AVOID these Common Mistakes

• _Not asking questions about this assignment in class that are unclear to you.
• _Asking questions that are clearly answered in these or other instructions.
• _Interviewing a business that is too small in scope which lacks the professional insights.
Warning Signs: Part-time, home-based, sole owner recent startup, your own family or does not have a
website or social media presence.
• _No or incomplete Title Page.
• _Not describing the business and owner in the opening paragraph and summarizing your paper in a
concluding paragraph.
• _Not outlining your thoughts before writing to create a logical flow.
• _Not Applying course concepts and not citing and referencing the textbook
• _Filling the pages with long quotations from the interview, textbook or website.
• _Not Applying course concepts and references for materials covered in class outside the textbook.
• _Not incorporating the SWOT Analysis in the text of the paper
• _Misclassifying SWOT Categories
• _Not summarizing the SWOT Analysis at the end before the references.
• _Not citing and referencing the business website
• _Not running the Review/Editor (F7) and correcting all the errors except proper names.
• _Less than or over than specified page length. I will stop reading at five pages.
• _Submitting the assignment in any other format than Word with a docx extension. Unreadable
documents are considered late until properly submitted with penalty.
• _Not reading the assignment out loud to yourself and asking someone to read it to you before
submitting it.
• _Submitting the assignment late
• _Not doing a final check of the rubric and these instructions before submitting your assignment

Submission no. 931cf7da-bae0-4a53-b589-5a03f57ac4f4 1

Interview with Dan ABC BUSINESS, Owner and
President of ABC BUSINESS & Associates

With S.W.O.T. Analysis

Student Name: Anonymous

Montgomery College

Business Name:
ABC BUSINESS & Associates, PC



Type of Business:
Professional Corporation

Business Address:

Falls Church, Virginia 22043

Years in Operation:

Number of Employees:
7 full-time, 3 seasonal


Dan ABC BUSINESS is the founder, current owner, and president of ABC BUSINESS and

Associates, a small, Falls Church, Virginia based firm of certified public accountants. Services
provided by ABC BUSINESS & Associates include tax preparation, estate planning, financial
services, business valuation, litigation support, forensic accounting and more. Dan is a CPA
himself who started the business in 1987 after developing a faithful client base as an
employee of another firm. ABC BUSINESS and Associates works with individuals and families,
professional advisors, and other small businesses.

ABC BUSINESS & Associates is a professional corporation (PC). In the state of Virginia,
a professional corporation is comprised of shareholders, is based on shares of stock, and
usually pays a business income tax. A PC can elect s-corporation tax status or otherwise may
face double-taxation. Double taxation occurs when earnings are taxed twice, first at the
corporate level and again at the personal level (Collins, 2010, p. 195). PCs provide liability
protection for their shareholders (Steinberg, 2017), that is, shareholders (owners) cannot be
held personally liable for the debts and obligations of the corporation (Collins, 2010, p. 193).

The mission statement of ABC BUSINESS and Associates, which can be easily located on
their website, reads:

We are a proactive local accounting firm providing a wide range of services with
integrity, honesty and a commitment to excellence. We are an aggressive advocate for
our clients’ tax savings and empathetic to all of their needs. We are a growth-oriented
firm that values our employees and seeks to provide opportunities for their personal
and business success (ABC BUSINESS, 2015).

According to “Mission and Vision Statements” by MindTools.com, a mission statement should
define an organization’s primary objectives and its purpose, it should be set in the present
tense, it should explain why the business exists, and it should be short, clear, and powerful
(MindTools.com). ABC BUSINESS & Associates’ mission statement fulfills these requirements:
their stated purpose/objective is to provide a range of services with integrity, honesty, and
excellence, advocate for clients’ savings; it is written in the present tense; it also uses powerful
language like “success,” “commitment,” and “excellence.”
When asked what made him want to open his own business, Dan explained:

Because the sky’s the limit when you have your own business; there’s no limit to how
much you can make, and you get more control over how much you make. If you’re
willing to put in the hard work, it can be very profitable. If you work for somebody
else, even if you work hard, you might not get any recognition, also [sometimes] you’re
trying to figure out how they became the boss in the first place… I felt like I could have
more opportunities.

