Hey there, fellow small business enthusiasts!
SCORE Greater Cincinnati recently named Colleen Pfaller and A Slice of HR, the Client of the Year. SCORE is a community of experienced entrepreneurs, corporate managers, and executives that volunteer their time to mentor business owners. Barbara Fried has been Colleen’s mentor for nearly five years through this program.
We were delighted to be invited to share our story on the My Cincy Small Business Story Podcast for Episode 09: A Slice of Small Business Success.
Our founder, Colleen Pfaller, has always loved HR. How did she transform that love into a thriving HR consulting business?
How it all Began
Colleen explains in the Podcast:
I worked as the HR Manager at the iconic Jim Beam plant in Cincinnati, Ohio, when we got the news that they were going to shut it down and move operations to Frankfort, KY. At that point, I decided I would try my hand as a stay-at-home Mom with a 2-year-old at home and another on the way. Like any good HR Pro, I stacked my maternity leave, FMLA, STD, Severance, and Unemployment Insurance so we could afford it.
After a short time at home, I got a call from a former employer who needed some HR expertise and made me an offer I couldn’t resist.
[Here's how that conversation went...]
Company: We heard you’ve got some time on your hands… would you think about doing some contract HR work for us?
Colleen: Yeah I might be interested… what are the hours?
Company: Whatever you want.
Colleen: Hmmm that sounds good! What’s the pay?
Company: I don’t know — whatever you want!
Colleen: Oh wow, okay!
When Colleen continued to get calls from companies looking for part-time help with specific HR services like recruiting, onboarding, going through their files, audits, and l9s... well, that was the beginning of ASOHR, and a big “aha” moment.
When realized just how big the need was for fractional HR help, that there were businesses through Cincinnati and beyond that desperately looking for exactly what she was doing...
So, she got to work.
In 2017, Colleen made the strategic decision to turn her freelancing career into a business. She reached out to Score for advice and met her mentor, Barbara.
The baby is now 11, and the company has grown, grown, and grown! There are now eight employees and over 30 clients that rely on us for everything HR.
On the podcast, Colleen shared some advice that she would give others who were thinking of starting a business:
Sometimes it just feels like luck. Because in 2021 - 2022, HR became a top priority for many business owners. And it feels lucky that I was in the right place and at the right time when all these companies were scrambling for hiring and retention solutions.
And there we were with a couple of years of experience under our belt. But there was more than luck. We built a foundation. If you focus on sales initially, you can get overwhelmed. And we focused on structure and identifying our ideal client. How do you build a successful company?
Do the research. Know who the audience is so that when you meet them, you recognize them.
And Barbara weighs in on why Colleen is the perfect example of how to be successful in a small business:
First of all... she identified a problem or opportunity, and she had the capability to help people with that problem.
Second of all, she did market research. She knew there was a need for her services, and she identified who her customer would be and created efficient unique solutions.
And — creating efficient, unique solutions. she was expert at that... the name of her company - A Slice of HR - told the customer that she could provide one piece of HR or another. It was fractional HR, and you didn’t have to take the whole package... she provided pieces, which was exactly what was needed.
Then, she created a brand identity, a story, something that the customer could hear and understand how she would help them.
She is good at relationship building. So I thnk the last thing [on this list] that any small business should do is make sure that the customer feels rewarded, that there's value in their services or product, and that they're pleased, so that and they can grow through word of mouth, through a happy customer.
Colleen expresses her gratitude to Score, and to Barbara for her exceptional mentorship and support:
I am very thankful to Score, especially Barbara. I am sometimes moved to tears that people would volunteer to help me when there are so many other worthy causes - children, puppies, or all kinds of different causes. A panel of people who would sit with me each month and are really accomplished business professionals.
Barbara is very accomplished and chooses to work with me in her free time. It’s not only good for me but our community and our economy, and it’s a great way to give back to entrepreneurs, and I am very thankful for all the volunteers along the way.
What Stands Out About ASOHR?
When Barbara was asked what stood out about ASOHR, and just why the business stood out for the award of SCORE’s client of the year, she had a lot to say!
Colleen is a success story. As you can see, she brings dynamic solutions to the needs of small- and medium- sized businesses, and that’s true for all successful businesses — you have to bring a solution to meet the problem or need of the customer.
I think Colleen’s customer focus is the secret to her success story. Not only is she building her relationship-building capabilities with clients, but she also has strong relationships with her employees, and everyone is enthusiastic.
Her enthusiasm is contagious — so it’s what she does, and it’s the way she does it.
Want to know more about SCORE’S free business advisory services or volunteer your time to help other aspiring entrepreneurs? https://www.score.org/
Are you looking for a banking solution focusing on community and small businesses? Check out the corporate sponsor of the SCORE 2022 Client of the Year Cash Reward. https://www.kemba.com/
What to know more about outsourcing your HR or Recruiting to the team at A Slice of HR? https://www.asliceofhr.com/