In today’s economy, business owners often find themselves making hard decisions. Maybe a need to cut expenses means reducing staff or cutting wages. Maybe the need to make more revenue means working longer hours or offering additional products. No matter what the dilemma, business owners sometimes feel they’re against a wall. The key is to make the best of what you have. Like the saying goes - when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.
Meet Mark Muchowski. Mark grew up in Buffalo, New York and earned both his BS and MBA at the University of Buffalo. He started his career working in the financial services department of a major insurance company and worked his way up to the position of Senior Vice President of an insurance subsidiary for a large savings bank. In 1990, the bank was shut down and Mark found himself going from a six figure salary to unemployment overnight.
The devastation of losing his job reminded Mark of the importance of financial planning and he used his misfortune to help guide others into making sound decisions for their futures. He built a new business where he helped clients with their financial and retirement planning, as well as their investments. His clients grew to trust him and soon began asking for help with their taxes, and Mark soon found himself in the tax preparation business too.
Once his clientele started to turn to Mark for their tax preparation needs, they also began to refer their friends and family. And before long, some of his new tax clients became new investment clients too. He was able to build both his businesses at the same time.
Mark’s tax practice, Southtowns Tax and Consulting, is located in Orchard Park, New York. He’s lived there since the late 1970s. Mark operates his business by himself and prepares mostly traditional returns, but does do a few partnership and corporate returns too. His office is open all year as the investment business has no season, but January through April, he works seven days a week to meet the demands of tax season.
Aside from the usual challenges that come with starting a business from scratch, Mark says the biggest challenge at first was developing a client base from scratch. Now he says his biggest challenges are keeping track of classes and courses, maintaining his insurance and investment licenses, and complying with federal and state tax requirements.
Mark became a customer of Drake Software five years ago. He says he’s “totally satisfied” with the transition to Drake because it was a seamless conversion. He adds, “I can honestly say Drake provides the best phone support of any company I deal with. No matter how ridiculous my question, the support staff is always fast and polite. Plus, calls are answered very promptly.” And for a busy man like Mark, there’s not a lot of time to sit waiting for help.
Mark also appreciates the e-filing system Drake Software offers. He says the reporting options can’t be beat. And like all Drake Software customers, he enjoys the low cost and ease of use.
Like Drake, Mark strives to provide superior service to his clients. He knows word-of-mouth is a great advertising tool and always wants his clients to walk away with only good things to say about their experience. He plans to continue serving his clients as long as his health will allow and has no immediate plan to retire. But when he is ready to retire, he hopes to find someone who will take over his investment and tax businesses and nurture them the way he has for years.
When Mark was thrown a curve ball, he made the best of what he had – he used his education, his talents, and his interests to grow businesses that allowed him to succeed. He didn’t let the misfortune of losing his job cripple him. Instead, he rose from the disappointment and made the best of a bad situation. And now, there’s no need to look back.