In Collins’ book, An Introduction to Business (2010), she explains that according to the Small
Business Administration, among the top reasons for starting a business are to achieve
financial independence, to accommodate a desired lifestyle, and to be your own boss (p. 216).
It seems like Dan had these commonly shared ideas in mind as well when he made the


decision to branch off on his own – he wanted more money, to have more control, and to
achieve a desired lifestyle.
From his 30 years as a business owner and working with other small business
professionals, Dan believes that the most common reason that causes other small businesses
to fail is lack of preparation for the lean times, either because they don’t start out with enough
funding or because they don’t generate revenue quickly enough. He explained:

A lot of people start a business that aren’t ready for the lean times. When they first
start a business, they can spend a lot of time trying to generate business, trying to get
the business off the ground, they are working very hard but they’re not making a lot of
money. So, they haven’t necessarily prepared to get through the first couple years
when they’re not making very much… So I guess one of the main reasons [small
businesses often fail] is they aren’t ready for the initial low start.

However, he did offer some optimism as well: “If you can stick it out through the first few
years, eventually you’ve got people coming to you and you’ve got a reputation.” This coincides
with what Collins explains in An Introduction to Business (2010) – ways to succeed in owning
a business include getting adequate funding to get your business through the startup phase
(which can last over a year) and managing that funding effectively. The text explains that
third of small businesses go out of business within the first two years, more than half of small
businesses have closed by the end of their fourth year, and 70 percent do not make it past
their seventh year. Some common reasons for failure named by the book, which also support
Dan’s ideas, include being underfunded – that is, the owner borrows enough money to set up
the business but doesn’t have enough extra cash to operate during the start-up phase (p. 256-
259). It seems like Dan’s experience has given him a lot of wisdom surrounding what leads to
Another key to success for businesses is having an advantage over competing firms.
Dan believes ABC BUSINESS & Associates has this. He says the advantage his business holds is
a combination of a very knowledgeable and experienced staff, providing a personalized
service, being easy to access, having a quick return time when getting back to clients (2-3
days), and keeping their prices competitive. Part of the ease of access that clients have is their
easy-to-use website, ABC BUSINESSCPA.com, which includes lots of information about the
business, including a page on multiple ways to contact them. Dan explained that he tries to
only hire experienced CPAs, which can be very hard to find in that area, but he believes that is
what helps give his business its competitive edge. According to the supply and demand
model, by trying to keep his prices relatively low, or “competitive,” it will theoretically help to
increase the demand of the services he offers (Collins, 2010, p. 28). Furthermore, because
ABC BUSINESS & Associates does not have a monopoly on financial and accounting services,
they must keep their prices close to those of other firms to compete with them (Collins, 2010,
p. 33-34). Dan believes this competitive edge that ABC BUSINESS & Associates has helps to
contribute to his business having a positive reputation.


