How the right tools are game-changers for women-owned businesses

QuickBooks Time by QuickBooks and ADP are helping the 25-year-old owner of Amaru Confections achieve better business management.

No law says you must be a certain age to own your own business. Yet the majority of entrepreneurs today are over the age of 30. Filter for multiple employees and a customer base in the thousands and young entrepreneurs become even rarer. Kathie Luna, owner of Amaru Confections in Boise, Idaho, is one such rare case. She bought the well-loved bakery in November 2018, at the age of 24.
“Owning a bakery has been one of my goals—one of my dreams—for a while,” she says. “I just never thought it would come this soon.”
Funny enough, Kathie and Amaru are close in age. The bakery’s previous owners, Aimee and Chris Wyatt, started the business in 2000, bringing delicious custom cakes to the masses. At the time, Kathie would have been six years old. She couldn’t have known how fate would bring her and the burgeoning bakery together.
Over the next 15 years, Amaru expanded from a private, in-home operation to a public storefront. Kathie attended the culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu, in Sacramento, California, then took up a post with a Boise restaurant. In 2015, Kathie joined the Amaru team as a wholesale delivery driver and baker of gluten-free confections. Three years later, when the owners asked if she’d like to buy them out, Kathie took her place at the helm.Amaru martini shaped cupcakes.

Strong women leaders set the stage, lead by example

Going into her second year of business, Kathie says she’s surrounded by lots of help and role models who make her a better business owner. Some of those role models are Amaru’s previous owners who, Kathie says, are always willing to draw upon the wisdom of experience. But looking ahead, Kathie has another group of inspirational individuals to influence her leadership: other women business owners.
Idaho has a reputation for trailing behind the rest of the country when it comes to progressive action. Yet the state is showing tremendous growth in its number of women-owned businesses, according to a 2019 study by American Express. Women business owners in Idaho are outranking others in the country by earning higher revenues and employing more people.
“I’ve definitely met some other great, amazing women who own their own businesses here in Idaho,” says Kathie. She values the camaraderie of other women leaders, saying, “They’re all very supportive. It’s helpful to talk with them and know their stories.”
Kathie might be the perfect example of the kind of business owner American Express saw in their study. She manages five employees, some of which were her own hires. “It’s kind of exciting,” she says, describing what it feels like to hire new workers. “But it’s definitely scary, too, because you’ve got to make sure that you’re hiring the best fit for your company.”
For Kathie, who understands that good work requires a good crew, fit is everything. “I think the chemistry that we have as a team is the most important in making sure we are working as efficiently and as best we can,” she says.Redaspen

Just in time—time tracking tools for a business looking to grow

If employees are a business’s bread and butter, the business-management tools they use might be the plate, lending support and stability to the team. To help her employees get paid accurately and efficiently, Kathie relies on the combined efforts of QuickBooks Time by QuickBooks and ADP.
Each day, Kathie’s employees use the QuickBooks Time Clock Kiosk to track time. “It makes it a lot easier for them to keep track of hours, and it makes it easier on me,” says Kathie.
Employees also use the QuickBooks Time mobile app. The app’s GPS feature keeps Kathie informed, so she always knows where her teams are when they’re making deliveries. “It helps me make sure my employees can deliver a cake within a reasonable amount of time,” she explains. By following an employee on their route virtually, Kathie can see if drop-offs are taking more or less time than expected. From there, she can make better, more informed plans for the future.
One of the things Kathie loves most about her time tracking software is that it integrates flawlessly with ADP, which she uses for payroll. When asked how long it takes her to run payroll each week, she estimates the whole thing takes less than 15 minutes. “To run payroll, I transfer the hours from QuickBooks Time to ADP. And from there, it’s really easy. The information gets uploaded, and all I have to do is make sure that all the numbers match up.”
And not just for time tracking and payroll, Kathie says she relies on QuickBooks Time to make scheduling a breeze too. “I think it helps out a lot with scheduling and keeping track of the hours my employees work. I’m not sure I’d be able to keep track of the hours without it.” Kathie says her team loves QuickBooks Time’ employee scheduling software too. They can see their work schedules and get alerts when shifts change.

One dream down, a hundred to go

Imagine having your dreams come true at the age of 24. Rather than working your whole life to achieve that first goal, you could devote that time to building on your success. That’s the reality that lies ahead for Kathie Luna, one of Boise’s youngest entrepreneurs and businesswomen.
As she grows, Kathie plans to grow Amaru too, and take the bakery to the next level. What that looks like remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain: Like Amaru, Kathie thrives on community. She loves the Boise scene and the people who make her home great.

“I haven’t had much time to think about where I want to go in the future, because I’m still learning so much about the business,” she says. “I just know, for sure, that I want to grow Amaru and expand it.”
Maybe more partnerships, maybe more locations—for Kathie and Amaru, the future is brighter than ever.