Classical violinist and jazz vocalist Natasha Miller knows a thing or two about spinning plates. Selected as one of San Francisco’s top 100 Women Who Lead in 2019, Natasha has turned her performance know-how into a $4 million-dollar-a-year events company, Entire Productions. For clients ranging from the San Francisco 49ers to Google, Apple, Netflix, and Uber, she hires more than 1,000 performers annually, ranging from musicians and acrobats to “walk-on” performers that could, in fact, be plate spinners.
In the past three years, Natasha Miller’s business grew by 182%. Last year alone her business supported 777 events, and 1000’s of performers — with a team of just 11 full-time employees to manage all the details. So hiring, developing and retaining the right people in those lynchpin roles is paramount.
In 2016, Natasha wanted to offer something different to attract and retain her young staff and rolled out her first company benefits program, powered by Zenefits. In the subsequent years, she’s built her team and business with Zenefits onboarding, compliance, paid time off and payroll functionality — without the need to hire an in-house HR professional.
Business Acceleration, The Right Way
In 2015, after more than a dozen years running her performance events business “like and mom and pop shop,” Natasha Miller took the Goldman Sachs small businesses (GS 10ksb) program at Babson College. She put that operational insight directly to work, unlocking a huge capacity to accelerate her business. Four years, triple-digit growth, 2,645 events, and numerous industry awards later, she is very cognizant of finding a balance for herself, her small team, her clients and her business.
I run this business like I wish businesses I worked for in the past would have been run. We’ve built a culture for having fun while ruling the world!
For example, the Entire Productions team culture includes team-building offsites, a required monthly practice of sharing “One Upped” individual impacts on the business and a Slack Channel where the team celebrates customer successes. These practices serve as a great foundation for the business and also for the team of budding business people.
“In our free time, we go on employee-planned team bonding outings every other month,” adds Natasha. “It’s one way our team gets to showcase their unique passions while connecting us as a culture. We’ve done everything from wine and olive oil tasting to graffiti, self-defense training, and burlesque dancing classes.”
Natasha says that she couldn’t run the business and develop her team without the support of technology automation. “Automating anything and everything that’s repeatable is a must. Our systems and processes for events are tight and beautiful and we’ve likewise automated our business and people programs with scalable systems including Salesforce and Zenefits.”
Zenefits: Fit for Small Business
“I first learned about Zenefits during a business class: from what my colleague told me about their easy benefits administration, I couldn’t get to my computer fast enough to connect with them.
“We have been using Zenefits for a few years now and I love how easy it is for our employees to enter all of their information, sign onboarding documents, change their address, get paid, be connected to their 401k and administer their benefits, themselves.
“In addition to the incredible amount of time and financial savings, Zenefits also makes us look very put together as a company. That is a powerful competitive advantage to be able to showcase our unique set of compensation and benefits in a mobile job offer.”
As an early adopter of Zenefits for Benefits and HR, Natasha recognized the value of having all of her HR management in one tool, so when there was an opportunity to become a beta tester for Zenefits payroll she jumped on it. “ I love it, I replaced Paychex for an easier, far less expensive option. In fact, ADP, TriNet, and others keep calling us and I keep telling them we’re happy! I don’t need to hire an HR leader, nor do I need to outsource HR: Zenefits has us covered. Zenefits is like a miracle for small businesses.”
For the entrepreneurial musician, boss, mom, advocate and business school junkie who thrives on new ideas, Natasha has one more tip to other small business leaders: “Make sure you’re willing to consider change; it’s scary at times but absolutely necessary.”
For a woman who transformed her business 15 years in, and (metaphorically) spins plates for a living, that’s good advice.