Sramana: Talk to me about the structure of purchasing the company back from Intuit.
Deborah Sweeney: For the most part we structured a complete asset purchase agreement. I bought all of the assets, and everything that Intuit had owned transitioned to me. The deal was super smooth because Intuit was very much in tune with making sure we were set up for success. They did not want to say goodbye and throw us to the curb.
Sramana: How did you finance the purchase?
Deborah Sweeney: My husband owns a business, so we had some savings, and then we received a bank loan from Bank of America. We structured the deal over time as well. I now owe nothing to Intuit and own 100% of the company.
Sramana: How much profit have you been able to make now that you have refocused the business on profitability?
Deborah Sweeney: We see less traffic because we are not spending the amount of money that Intuit was spending on search, but I think profitability is critically important. I always tell my search team that I don’t care how many people come to my site. What matters to me is how many convert. I want qualified traffic.
We have worked very hard over the past year to build up our affiliates. It’s also very beneficial to get our name out there on radio, especially if you focus on CNN and CNBC, which are talking to small businesses versus random search engine marketing. If somebody is searching for the word “corporation,” they might be searching for Intel Corp. versus searching for forming a corporation. All of that has allowed us to hold revenue steady.
Sramana: Are you an affiliate of other companies as well?
Deborah Sweeney: Yes. For some of our larger partners, we don’t track the exact number of clients we pass each other, and we do that as a mutual service to each other. I will never share my customer database. I am beyond considering any discussions about that. People have asked to purchase the list because we have such a large customer base, but in my point of view, it is simply not worth that money. It is absolutely not worth it.
Sramana: How is your work/life balance being an entrepreneur, CEO, and a mother?
Deborah Sweeney: My work/life balance has never been better. I have two little boys. Being able to spend time with them on my own schedule is absolutely wonderful. That is something that means the world to me. I would do it again in a heartbeat. My boys are four and six years old. I had just had my first son when we were acquired by Intuit, and it’s amazing to see how things have changed since then.
Sramana: Great! This has been a wonderful interview, thank you for your time.