An interview with Jeff Ernst, owner of Ernst Consulting Group based in Crystal Lake.
Q: Describe your business. What do you do?
Owner: Jeff Ernst
Industry: Expense Recovery / Revenue generation
Number of employees: 1
Year business started: 2012
A: We provide no risk highly specialized tax incentive and revenue generation programs for almost every business or industry. As an example, programs include the R&D tax credit, cost segregation studies, workers comp audits, and a program that monetizes a company's account payable department to name a few. These programs require a highly specialized team of experts which includes IP and tax attorneys, engineers, CPA's, and auditors. We don't try and replace your CFO or accounting firm; we work with them.
Q: What made you start your business?
A: Years ago, I was downsized from the corporate world and I always possessed the entrepreneurial drive and spirit. I also thoroughly enjoy working with the various leadership teams and watching their expressions when they realize the amount of a specific benefit they've received
Q: What has been the most difficult obstacle in running or starting your business?
A: Taking the first step is always a challenge, so it's important to develop a plan with a defined strategy. You need to keep the foot on the pedal and keep moving forward because there will be setbacks.
Q: What do you enjoy most about operating your business?
A: Working with customers. You meet all different kinds of people from all different backgrounds. Each person and company has their own unique set of challenges which is usually where we can help -- at least from the financial perspective.
Q: Is this what you pictured yourself doing when you were young? When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: Actually, no. I wanted to play left field for the Cubs and I am fairly confident my time has expired on that one.
Q: How do you see your business growing? Where do you want to be in five years?
A: It grows via referrals. As an example, a company may qualify for several services but will initially try one to see how we operate. Once they see the benefit they will go with the other services which ultimately benefits them significantly. They will then refer us to their peers as they see the value.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: Progress and status of existing audits in process. For example, if we are conducting a workers comp audit, I don't get paid unless a refund is generated. Every study we conduct is good for the client but not necessarily good for me.
Q: If you could give one tip to a rookie business owner, what would it be?
A: Don't get to low on the lows and not too high on the highs. If you're offering a value added product/service and it's something you're passionate about.
• If you are the owner of a small business you'd like to feature, contact Rich Klicki at firstname.lastname@example.org.