When Dan was asked about how he feels about the reputation of ABC BUSINESS &
Associates, he said he believes it is good. This, he believes, is indicated firstly by the fact that
he has been able to keep his business alive and functioning for thirty years now. Also, he says
he sees a lot of positive online reviews and gets a lot of referrals from his current clients to
new clients. One of the keys to this success has been offering good customer service. Dan
believes the most important rule of providing good customer service is to be compassionate
and empathetic towards the clients and their needs – showing them that the business cares
and that the staff is trying their best to provide a good service at a good price. This concept
could be said to fall under practicing good business ethics, specifically, treating customers
fairly and communicating core values of compassion and empathy to all members of the
business (Collins, 2010, p. 58) so that they are carried out with each and every client. We can
see from the example given with ABC BUSINESS & Associates that being an ethical business
and conveying it to the customers can have a very positive impact on the business.
Although Dan has experienced great success through the creation of ABC BUSINESS &
Associates, he does feel that there are some disadvantages to one owning their own business.
First, he says, “you generally don’t work just 40 hours per week, you can’t just go home and
forget about it like you generally can being an employee. With your own business, you’re
always thinking about it. The buck stops with you, so you can’t just get somebody else to
worry about the problems.” This parallels a negative aspect outlined in the textbook about
being a business owner, that is, “stress: As a business owner, you are the business. There’s a
bewildering array of things to worry about—competition, employees, bills, equipment
breakdowns, customer problems. As the owner, you’re also responsible for the well-being of
your employees,” (Collins, 2010, p. 234). Another disadvantage that Dan pointed out is that “a
lot of people think that you can be your own boss, but in reality, your clients are your boss,
and in a way, your employees are your boss. In small businesses, you almost depend on your
employees as much as they depend on you. Each employee has an impact on the firm.”
Although, as a business owner, technically there may not be someone above you in the chain
of command who is in charge, you are really not your own boss as long as you are trying to
succeed, because you depend on revenue from customers and you depend on employees who
carry out the job of the business. This could be a rude awakening for some who start up a
business and truly want to do whatever they want, whenever they want. In An Introduction to
Business (Collins, 2010), “independence” is stated as an advantage of owning your own
business because, “as a business owner, you’re your own boss. You can’t get fired. More
importantly, you have the freedom to make the decisions that are crucial to your own
business success,” (p. 233). This is partially true, but we can see from Dan’s advice that your
level of independence may not be as great as one hopes, and it is contingent on your desired
success level.
From the interview, it is apparent that Dan ABC BUSINESS, founder and president of
ABC BUSINESS & Associates knows the keys to a successful small business. Many of his ideas
line up with common business practices and theories as outlined in Karen Collins’ An
Introduction to Business. In the next five years, Dan expects little change to come to ABC
BUSINESS & Associates, but he hopes to see revenue grow by about 30-40%.



Collins, Karen. Exploring Business. Adapted Version of the 2010. Print. Adapted version

licensed under the Creative Commons by-nc-sa 3.0 license and available via the
University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing through the eLearning Support Initiative.

ABC BUSINESS & Associates. (2015). Company Profile: Mission Statement. Retrieved October

06, 2017, from https://www.ABC BUSINESScpa.com/certified-public-accountant-

MindTools.com. (n.d.). Mission and Vision Statements: Unleashing the Power of Purpose.

Retrieved October 06, 2017, from

Steingold, David M. (2017). How to Form a Professional LLC in Virginia. www.nolo.com.

Retrieved 9 October 2017, from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/how-form-



1. Strong business ethics
2. Experienced staff
3. 30 years of operation
4. Location (relatively high-income,

populated area)
5. Easily accessible
6. Wide range of financial services
7. Flexibility among types of


1. May be subject to double-taxation

depending on tax-filing status
2. Website is not entirely up-to-date
3. Underwhelming online social

media presence
4. Only a handful of online reviews
5. Having experienced accountants

could drive prices up, a deterrent
to some clients

6. Only one location
7. Prices may be in line with the

high-income area in which the
business is located, but the prices
may seem inflated to out-of-town

1. Expansion to other locations
2. Addition of other services (legal,

3. Using the internet to advertise &

establish a greater knowledge of
the firm

4. Increasingly complex tax codes
could bring them more clients
(less people/businesses who
know how to do their own taxes)

5. Because shareholders have
limited liability, they can take
greater risks as a business and try
new things

6. Hiring experienced CPAs can add
their client list to the ABC
BUSINESS & Associates business

7. Getting a jumpstart on
cryptocurrency culture

1. Increasingly complex tax codes

could make employees’ jobs

2. Very small pool of experienced
CPAs in the area (according to

3. Competition from other

4. Business income taxes
(depending on filing status)

5. New cryptocurrencies (bitcoin,
etc.) which may grow in
popularity (could be a threat if
the business does not adapt to

6. Programs like TurboTax and H &
R block

7. Rapidly advancing technology
(MS Excel, online support, etc.)
could eventually render financial
services less necessary


