Julie Traxler is in the Spotlight this week.
What can you tell us about yourself?
I’m goal-oriented, self-competitive, and love to take on big challenges. I’m not afraid to fail, though I DO NOT LIKE IT! My background is in Mergers & Acquisitions, focused primarily on small businesses. I grew up in a small business family, so I understand the stress, long hours and fear that comes with owning a small business. I also understand the joys, successes, and satisfaction.
Corey – I’m analytical, love numbers and facts. I enjoy doing back-office work on systems and processes, and the role that plays in a successful business. I also grew up in a small business family and learned how hard it can be to own your own small business. I have a background in restaurants, having owned several and having played every role imaginable. I’m not afraid of hard work and enjoy solving problems for our clients.
What were the origins of your business?
The origin story of SB PACE is one that we are particularly proud of. Both of us were doing independent consulting, and our contracts were wrapping up in mid to late March. We watched as the opportunities available started to disappear. We both had some money in savings, so we decided to take a little time to call on family and friends who are small business owners and see if they needed any support. How were they doing financially, what did they need. There was so much uncertainty and we wanted to see how we could help. They started telling other people in their network about us, and from that, our business was born. We realized there was a value in what we were doing and that people needed us.
What aspects of your background have helped you the most?
Growing up in small business families was a great start. And most of the work we had done previously in our careers was centered around small businesses, so that has given us a real advantage. On a more personal side, doing hard things has been a big help for both of us. Putting ourselves in situations over the past 3 or 4 years where we were challenging ourselves (usually on a physical level) has helped to develop our resiliency and that’s given us so much in terms of pushing forward even in difficult situations.
What were the main challenges you encountered at the beginning?
We had this notion of “if we build it, they will come” and that couldn’t be further from the truth. People have to know you exist, and they have to trust what you do. And most importantly, they need to like you. Once we officially launched SB PACE, it took us months to learn how to market in a meaningful and authentic way. There was so much we didn’t know and learning it was a process.
Who was the most supportive of your idea?
Support is a strange thing. I think a lot of people view “support” as giving money or doing something that’s time-consuming, when in fact support can be so easy. “How’s it going?” or sharing a post. Giving your business name to someone who needs help, writing a review, following on social. Things that don’t cost anything and don’t take any money. Those are the things that a lot of people don’t understand. For us, in many ways, people that we didn’t know well, in the beginning, have been the most supportive. We’re lucky with some family members (for both of us) who have been great about asking, following, sharing, and checking in.
Have there been any changes in your business approach after Covid-19?
Our business started as a result of Covid-19.
What makes your offer unique?
After spending many years working in corporate America, we have a philosophy about how we do work. We both left working for big companies (whether as full time employees or as consultants) because we found that adding value wasn’t the top priority, selling services was. As a result, we don’t sell our clients things they don’t need. We personalize the experience and get to know what your problems are before we even make a proposal. We want to understand deeply what’s happening, and all of that is done on our dime. We’ve worked with coaches before who have spent 5 or more sessions getting to know us, sessions we paid for. We don’t do that. We maximize value. We are deeply passionate about small businesses, and we find creative ways to make things work.
Do you have any other passions?
Nature. Hiking. Running. Biking. A little gambling, if we’re being honest. Anything that takes us away from our laptops for a day or a few hours is something we’re probably going to be up for. Corey is an exceptional cook, and he enjoys spending time mixing up recipes. Julie loves to read and learn new skills – that may or may not ever be needed.
If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
I don’t know that we’d do anything differently. There’s so much value in the lessons, and we’ve learned some great lessons. We’ve met extraordinary people, and we’ve had a lot of fun along the way. It’s been really challenging at times, but those challenges are going to be looked back at fondly in the coming years.
What challenges do you see ahead?
Most of the challenges we see are related to the uncertainty of the world. Nobody has been impacted more this past year than small business owners. You see big box stores able to stay open, while small business owners are being told to shut their doors. We don’t know what’s coming next, and helping small business owners to make plans and pivots is going to be critical.
What future projects does your business have?
As we write this we are getting ready to do our 2021 strategic planning. We’ll be working on some new projects in the coming year, as well as some collaborations with other small business owners. I see us getting more deliberate in the services we offer, perhaps doing a little more coaching, but focusing overall on helping small business owners go from working in their business to working on their business. We’ll also (hopefully) help A LOT of people open up new small businesses.
What message would you send to your followers?
Just start, and have a plan. And we’d say “if you’re too busy to work with us, that is the single biggest sign that you need to work with us”. So many small business owners don’t know how to transition from working IN to working ON – and that’s something we specialize in.
If you were to define your business in one sentence, how would you do it?
SB PACE is focused on helping small business owners be the most successful business owners possible.
Utility Avenue’s Spotlight focuses on promoting inspiring businesses every week. For a chance to be interviewed, contact us at email@example.com with the subject Spotlight.