Phyllis Smith, founder of LSP Ware
How did you start your business?
LSP Ware is an internet based software system that provides scheduling, tracking and billing for providers of language services. The program has actually been in use since 2008, when I was working as the CFO for a nonprofit that provides language services, including interpretations. The software system we were using didn’t meet the needs of the agency, its customers or its linguists. I knew there had to be a better way.
How did you come up the idea for your business?
My husband is a very talented software engineer with over 20 years of experience in project management, architecture, coding and design. He volunteered his time to help us out as a non-profit, creating the first version of LSP Ware.
We knew that we had some potential when I saw how much it helped the agency. When I began receiving letters from the linguists and customers telling us how much they liked the new system, I knew we were on to something.
What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
When I decided to try to sell the product that we had developed, I didn't know where to start. I went to a SCORE seminar and was paired with a mentor. He has been an invaluable resource and cheerleader for the company. Through him, I learned about Bad Girl Ventures and became a finalist in the fourth class. Taking the classes through Bad Girl Ventures was an incredible experience. Besides making contacts, the class opened up so many resources that I never knew about.
What inspires you?
To think that an idea that came from a quick conversation with my husband and is now a product that helps linguists and language-service providers manage their business is pretty incredible.
What’s next for you and your company?
We are updating our website and will be launching a marketing campaign to introduce LSP Ware to language service providers, hospitals, schools and any businesses with internal language-interpretation staff. As the non-English-speaking population is growing, there is more need for language services. Our program can help the providers in these niche markets operate more efficiently.
Interview by Robin Donovan