Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Frank Williamson, Founder of Oaklyn Consulting, located in Chattanooga, TN, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Oaklyn Consulting is a different kind of investment banking advisor for small to mid-sized organizations. We help clients succeed at their most complex transactions: mergers, acquisitions, capital raises, recapitalizations, and joint ventures. We work with entrepreneur-owner-managers, nonprofits, co-ops, professional services firms, and investor-backed companies. We have earned the trust of referral partners — investment bankers, investors, lenders, lawyers, wealth advisors, and other professionals. Working as consultants, not brokers, we help where traditional investment banking advisors cannot. We provide great transaction/strategy/corporate finance guidance to organizations that don't otherwise get great help, which is gratifying work.
Tell us about yourself
We advocate for "business people" when they interact with "money people," and our purpose is to help people who otherwise are not well served by the investment banking industry. Lots of people grapple with the possible need to sell all or a stake of their operations, navigate succession among executives and backers, or negotiate with capital providers. We help them succeed. I was inspired to start the firm after leading a boutique M&A firm and an earlier career managing strategy/transactions/investments for a publicly traded company and serving large corporations as an investment banker. What I saw was that the traditional business relationship between corporate finance advisors and small/mid-sized customers left organizations with real needs lacking good guidance. I've worked on improving those adviser-client business relationships to be able to serve more organizations.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Oaklyn Consulting, as a business itself, strives to do good while creating a good living and great work experience for its staff. This itself is our biggest accomplishment — we serve lots of varied clients, develop a reputation for great work, serve more clients, have fun, and make a living. We do this for as many people as want to be part of our team.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
We would love to serve clients with all our time. But a large portion of our time is spent getting more clients and managing the firm. We also have to make our business work — revenue matches expenses and, over time, exceeds it. The work, attention, and worry about all these things are just as hard for us as it is for others.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- LOVE your clients, love your teammates, love helping them, love getting better at what you do.
- Figure out what good looks like and strive for that all the time
allow yourself to be inspired (by the way, what good looks like can change over time).
- Decide what you're going to be better at than anyone else in the world, then hustle to do this.
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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