From the February 2002 issue of Startups

There's something to be said for doing what you do best. With 10 years' experience at an employer services firm, would-be entrepreneurs Lawrence Bailliere and Tom Lickliter were ready to venture out on their own-and they decided the smartest thing would be to investigate opportunities in their field of expertise. "For most people [starting] a business, it's wise to consider the businesses [where] they've worked in the past," Bailliere explains. "It's difficult enough to be a successful businessperson-it's just that much more difficult if you attempt to open a business that you don't know anything about."

The business partners looked into several human resources administration franchises before selecting Checkmate Systems. Attracted to the idea of handling everything themselves-from processing clients' checks to dealing with benefits administration-Bailliere and Lickliter decided the franchise suited them well. "While on one hand it's a lot more work," says Bailliere, "on the other hand we'll know the work is done correctly and accurately."

Since opening their Tucson, Arizona, franchise in 1998, Bailliere and Lickliter have amassed a staff of eight and bought the building where they used to rent office space. The pair is confident in the future of employer services and hopes to grow the business to 10 times the size it is today. Says Bailliere, "The industry itself is experiencing continued growth, so we feel good about the viability of the industry."