Exceeding expectations is Amy Langer's business. When she and partner John Folkestad, 40, first wrote the business plan for Salo LLC, a senior-level finance and accounting staffing company, they anticipated sales of about $9 million by their third year in business--no small feat. "Most of our advisors [told us], 'These projections are unreal. No small business does this,'" recalls Langer, 35. "We hit $9 million after two years.
Through her background in staffing, Langer discovered a need in the marketplace to supply companies with top accounting and finance talent. Meeting that need triggered explosive growth for Salo, which launched in 2002. By 2006, sales hit $32.1 million, with 2007 projections of over $40 million. Attracting top-notch talent for outside contractors and her own staff is key to managing the company's astronomical growth, she says. Langer surrounds herself with people who are not only exceptional at what they do, but who also complement her skill set and help take the company to the next level. "I know where I'm strong, and I know where I definitely need people to help me," she says.
As the mother of three small children, Langer faces a big challenge that many working women do: balancing an entrepreneurial life with a life at home. "Wanting to be everywhere has been and always [will] be a challenge," she says. Knowing where to put her focus and how to delegate her time has helped her juggle all her responsibilities. She adds, "If I'm required to be in the office 80 hours a week or else the business can't run, then the business isn't sustainable."
Still, there's no resting on laurels for this Minneapolis entrepreneur, who plans to expand her company into other niches within professional staffing. In fact, Salo has already opened two other companies under its umbrella: Oberon, which focuses on HR placement, and Number Works, which focuses on junior-level accounting and finance staffing.
As she continues to move forward, Langer makes sure to keep her eye on the big picture when it comes to the future of her company and suggests other women entrepreneurs do the same. "Having a vision [and] really working on our business vs. working in it has made quite a difference," she says. "Ask, 'Where are you really needed?'"
The Top 50 Fastest-Growing Women Entrepreneurs
Take a look at thetop 50 fastest-growing women entrepreneurs compiled by Entrepreneur and the Women Presidents' Organization from the November 2007 issue of Entrepreneur magazine. And check out aslideshow featuring 10 of the remarkable women on the list.