Business Owner Interview & SWOT Rubric

Description: This rubric will be utilized in grading Business Owner Interview & SWOT submissions

Does not meet criteria Meets criteria Exceptional

A business owner is
interviewed (not a

manager) and information
about business put forth as


0 (0%)
Student does not interview
a business owner and/or
fails to put forth required
information regarding the
business name, type,
location, years in operation,
and number of employees

3 (2.4%)
Student interviews a
business owner and
includes required business
information business name,
type, location, years in
operation, and number of

5 (4%)
Meets expectations and
student actively pursues an
interview with a business
owner outside his/her
network in a business field
of interest.

At least ten questions were
asked and majority of
results were included in


0 (0%)
Paper does not speak to a
majority of the interview

15 (12%)
Paper addresses 4-6 of the
interview questions asked
and owner responses.

20 (16%)
Student addresses 7-10
interview questions asked
and owner responses.

Using PICK Analysis, the
textbook concepts were
applied throughout the
paper in comparison to

interview results with cite
to page of textbook using
footnotes throughout

30 (24%)
Student does not connect
and apply the interview
results of choice to relevant
course concepts/theories
from the text using PICK

40 (32%)
Student appropriately
applies and analyzes
relevant course concepts,
theories, or materials, and
shows some evidence
[citations] that correlates
posts with unit materials
using PICK Analysis.

50 (40%)
Student consistently cites
appropriate material in
multiple learning modules
to demonstrate full
synthesis and application of
topics and digs deep in
student’s analysis to reach
full potential of the paper.
Demonstrates a clear
understanding of learning
concepts from the course
using PICK Analysis.

Addressed each element of
the SWOT: Strength,

Opportunities and Threats

correctly and in a
comprehensive, complete
list of key highlights, using
SWOT template or bulleted
list in addition to paper

0 (0%)
Student does not complete
SWOT analysis in addition
to paper on business

10 (8%)
Student addresses some
components of SWOT but
does not show a clear
understanding of the
distinctions between each
element and/or does not
provide a comprehensive
and complete list of key

20 (16%)
Student addresses all
components of SWOT
demonstrating a clear
understanding of the
distinctions between each
element and provides a
comprehensive and
complete list of key
highlights (at least 7 bullet
points for each element).
Demonstrates a clear
understanding of learning
concepts from the course.

Does not meet criteria Meets criteria Exceptional

Paper free of grammatical

0 (0%)
There are multiple typos,
formatting, and/or
grammar issues in paper.

3 (2.4%)
There are minor typos,
formatting, and/or
grammar issues in paper.

5 (4%)
There are not typos,
formatting, nor grammar
issues in paper.

Paper is organized and has

0 (0%)
Student presents
information in a
disorganized and unclear
manner, making it difficult
to interpret the information
put forth.

5 (4%)
The paper is somewhat
clear and concise, but not
consistently throughout the

10 (8%)
The paper is clear and
concise consistently
throughout its entirety, and
is well organized.

Meets page requirements
(2 full pages, no more than
3 for paper – this does not
include SWOT Analysis)
using single spacing,

1”margins and 12 point

0 (0%)
There are less than 2 single
spaced substantive pages

5 (4%)
At least 2 and no more than
3 substantive pages
submitted. However, pages
lack substantive
information sufficient to
comprise the 2 page
requirement (e.g., large
pictures, graphs, spacing
quotes take up too much

10 (8%)
At least 2 and no more than
3 substantive pages

Uses research and data to
support claims as

necessary, which are cited
with footnotes throughout

0 (0%)
Works cited are not
included. (At least the
textbook should be cited,
and the interview).

3 (2.4%)
Works cited are included
but are not clearly noted in
footnotes as required.

5 (4%)
Works cited are included
and are clearly noted using
footnotes as required.

Submitted timely via
Blackboard in or x


0 (0%)
Not submitted in correct

0 (0%)
Per the syllabus, there may
be up to a 20% grade
reduction per day for late

0 (0%)
Submitted before required

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