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5 Questions with Michelle McManus, Benchmark Office Systems

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s New Hampshire District Office has a great, free program coming up that’s geared toward established business owners like Michelle McManus, of Benchmark Office Systems in Londonderry. She is a graduate of the Emerging Leaders Initiative, a seven month program (did we mention it’s free?) to help them continue on the path of sustainable growth. More information is available here, including the link to register and below is Michelle’s account of the program.

Michelle (2)

Michelle McManus ~ Benchmark Office Systems

1. You’ve been a small business owner in Londonderry for 16 years. Could you tell us a little about it?

Absolutely, my husband and I started the business back in October 2000. We were working for a similar business in Denver, Colorado and decided to move east to start our own business and eventually start a family. We always had a business owner mentality (working all the time, forward thinking, what we could do to make the business run better, etc)

2. Even after 16 years, you continue to seek out programs that make you a better business owner, such as the SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative. What drew you to this particular program?

One of my customers had been involved in the program and she said I needed to get involved. As a business owner, you sometimes feel like you are on an island, yet forget other business owners are in the same boat. This intrigued me to step back from the day to day operations and focus on how to get better.

3. What surprised you about the training … what was your ‘a-ha’ moment and the most valuable takeaway?

The most important take away is that I need to not do everything myself, boy that’s hard! I learned how to re-focus my energy on hiring people that can do better at certain tasks than I can do. I had to “fire” myself from doing all the hiring and involve other people in my business to help me make those valuable decisions.

4. The Emerging Leaders Initiative is a free program, but it does require a time commitment. Was it worth it and why?

Time away from business still costs money, but you get out of it what you put into it. If you focus your efforts, you will gain invaluable insight and renewed focus.

5. What would you say to someone considering enrolling in the upcoming program, which begins in April?

If you think you can do it all, you can’t, well you can, but not forever. To become successful, you need to try and duplicate yourself or parts of yourself to achieve greater success. Invest the time in yourself and your business.

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