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Bookkeeping is just the beginning

Paula Festas
June 27, 2023

Learn from our community entrepreneurs! In this interview, Paula Festas shares the story of building and growing huumans, located in Halifax, Ontario, Canada

  • Hi! Tell us about your business and what problem are you solving?

    Huumans is a tech-forward bookkeeping firm that supports entrepreneurs and small businesses of all sizes with the day-to-day financial operations of running a business. By partnering with small business owners that are already managing their own bookkeeping in the cloud—using technology like Xero, QuickBooks or Sage—huumans pairs up business owners with a dedicated human bookkeeper whose main focus is to provide consistent and valuable support so that entrepreneurs can get back to doing what they do best: running their business. By helping these owners professionally manage day-to-day operations of running a business—like bookkeeping, payroll, tax prep, and reporting—huumans is giving back time and resources to this important community.

  • How do you motivate yourself to keep going every day?

    Coming from a family of small business owners, and seeing the tenacity and ambition it takes to start a business, I was left with a desire to help make the lives of business owners a little bit easier. Owning a small business is no easy feat, and I think it takes support from a wider community to help these businesses succeed. Everyone has the ability to support small businesses in their own way, shopping local is a great example of this, but you need people rallying behind you who are providing the tools and resources that entrepreneurs need to succeed. I am happy to be among this group of people that are working on solutions to make running a small business more accessible to a wider group of people.

  • What's your one biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

    As CEO and co-founder of huumans, to date my biggest accomplishment was partnering with Total Mom Inc, and serving as a judge on the Total Mom Inc pitch, which is one of the biggest events celebrating entrepreneurs who are other mothers. It was inspiring for me to see all the women who were balancing running a small business and being a parent, not to mention the amount of work it took for these women to feel like they were doing a good job in both of these roles. My experience as a judge opened my eyes to even more hardships that some groups of entrepreneurs face—especially women and parents—and gave me a new-found commitment to making sure that anyone who wanted to start a business would have the opportunity to do so.

  • What’s your one biggest challenge you face and how do you overcome it?

    As a co-founder and CEO, my biggest challenge is maintaining an up-to-date understanding of how economic conditions, politics, and trends affect small business owners—our customers. It’s important to me that our customers trust the strategic direction I’m taking the business in, and that my decisions are data-backed and prove that we are here to support them. We want our customers to know that we’re informed and we have their best interests in mind, so that they can focus on their customers’ needs.

  • What are your hiring strategies to build a successful business?

    When looking for new people to join the huumans team, the most important thing is an unrelenting commitment to small business owners. I don’t think enough people realize how critical small businesses are to our economy. Considering the endless barriers to entry like time, resources, and access to capital, I don’t think many people realize how difficult it is to even start a business. When looking for new hires, I want to work alongside people who understand the challenges entrepreneurs face, but also the amazing opportunities that are afforded to people who are able to make the jump into small business ownership.

  • To anyone looking to start or grow a business today, what three tips would you give them?

    1. Network with other business owners and the wider community. Businesses are made up of people, and it’s the deep connections we form with others that make us want to support them. Especially now, as consumers, we’re all being a bit more thoughtful and purposeful about where we spend our money. If you’re thinking about becoming a business owner, you should find ways to make your customers proud to support your business.

    2. Find trusted advisors and keep them close. Very few people go into business to manage their books, so if you feel like the financial operations of running a business would be a weak point for you, find a professional that can help you take control of your business’s finances (so you don’t have to!).

    3. Prioritize your customers. Not necessarily in a ‘the customer is always right’ way, but everything you do in your business should be done with your end-consumer in mind. Understand what delights your customers, or see if they’d be open to providing a testimonial.

  • Where can we go to learn more about your business?

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