“My father and both my grandfathers ran small businesses,” shares Barry Rubin, of Direct HR. “What I learned from them is why I run my own small business, too.”
Barry learned that a small business owner does it all: “The actual work of the business — whether that’s plumbing or pet grooming, hair styling or hospitality — is only part of it,” describes Barry. “The small business owner answers the mail, sweeps the floor, takes out the trash, keeps the books, hires personnel, provides training, settles employee disputes, establishes company policies … it just doesn’t stop!”
Large companies can afford to hire outside agencies to handle the more challenging aspects of running a business, like establishing personnel policies and procedures, calculating payroll, and monitoring compliance with state and federal regulations.
Small companies, lacking the negotiating power and deep pockets of larger companies, could find themselves in violation of rules they didn’t even know about.
“Small businesses have the same needs as larger companies,” emphasizes Barry. “I thought they should have access to the same services at a price they could afford.”
Barry explains that he became determined to solve the problem after working for years in a program for adults living with mental illness. “Hospitalized patients would come to our program for vocational training to help them reintegrate into the community at large. As a staff psychologist, I worked with these patients, helped them get jobs with small businesses, then watched in disappointment when those small businesses failed because they couldn’t keep up with unrelated workplace issues. I wanted to fix that!”
Certain that he could help these small businesses negotiate the confusions of the many regulations that made running a business more difficult, he founded Direct HR in 1996. “I wanted to level the playing field for small business owners, offering payroll services, monitoring compliance issues, handling workers’ compensation and group benefits, even overseeing time clock systems, all at price points that were traditionally available only to larger businesses or corporations.”
Twenty-three years later, Direct HR is still going strong, helping small businesses across the country to handle human resource issues with aplomb.
During those years, Barry has found involvement in Chambers of Commerce to be an invaluable resource not only for Direct HR, but for his company’s clients, as well.
He proudly notes that he is a past president of the Gulfport Chamber of Commerce, and has held membership in the St. Petersburg Area Chamber. Most recently, he joined the Board of Directors of the Treasure Island & Madeira Beach (TIMB) Chamber of Commerce.
Noting that the TIMB Chamber is a “boutique” chamber, serving the south Pinellas Beaches and surrounding areas, Barry says, “I like the size of the businesses this Chamber serves. They’re independent and small, but growing. And there is a growing need among these businesses for what Direct HR does. Many of our businesses rely on the hospitality industry, from small hotels and motels, restaurants, and beach bars, to the small businesses that provide services and products to them. A huge part of our business model is geared toward the hospitality and associated industries.”
Barry explains, too, that “Chambers of Commerce create a sense of camaraderie among their members, and gives business a unified voice at all levels of government. A Chamber introduces its members to government and business leaders, giving these leaders a way to know, like, trust, and refer to the small business.
“You can’t go out and knock on every door in your community to drum up business,” he notes, “but through Chamber membership, you can give the community directions to your door!”
If your small business could use help with payroll, compliance, or employee relations, contact Barry by phone at (727) 898-8463, ext. 103.