You'll find no harder working woman than Donna Spoor, owner of Wize Choice Solutions.
Insurance agent, business consultant, tax preparer, certified financial analyst, realtor, chamber of commerce champion, EMS volunteer, local political committeewoman, and mother, Spoor shines as a coach, well sort of-she's the small business equivalent of the late Naismith Hall of Fame-winning North Carolina State University basketball Coach Kay Yow. Her "coaching" skill comes in the form of over 30 years of acquired business wisdom (hence her business' name). Her knowledge and good nature are helping several businesses in our area streamline their payroll and bookkeeping operations in these tough times.
Spoor's retro desk lamp and laptop screen burn brightly into the evening at her 130 Main Street office in Whitehall, N.Y. Since it's early March, she's under the gun; there's plenty of customer tax forms to file by the April 15 IRS deadline.
Wize Choice Solutions has a diverse client list from both Rutland County, Vt., and Washington County, N.Y. Running her own business since 1997, Spoor is also co-founder of Green Life International, a burgeoning business specializing in VidaCell food supplements.
So where does this working woman find time to juggle all of this business?
"Well, I became interested in business at an early age," she said. "I am a person ideally suited for office operations. This is what I love."
Spoor lost her husband, Leroy Spoor, to cancer in October 2005. She and her children have struggled with the loss, but that hasn't prevented the family from supporting mom in her ongoing business ventures.
Spoor has over three decades of experience in the business world. She made contributions in improving the working lives of area men and women as president of New York's Civil Service Employees Association union local at "The Wall"-the maximum security Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock. It takes a sharp, no-nonsense person to walk the line between workers and management. Spoor accomplished the job with professionalism; she earned respect on both sides of the aisle.
"Right now I see a lot of small, local businesses struggling," she said. "I see these firms trying to cut their payroll expenses and other costs. That's where I can help.
"I have always believed in making business services more accessible, more affordable for individuals and small businesses. That's why I'd rather have 10 happy customers who feel my rates are fair rather than three customers that are overcharged."
Spoor said she can save business customers 30 percent in their payroll expenses. She blames large payroll services for prices that impact the small business person. She offers an affordable, desktop solution: QuickBooks. The software is a low cost solution to what can be a high cost operation. Spoor is a skilled QuickBooks Pro Advisor and knows the ins and outs of this business computer program.
"It may be time consuming to set up a QuickBooks payroll system, but once it's up and running it's easy to run. It really cuts costs," she said. "I take my customers from step one with QuickBooks."
Companies aren't the only ones that can tap Spoor 's practical, money saving business wisdom. Her income tax and financial analyst services are both affordable and highly reliable to working individuals.
"Honestly, I would avoid the big-box income tax services," she said. "I remember when I used one of them years ago. I ended up owing money to the IRS. Their money saving claims are greatly exaggerated in my opinion. And if I can't get you an immediate answer about deductions and refunds, I have many resources to get the correct answer quickly."
Despite the economy, Spoor said this is a golden time for starting an at-home business. She says starting up an at-home business is a good idea, especially for stay-at-home mothers.
"There's a lot an at-home business person can deduct as business expenses," she said. "I can help you figure it all out."
Spoor even makes a bold offer: If you think another tax preparation service did you wrong, call her. She'll look at your income tax paperwork, free of charge, and spot the mistakes. If you like what she does, you can go from there.
What does Donna Spoor like to do to relax and get away from the office?
"I like to crochet," she said. "I just made a beautiful blanket for my daughter's Whitehall High School Drama Club fundraiser. But mostly, I read about new tax code changes and other things related to my business."
Well, even if it looks like Donna Spoor can't really relax after hours, you can be sure that-if you're her customer-she will always be minding your own business.
Check it Out-Wize Choice Solutions Income Tax, Bookkeeping and Much More, Donna Spoor, owner, 130 Main St., Whitehall, N.Y. Open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and evenings by appointment. Call 518-499-9144 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.