Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Brittney Ramsay, CEO of BRITT RADIUS, located in Calgary, AB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a ridiculously talented consulting services firm that helps companies achieve compliance and acceptance for projects that impact people or land. We are lucky to work on some of the most innovative and impactful projects in the energy, transportation, and power space; human betterment projects. Our clients are oil and gas producers, renewable developers, large midstream companies, land developers, and transportation and utility companies. We are lucky to serve diverse clients. If projects need access to land and/or impact people, then our service solutions and team are the leaders to make it happen.
Tell us about yourself
My Dad Ray started our company in 1986, and my sister Breanne and I grew up immersed within it. We learned about it over the dinner table, spent many hours in the back of the truck going to visit landowners, and worked in the office during our summers off from university. Once I graduated, I wanted to take some of the things I learned in school to BRITT. After permanently joining the team, I fell in love with what we could accomplish for our clients and projects, and I loved working alongside and learning from such an accomplished mentor who just so happened to be my Dad.
A few of years later, my Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and had to retire early and abruptly from the business. I, along with one of my now business partners, Dayna, stepped up and took over running the company with Breanne joining us in ownership in the years following. I became President in my early twenties, way before we were ready. We had to grind it out with so many learning opportunities occurring on the job in the thick of it and dealing with things we had never experienced before. We knew we had to show up every day and give it our best because people were relying on us now.
To be completely transparent, the first few years were really tough. Then we decided to get very real. We put in time to figure out who we wanted to be as leaders and business owners and began paving our own way. We realized, no matter what we did, we could not be my Dad, and we had to figure out our own leadership style, vision, and passion. I am motivated by our people. I love connecting, creating, and building with people. There have been some really really hard years; however, the people make it worth it. Knowing they have your back and you have theirs and being in it together is what keeps me going.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
15 years later, and we are still here. The company is in its 35th year of business, and I could not be more proud. From taking over a business from my father at a young age, being the only women in our industry who own and run a company, to navigating multiple recessions, and an unprecedented pandemic; it was not easy. It was f**king hard. In true BRITT fashion we Make it Happen; we come together and pull through, making some quick and tough decisions, by being nimble and digging deep. Some great external symbols of our resilience and success as a team is reflected in the awards we have won over the past few years including being named a 2021 finalist for the Best Place to Work Award by the CanadianSME National Business Awards.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
People; it's the most beautiful part and the hardest. Numbers, spreadsheets, services - all that can be figured out. It requires focus, diligence, and time but it does not require a ton of heart. Making tough decisions that I know will impact an employee, even when I know it is the best for them and the company, is not an easy feat. Sometimes I have to make the awful decision to part ways with someone, and those decisions hurt my heart the most. Leading people, having them choose to work with you, see your vision, buy into you that is the hardest part because it requires real vulnerability.
I have had to do a ton of self-work, hard self-work, to be a leader. If I expect something from my team, I have to embody it first; I have to show up and do the work first. I can’t hide as a business owner or a leader, at least not if I want to live my best life. I do the work by myself, then ask my team to do the same.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Lead with your heart. Being a real person with real emotions is what inspires people and challenges minds and hearts. I think a successful, impactful business needs heart-led leaders. A conscious business can do more, create more, and impact more than a business that does not have a heart. That starts from the top with the leaders.
- People matter. The human element in our business is vital. We do not sell a product. Our people deliver our service to other people. Trust and being real and transparent matter a lot to our clients, and our team is built on that. They know how to hold each other accountable to be real, do their best, and engage fearlessly to make themselves and the company the best it can be.
- Alignment. I had to learn the hard way that I need to be in alignment with who I am to achieve what I want to achieve. The signals I am putting out into the world are what I will attract to me. I need to have my beacons on and pointed in the right direction. When shit hits the fan, which it always does at some point, the first place I look is myself. Am I in alignment? Am I leading from the heart? Am I making the best decisions for the company that are aligned with what we need to do/achieve/be? It takes work and time to be in alignment. For me, that includes daily rituals, stress management practices, and creating space to feel in and listen to myself.
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.
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