Business Owner’s Insights | Red River Payroll
A collection of short interviews with local business owners and their insight into today’s challenges.
Eric Knam, a local business action coach, has an inside look into the insights of local business owners and focuses on different businesses from different industries where his clients and many others are challenged by the COVID-19 Crisis.
Every business owner has valuable advice to share with other business owners and entrepreneurs. A few even have a special offer to share! Check out their interviews and visit their websites!
Red River Payroll’s Steve Hobbs’ Insights
Steve Hobbs started Red River Payroll, a payroll outsourcing service bureau, two years ago in 2018. They specialize in small businesses and offer payroll, tax compliance, and time and labor management services. For Red River Payroll, it’s more about the relationship than anything else.
Action COACH Eric Knam: What would you say is really special about Red River Payroll?
Steve Hobbs: A lot of payroll companies also have the technology and paperless payroll processes, but what’s unique about us is that we’re also able to build an intimate relationship with each one of our clients. When you call Red River Payroll, you’re not calling a service center, and you’re not hoping to get someone on the phone who you hope knows what they’re doing. You get someone who’s a part of a team of individuals designed to help you in one way or another, depending on what you need. I enjoy getting to know people and what they do and understand why they built the business that they built. We’ll work to be the best personal relationship that you can find at an affordable price.
Eric: Who would you say is your best customer (target audience)?
Steve Hobbs: Most clients we have a range within the 5-20 employee range. On a personal level, that’s my favorite customer. You have a business owner who’s trying to run a business and doesn’t want to give a lot of attention to payroll, tax compliance, or IRS. They want to go build a better widget or sell a better product. I feel like I’m making an impact on a client of that size.
Eric: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business so far?
Steve Hobbs: It’s funny, I was jealous of those who were working from home getting to spend a lot of time with their families and do a lot of things together. The day that legislation went into session, is the day we started preparing for the FFCRA (Family First Coronavirus Response Act) and the CARES Act. We’ve spent every day trying to make sure we’re staying on top of the changes and the new facets of both laws over the last couple of months. We made an immediate change to go remote. We got our employees set up with computers and PCs to make sure we’re taking care of each other. I’ve been going into the office every day to print checks. As that’s evolved, more and more employees have returned. Now we’re back to full staff. The impact to our office was significant at first, but we adjusted. The flow of work has increased in velocity because we have a lot of clients who are needing answers fast. We’ve prided ourselves on turning data around as soon as possible. When a client calls with the potential of getting a loan that may be forgivable, we’ll get back to them immediately. There’s some urgency in making sure that we respond immediately. We try to make sure that we’re responding not just within a day, but within an hour or a couple of minutes. Hopefully, that will make an impact as we move forward when clients are getting prospected by other companies. They’ll value that relationship and attention to detail that we paid during the crisis. We’ve made sure that all employees know how to run all the reports that were needed for clients. I’ve tried to make sure that I can be a resource to different types of organizations and the people who trust me to give them good guidance on how to handle different situations as this pandemic has evolved.
Eric: It’s said that smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What mistakes did you make along the way, and how can other entrepreneurs learn from your experience?
Steve Hobbs: Within the context of Red River Payroll, if I knew then what I know now, I would have understood the timing and not tried to rush into it. I think I caused a lot of anxiety for others at the beginning trying to get up and going a little too aggressively before we were ready. If I did this again, I would understand the timing of it and what was needed to build the foundation. We would focus more on how to process payroll right rather than focusing on how we were going to get new clients. I’m not sure that helps new entrepreneurs. Everyone told me the same thing: “it’s going to take longer than you think.” I thought, “you know. I know what I’m doing.” I think I’d advise not trying to do it on an island. Find some people you can trust even if it’s for mental health or to bounce ideas off of and talk to– have people that you trust or what their motives are to be able to talk through things you’re going through without having to tackle them on your own. Most entrepreneurs, if they’re a good entrepreneur, think they don’t need anyone’s help, but they obviously do. The more you surround yourself with good people who have different strengths than you, the better off you’re going to be. That was my weakness. I was trying to find people just like me instead of trying to find people who had different strengths than me so that we can complement each other.
Eric: How can people contact you?
Eric: Do you have any special offers for anyone who’s looking for payroll services?
Steve Hobbs: For new businesses and entrepreneurs who don’t have their tax accounts set up, we can help you make those applications and set up some of those accounts for you. If you’re a referral, then we’ll give you a month free for your payroll!
Eric: What’s most inspiring to you today?
Steve Hobbs: My inspiration comes from my family and wanting to spend time with them and a willingness to work harder right now so that we can all have more time together. That’s what’s been on my mind during the coronavirus– to be able to spend quality time with them. Yes, I’m working a lot, but the weekends have been nice. It’s been nice to go fishing and do things that we haven’t been able to do before the last six weeks. I will say, though, that it’s pretty cool how the community, and not just the Tulsa community, have come together and really helped each other by stepping up to help. They’re doing things, not out of a profit motive, but because it’s the right thing to do. That’s inspiring to me. That’s how I think and what my natural instinct is. When I see others doing that, it inspires me and helps me justify that it’s okay for me to do that sort of thing. I don’t have to charge for everything. I can go out and help people. Whether it’s with payroll, new legislation, or getting on a phone call and spending 30 minutes with somebody and not having any expectation for return. I can do it just because it’s the right thing to do. That has been inspirational. There’s been a lot of other people helping in the nonprofit world and in the medical field.
Local businesses change communities. If you know of a local business owner who is interested in sharing their insights or making an impact on their community, contact Eric Knam today!