Maya Konviser had plans to be a doctor, and began her education with that in mind. But like so many things, life got in the way. With huge determination and a solid background in finance, Maya headed into the corporate world. Once again, circumstances beyond her control altered that path as well.
Anyone who knows Maya knows that she is positive, determined, motivated and very hard working. Her second setback was short lived. In 2001 she established a business that would bring her great success. ATPP is an accounting, tax, and payroll company that helps small and medium sized businesses take care of the numbers, so that they can concentrate on their core business.
The business has grown into a very successful provider of small to mid-size business services under Maya’s leadership: “We treat our customers like family. We are small enough to be personally involved in helping our clients become successful.” Customer centered thinking like this combined with consistent marketing have provided the company with the underpinning needed to weather even the 2008 downturn.
“Sure, we were effected by the recession,” explains Maya. But we weren’t undone by it. We just doubled down, increased our marketing effort, and stayed the course on delivering a very high quality service at reasonable prices.”
Today, Maya and ATPP are solidly successful and looking to grow the business.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
I was laid off from a corporate position during the period after the dot com bust in Los Angeles. I decided that I didn’t want to be beholden to bosses anymore, and started contemplating the type of business that I could run. I love numbers and the power that they provide businesses when used properly. I also wanted to do something where I had the full skill set, so that I could personally do the work, if necessary. Bookkeeping and payroll fit all of those criteria.
How do you make money?
Vince Lombardi said it once, “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”
That’s how I make money.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
Since I started with a minimum overhead, I was able to break even almost from the start. It took one and a half years before I could take a decent salary for myself.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Never – I always worried but never doubted… It keeps me on my toes. Companies are sold, merge, or just go out of business, so we need constantly be active. We keep our marketing effort going at full tilt, and continuously evaluate new and better ways to bring on board new clients.
How did you get your first customer?
I started out using sales agents to find business. All of the early business came from sales people I employed. And that first client is still with us 14 years later.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
The first rule of marketing for us is to maintain clients by offering incredible service. This also results in referrals. These two elements are the foundation of my business.
Beyond that we use telemarketing, networking and a robust internet presence.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
We were thinking about remaining at our current sales level, which is very manageable and working well for everyone involved. We really thought long and hard about that approach, but chose to grow at a reasonable level instead. 20% would be about perfect.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Our clients are like family to us. Our competitors are often huge businesses who treat their clients like numbers. We really care about our clients and their business. Each client is assigned to one of our people. They deal directly with that person, so they always are speaking with someone who cares and knows their individual business and their current circumstance.
In order to do this, we need an amazing team. Then we need to be constantly vigilant about customer service.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
No special moment, except the one that happens over and over again. A client referral is better than any award or trophy.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
Just to grow the company wisely.