The SBA works with federal agencies to set small
business contract goals, which helps to give
business owners like Caruso a chance to compete.
Then, by consistently delivering, she established
herself as a leader in the field.
Caruso is passionate about finding and creating
jobs for “groups in our society who are pushed into
minimum paying jobs because of life circumstances
and who have no real hope for finding a sustainable
career that could support a family.” To do so, she
partnered with the state of North Carolina to secure
a workforce development grant to develop a
program for recruiting and training qualifying
individuals to become EEO investigators. So far, 10
people have graduated from the program. “Helping
these people achieve goals that once felt out of reach
has been incredibly gratifying,” she says.
This year, the baby Caruso she was rocking, when
she had her business epiphany more than two decades
ago is a college graduate. Her daughter recently decided
to join her mom and work for the family business.
Caruso hopes her story shows entrepreneurs, especially
women, that anything is possible if you are passionate
enough and willing to put in the hard work. She also
hopes it reminds companies that when you work with a
small business like hers, you are not just empowering
business owners—you are empowering their employees,
and the communities they support.
2018 INC. 5000
“EMPOWERMENT” IS AN important word for Karen
Caruso, founder and CEO of Mind Your Business, a
pre-employment background and equal employment
opportunity (EEO) investigative services company
headquarter in Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Caruso’s mission is to empower clients to make
better hiring decisions. Not only is she concerned
about the choices her clients make, but Caruso
wants to empower her employees and her
community by creating career opportunities for
people who need them the most.
Today, Mind Your Business is a leading provider
of background investigations, EEO investigations,
and drug-screening services. But 22 years ago,
Caruso would not dare dream that she would build
one of the nation’s fastest-growing private
companies. She was a new mother and worked
part-time at a dental o;ce. No one in her family
had every pursued an entrepreneurial vision. She
was taught to value stability. Caruso recalls rocking
her 10-month-old baby as she watched The Oprah
Winfrey Show. “Oprah’s guest was talking about
how we are all drivers of our own trains and
capable of making our own success. I had never
heard that message before, or if I had, I had never
thought it applied to me.”
Two days later, Oprah’s guest was a mother
grieving for her 10-month-old son who had been
murdered by his nanny. The mother had tried to
run a background check, but it was not easy in the
pre-internet days. Caruso knew she could help
families avoid horror stories like the one she was
watching, because she had experience conducting
background checks from working in retail. With
little money, but plenty of drive, she launched Mind
Your Business from her basement.
Mind Your Business still o;ers nanny screening,
but it primarily works with federal, commercial,
and nonprofit clients of all sizes. Enterprises value
the flexibility, speed, and white-glove service
Caruso and her team o;er—benefits that
distinguish them from larger players in their field.
The company’s exponential growth in the federal
space has been particularly critical to its success.
OF EEO OFFICES
IN THE COUNTRY
The Beauty of Small
This founder knows that small businesses do big things for their
customers, their employees, and their communities.
INC. 5000 HONOREE PROFILE / BRANDED CONTEN T