have had anything too out of the ordinary. Not sure if it is because I just do not find many things unconventional, or we just have not had any.
LA: I am sure there will still be plenty of time for that. What changes can we expect to see from The Taskrunners in the future, and what is your vision for growth?
SJY: Currently we are making some major changes to our website. I am hoping to make it more user friendly. My dream is to keep pairing small business owners with the right assistants, and to keep being part of helping businesses of all types grow. I hope to continue to perfect our process, to become more efficient in our practice, and to help other businesses do the same a few assistants at a time. Just being able to keep growing, and to also be a bit more choosy about the clients that we work with has already been a reward, and the benefits seem to keep coming our way. I am very excited to see what the future continues to have in store for my business and for me.
Interview By Latasha Alvaro
Personal Interview with Sofia Yepes