Jennifer Barnes - Great Companies Women Entrepreneur Award Winner 2023
Name: Jennifer Barnes
Business Name: Optima Office, Inc.
Location: San Diego, USA
Establishment (Year): 2018
Category/Industry: Accounting and HR
Profession/ Specialty: Accounting & HR
Social Media: LinkedIn
Optima Office, a 100% woman owned business, provides Outsourced Accounting, Fractional CFO and COO services, and Human Resources support. We serve close to 300 companies across the United States but are mostly focused on the West Coast.
Unique Selling Proposition or Competitive Advantage:
We understand that every customer situation is different, so we take a flexible and thoughtful approach to our process to make sure the consultant-client fit is just right. Our consultants are experienced professionals who have extensive knowledge in a wide range of industries. We’re also dedicated to building a long-term relationship with customers as partners in success. We don’t believe in a one size fits all model and we ensure that we are focused on high retention with both our team and our clients.
Challenges Faced During the Journey:
I had a hostile takeover of my first company by my ex-partners. We fought through a tremendous litigation, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in a year’s time, but I prevailed. Although I used most of our life savings to start a second company, I was able to pay it all back and then some when the lawsuit was over. The entire situation was a blessing in disguise because I was able to build a second company that was twice as big in half the time, without partners holding me back. 30 of the employees from company 1 came with me, and five years later, many of them are still with us.
Advice for Women Entrepreneurs:
Yes, lots! First, be careful what you put into writing. Always know that things can come back to bite you later. Also, be strong and stand up for yourself. Don’t let anyone push you around. Be confident and believe in yourself. Power through and persevere, and don’t let anyone tell you ‘you can’t’. I think it is also important to be willing to take risks. If it was easy and riskless, everyone would do it. Lastly, it's crucial to hire the right people, treat them well and then trust them to do their job. Delegate as much as humanly possible.