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Keeping dreams alive.

Before launching Backlog Ltd., a Chicago temporary agency, Rosalind M. Clifton had a serious case of entrepreneurial jitters. While she was securing a loan, obtaining a tax ID number and setting-up shop, all she kept thinking was, "I'm not really going to do this--quit a $40,000-a-year job to open my own business!"

But Rosalind did just that. A week g after the official opening in March 1989, she and her husband, Pierce, who is Backlog's CEO and co-owner, had already booked $2,541 in temp placements. By December of that first year, revenues hit $900,000. The secret of their success? Knowing how to run every facet of their enterprise. Rosalind and Pierce, a former revenue agent for the Internal Revenue Service, quit their jobs and got a $15,000 loan from a friend to start Backlog.

Calling upon her 17 years experience of managing a temp agency and paying insurance claims, Rosalind carved out a niche for Backlog by serving the insurance industry. By the end of 1990, the company had 100 temps in the field, five office workers and $1.5 million in revenues.

Then came the recession. Nineteen ninety-one saw bookings drop to $760,000. The Cliftons had to forgo their 3,000-square-foot office and operate out of their house from October 1991 to January 1992. With only 32 temps placed, the Cliftons were compelled to lay off two employees.

"I couldn't even pay the phone bill," Rosalind remembers. "Then one night, I was lying in bed, and I realized when businesses can't pay the bills, firms need workers in collections."

The Cliftons repositioned Backlog's temp force to provide this service in addition to insurance claims and were able to stop their free fall. Revenues for 1992 are projected at $900,000.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Backlog Ltd.
Author:Pouliot, Janine S.
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Sep 1, 1992
Words:296
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