Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Craig Apatov, Managing Partner of Ascension Growth & Innovation Strategies, located in Atlanta, GA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a 20-year-old, Atlanta-based management consulting company. We help midsized companies accelerate their top-line growth and improve their overall go-to-market execution approach. Our clients are located around the world in specific industries, including healthcare, technology, financial services, consumer products, business services, and industrial manufacturing.
Our firm has 50 associates with significant capabilities in four specific growth areas defined as:
- Analytics -- big in-depth data and financial analysis.
- Insight Mining -- primary and secondary market research.
- Marketing -- high-level positioning/messaging strategy + downstream programming.
- Sales Enablement -- consultative sales training + process management.
Tell us about yourself
I spent 25 years in strategic marketing and business development roles for some of the largest corporations in the world, including ConAgra Foods, Disney, GM, Mattel Toys, Time Warner, and Citigroup. I was a three-time Chief Marketing Officer before starting Ascension Growth & Innovation Strategies in 2003. I enjoy helping senior management in midsized companies and divisions of multi-national conglomerates accelerate their organic growth using best practice marketing and sales processes.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think I am most proud of two things as a business owner:
- Generating over $25 million in consulting revenue for our firm since inception.
- Developed several young associates who've moved on to exciting roles in larger firms.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest things about moving from a full-time executive role to an entrepreneurial for me are:
- Not knowing exactly where I will make my next $ - not knowing if we will find new clients.
- Lack of support structure that comes from well-known companies (title, benefits, etc.).
- Lack of built-in social interactions - limited # of associates to interact with in the office daily.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be prepared for the uncertainty that comes with entrepreneurship.
- Be sure you are leveraging what you do best to grow your own business.
- Be willing to take chances - experiment, invest in new things to grow your company, etc.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.