Minute-taking firm set to grow
April 26, 2004
As the state government continues to tighten its belt, Pamela Fox sees opportunity.
Fox, owner of Reno’s Tri-Fox Enterprises, next month will launch a branch in Carson City as she believes that the state will be looking for private help in keeping minutes of its many official meetings.
That’s a growing niche market for Tri- Fox Enterprises.
Its tiny staff is busy these days attending sessions of organizations ranging from homeowners associations to committees of municipal governments, maintaining the minutes of the meeting.
Either in person or from tape recordings, the firm handles more than a dozen regular customers for minutes and a growing number who call on the company in a pinch.
“We’ve had a lot of inquiries,” says Fox.
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“People need to document their meetings more today.”
Her staff of minute-takers is trained to listen for the valuable moments of meetings the moments that need to be recorded carefully for posterity.
“You need to be reliable, and you need to have a level of confidentiality,” Fox says.
The turnaround for a completed set of minutes usually is five to 10 business days, but the company can fill rush orders in as little as 24 hours.
The tricky part of the business? Charging an amount that’s reasonable, yet provides the company with a decent margin.With her experience, Fox can listen to a tape for five minutes and estimate accurately how long her staff will need to prepare minutes or a transcription.
The minutes-of-the-meeting business is a natural outgrowth of a secretarial service Fox launched in 1985 after she completed a Navy hitch in which she became expert in management of data bases.
The company she founded,Washoe Secretarial Services, became Tri-Fox Enterprises about three years later as the company has developed three distinct lines of business:
* Transcription by Tri-Fox, which includes the minute-takers as well transcription of business and legal meetings.
The company doesn’t, however, venture into the crowded field of medical transcription.
* Data Bases by Tri-Fox, in which the company’s founder uses her skill at creating one-of-a-kind data bases or upgrading existing systems.
* Today’s Office by Tri-Fox, which handles chores ranging from creation of company newsletters to word-processing jobs.
Since its start, the company has grown almost entirely by word-of-mouth. With the exception of telephone directory listings, the company hasn’t undertaken any advertising in nearly 20 years.
As soon as the Carson City office is up and going, Fox expects Tri-Fox Enterprises to follow with operations in Dayton and the Minden-Gardnerville area.
ut, she says she wants to make sure that her tiny staff one fulltime employee, one part-time employee and three contracted transcriptionists doesn’t grow so quickly that the company’s values are lost.
“I want the kind of company that considers its people first and always is professional,” she says.