We’ve launched Secrets of Success, a new weekly interview series here at Web.com’s Small Business Forum. I’ve asked some of the smartest, most innovative, most successful people I know to share their insights and success secrets.
Meet: Barbara Weltman. Barbara has the all-too-rare ability to take complicated issues and communicate them in a way every small business owner can understand. She’s a tax and business attorney; the author of the bestselling series of J.K. Lasser Small Business Taxes books; and an award-winning small business expert, writer and advocate.
Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Barbara Weltman: My dad owned a small business and I was always drawn to the business world. In law school–at a time when women made up only 11 percent of students–I decided early on to focus on business matters and taxes.
Lesonsky: Why did you start your own business?
Weltman: I started my law practice in 1983 because I had to; the company I was working for was bought out and I couldn’t do a long commute with small children at home. But I started Big Ideas for Small Business Inc. in 2000 because I wanted to; I had ideas I wanted to share.
Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?
Weltman: No. There hasn’t been any epiphany. I’ve continued to learn and grow a little every day.
Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?
Weltman: My mentor told me to do the best I can in the time I have and don’t fret about what could have been accomplished if there were more time.
Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?
Weltman: People matter most, so cultivate relationships, with customers, employees, colleagues, suppliers, advisors and others. I currently work with a number of people with whom I worked more than 30 years ago.
Lesonsky: Do you have a 2014 small business prediction?
Weltman: Small businesses will enjoy growth this year as part of the economic recovery. Innovation will continue to emerge from the small business community. There will continue to be confusion and challenges because of the Affordable Care Act. And tax uncertainty may not be resolved until late in the year, making tax planning for 2014 very difficult.
Lesonsky: Do you have a favorite book?
Weltman: Salt: A World History, by Mark Kurlansky, which it showed me how something as modest as salt shaped the world. Also Signing Their Lives Away, by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D’Agnese—reading about what the signers of the Declaration of Independence did keeps me humble.
Lesonsky: Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?
Weltman: Ben Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” It is the underpinning for my mission statement: “To make entrepreneurs smarter.”