Business Highlight: The Factotum Group

Opposite sides come together!

When Behnaz Mansouri and James (Jim) Johnson reached out for updated professional headshots, we started with who and what the Factotum Group is about to decide the look and feel for their photo session. They have such a great origin story and serve such a vital part of the business and non-profit community, they were chosen to be a business highlight. Much thanks to Behnaz for being interviewed about their story.

What do you do? Tell us what Factotum is about.

The Factotum Group, LLC is a consultant partnership for small businesses who don’t have Human Resources Department on site or who need some help with their management team development, or creating infrastructure for onboarding new employees, and finding pathways for restructuring their current staffing models.

We are also equipped to work with non-profit organizations, on board development and strategic planning, and overall strategies and objectives for non-profit organizations. And we also work with labor unions. Both my partner Jim and I have a background working with labor unions. We worked on organizing and membership development, and collective bargaining.

How did you two decide to start this business together?

We met probably 16 years ago now, and we were on opposites sides of the negotiating table. I was representing the employees in the labor union, and Jim was representing management at King County, and we were negotiating during the 2008 recession. We negotiated a furlough so they wouldn’t take a hit on their ongoing wages, so we argued for not reducing their cost of living increase, instead, do the one time hit, which was the furlough, and really secure their economic interests. It was hard and divisive, but Jim and I were able to work across the table collegially, collaboratively, we still represented our constituents as fiercely as we needed to and we were able to come to an agreement. 

From that we formed a good bond, because we had trust, and built integrity in our relationships. As time passed, we kept representing our sides, and as our professional careers moved on, we’ve maintained our friendship and decided we both have the same goals and interests in how we serve businesses, workers and communities, and we both trust and rely on each other’s professionalism, integrity and also strategic vision and it just seemed like a natural fit to come together. 

It sounds like you serve a broad spectrum of clients. What’s a great way to make good connections for referring the Factotum Group?

Thank you for asking the question, Holli.

I’ll tell you and example of an ideal client we have right now: We are representing a solo business owner who runs a language immersion school. She has several Preschools with about 115,000 employees, she has no HR department, or Director of Human Resources. We have helped her revise her Employee handbook, worked on COVID-19 related issue for workplace safety, and employee protections, also separation and leave during Covid-19, and creating Policies for working from home when possible. That’s a little difficult because of the nature of her business, but she has a couple of employees who could, so we are exploring those opportunities. 

A small business owner who has staff. Employees are a businesses greatest expense and greatest asset. The way that employees are managed, and appreciated, and valued really benefits the businesses bottom line. And the Factotum Group helps employers navigate the nuances of employee and employer relationships so that both parties come out feeling valued and heard and also able to bring their best selves to the success of the business.

To learn more and to see their professionals headshots, head over to view their website: