We’d like to introduce you to Corinne Flanagan, Chief Financial Officer of U.S Tube Supply. They’re a wholesale supplier of steel pipe and tube materials throughout the United States and Canada. They’re a husband and wife team with a few employees located in St. Petersburg, Florida!
What made you decide to start a business?
My husband and I started the business in 2009 for several reasons. First of all, we wanted to find a way to utilize our past business experience, education, and personal creativity in building a company of our own. We have the opportunity to work on what is truly interesting to us; interesting and exciting projects make work fun. Seeing your dreams become a reality through your own hard work is a powerful motivator. Owning our own business is also an opportunity to build a legacy to pass on to our children and inspire them to follow their dreams in life. Finally, it’s great to be your own boss! That flexibility allows for a terrific work/life balance.
What has been the most challenging part of being a business owner?
The multitude and diversity of required tasks. It has been both an eye-opening and a positive learning experience delving into the many areas that require management when owning and operating a small business.
In the beginning, I think we were a little too ‘all business, all the time’ because we were so excited and driven to succeed. It is critical to give your all to your business, but you cannot do that 100% of the time. Learning to better balance business and personal life has truly enhanced both.
What’s the best part of being a business owner?
Hands down it’s building relationships with our customers. By meeting material, budget, and production goals we earn our customers’ trust and build relationships. Getting the right material for the job on budget and on time is very rewarding. For example, we recently had a custom fabricated tube order that was time critical for a nuclear reactor project. We delivered in coordination with the customer’s schedule, saving thousands of dollars per day in potential downtime costs. We strive to partner with our customers; meeting our mutual goals is very rewarding.
What’s one thing you wish someone told you before you started your business?
Never assume that once cash flow starts coming in that it will keep coming in! As the person in charge of finances, I have to be on top of cash flow all the time and manage the industry cycles, just like our customers do.
What’s your favorite tool (app, software, device, etc) that you use for your business?
Quickbooks is the best!