Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with LaKenya Kopf, Founder of Kopf Consulting | Virtual Tech Manager, located in Andover, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At Kopf Consulting, we provide technical support for those frustrating programs that help the customers of small business move through the Customer Value Journey. From websites that house their blogs to squeeze pages for opt-ins to client relationship management systems that manage their pipeline to email marketing systems that deliver their message, we are here to build, guide, and support. The beauty of our services is that our clientele is vast and wide. No matter where a business is located in the world or who that business serves, the basic tech is relatively the same when building an online presence for solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, mompreneurs, small businesses, partnerships, or corporations. We have helped coaches, accountants, therapists, doctors, trainers, authors, celebrities, and everything in between. As long as you have a website, CRM, or Email Marketing System - you are our customer.
Tell us about yourself
The origin story of my entrepreneurial journey is becoming more common in the military world. As a military spouse, we were constantly PCSing every three years. While most companies state they are open to hiring military spouses, most frown upon training new employees with the knowledge they will lose them when new (military) orders come through. I needed something that could move with me - whether we were stateside or overseas. It initially started as a side hustle; however, as we welcomed children into our family - I enjoyed the flexibility of owning my own business. I was able to be present as a mother for my children while still working and contributing to the growth of my business. As my children have gotten older, I have the pleasure of demonstrating hard work as well as being in the position to give back. When my youngest son starts telling me business ideas because he "wants to own a business like Mommy" one day, there is no greater drive than that.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
While I do not know if my answer will be different than most, my biggest accomplishment has nothing to do with my level of success, revenue goals, or name recognition. My biggest accomplishment is to be able to achieve the social responsibility I believe every business should carry. While being financially stable with an eye-popping revenue margin is great - being able to take that extra and donate it to charities, provide pro bono work, and volunteer in my community means even more. As for an accomplishment that would be more suited for the entrepreneur world, being internationally known and recommended has been a wonderful achievement. I have the pleasure of serving businesses all over the world, and while that may seem like a small feat for some, it was something that was unimaginable for me.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The ability to walk away has been one of the hardest things to do as a business owner. There is always something to do - more products, more services, more engagement, just more. With the recent entrepreneur wave, the market has become even more saturated, so attempting to stand out above the rest has become virtually impossible. Along with that, keeping up with my online presence has also become a heavy weight on my shoulders. I work full-time for my clients. This means there is very little time to appease the latest social media algorithm, write blogs, create newsletters, and/or brainstorm on different methods to grow my business. I want to make sure my business is always positioned for prospects and growth; however, I am so busy growing everyone else - I find I have the tendency to leave the needs of my business behind.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The top tip I would tell anyone starting out is to set boundaries at the beginning. Many people who are just starting out are so desperate to get clients that they agree to anything and everything to lock someone in. The issue is they find out how quickly someone will take advantage of the situation. Entrepreneurship is a 24/7 business. Nights, holidays, and weekends are fair game. Without setting up stipulations and guidelines to what you will and won't do (i.e., communicate via text, work on Sundays, be on call, etc.) - you will fall victim to your client's expectations.
The next tip: Know your "why" before you get started, as it will be the driving force to your success. Through the years, I have witnessed entrepreneurs come and go. Many were left behind due to their reasons for starting in the first place (need to make rent quickly, the boss made them angry, so they quit, working from home just seemed easier, etc.). They failed to realize that a successful business takes time, effort, commitment, patience, and drive. This is fueled by knowing your "why," your reason to keep searching for the light at the end of the tunnel when every part of your body tells you to turn back, that it isn't worth it. Your "why" is what helps you navigate rejections, pivot to new ideas, work 80+ hours for the satisfaction of not working for someone else, and most of all - it helps you ignore the nay-sayers who believe you are wasting your time by holding on to your "why," success is inevitable.
My last tip - there is no such thing as "set it and forget it" when it comes to the tools for your business. Websites, email marketing lists, and CRM databases require their own set of maintenance tasks to ensure they are optimized, protected, and functioning properly. As businesses grow, they shift their focus away from these items in favor of clients, products, and services that are generating revenue - leaving websites susceptible to hacks due to lapsed patches, a decrease in email deliverability due to an aged list, or an increase of unqualified leads clogging up their CRM. While easily forgotten, the restoration of a hacked website, blocked or blacklisted IP, or flagged CRM isn't worth the headache or time, energy, and money it takes to resolve the issue. Find the time to maintain these systems, even if it is just once a month. Your bottom line will thank you.
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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