Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Meighan Newhouse, CEO and Co-Founder of Inspirant Group, located in Chicagoland, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm CEO and Co-founder of Inspirant Group, a management consulting firm based in the Chicagoland area of Illinois. Our customers are Fortune 500 companies in the healthcare, financial services, legal, manufacturing, and energy sectors.
Tell us about yourself
Growing up as the daughter of a single mom who grew up in poverty, my entrepreneurial journey proves how intelligence, perseverance, and believing in yourself can lead to a fulfilling career. As a kid, I was always quirky and a bit different. Yet, I always felt satisfied with who I was. I liked myself and enjoyed my own company. I still do! I'm a true extrovert, and I attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a Master of Education (MEd) in Instructional Design and Training. People find me approachable and easy to talk to, and while in school, I worked in the Office for Student Conflict Resolution and was a member of the Delta Gamma sorority.
As I got older and went through different life stages, I took the time to go deeper and figure myself out. I believe that this is the key to career success - knowing who you are, what makes you happy, and finding that thing that feels like fun instead of "work," which leads to a career that's fulfilling. The "Figuring Yourself Out" process is a lifelong one. In fact, I like to think of every day as an exercise in self-improvement, as I strive to be a better person than I was the day before. If you've figured yourself out, you'll be a stronger, more confident leader who people want to work for and give their very best. What motivates me daily are my family, maintaining my mental health and well-being, and leading our highly innovative and enthusiastic team.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
One of my biggest accomplishments as a business owner is our people-first culture. In an era ushering in more digitization and automation, I believe that humans are any organization's greatest asset. After observing many people close to me dreading going to work and loathing their jobs, I have focused my career on helping people reach their full potential in life, both in the work they do and beyond. My partners and I have a sense of personal responsibility to each of our people to provide them with the resources they need to be fulfilled and excel in their work.
We have been successful in acting in accordance with our core values: Have Integrity, Care About the Greater Good, and Get It Done. It is my job to lead by example and ensure that Inspirant Group is a model company and a leader in ethics, kindness, and creativity. Inspirant Group is employee-certified as a Great Place To Work and has been recognized by BuiltIn Chicago 2022 Best Remote-First Places to Work and 22 Startups to Watch in 2022.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There are times when you must make hard decisions in order to protect the bottom line. This may include the termination of an individual team member or a workforce reduction. If you're a caring and compassionate leader, this is hard, but there are ways to approach such situations with respect and grace.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find the right partners who share the same business philosophy and approach to business management as you. They should be financially stable and possess complementary skill sets. Communication is also key; your partners should have a similar communication style, including an approach to problem-solving.
- Make people your number one priority and selectively hire individuals who share a passion for the business and who are interested in continuing to learn and grow with you. I have found that hiring individuals with overlapping skills provide a safety net - this is especially true during unpredictable times.
- Encourage and Embrace Experimentation: I believe that encouraging and embracing experimentation sets your organization up for a constant flow of new and innovative solutions. This is necessary for maintaining a competitive advantage.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I'd like to share two of my favorite life lesson quotes "Success is liking who you are, liking what you do, and liking how you do it." (Maya Angelou) and "There is no such thing as work-life balance. It is all life. The balance has to be within you." (Sadhguru).
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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