Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Laurie Guest, Owner of Guest Enterprises, located in DeKalb, IL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are a professional speaking and training company primarily focused on helping others attract and keep more customers. My key audiences are those in the service and retail industries, where customer service is a key part of their mission and training.

Tell us about yourself

During a 20-year career as an administrator in healthcare, our organization became a go-to expert in delivering exceptional customer service. With that came invitations to speak to a variety of industries. Eventually, I started my own speaking and training firm in 1996.

My motivation comes from having the unexpected opportunity that allows me to use all of my superpowers to earn a living, like creativity, communication, speaking skills, and relationship-building.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

In my field, there is a lot of competition. From celebrities to industry experts and everyone in between, there are people who are paid to speak professionally. My biggest accomplishment has been running a profitable business for over 26 years.

The award I am most proud of is my 2021 induction into the Speaker Hall of Fame, an honor held by less than 1% of speakers worldwide.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The hardest thing about my business is the unpredictable roller coaster of cash flow. Generally, there are slow periods followed by a rush of business that can be hard to handle. The travel required can be tiring, and the number of days away from home forces me to miss some important many family moments.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. KNOW YOUR NUMBERS! Too many people have a dream and a vision of great success based on gross income. However, they haven’t taken the time to do due diligence on the cost, profit margin, and market viability of their idea.
  2. BE CLEAR ON YOUR TARGET MARKET! You cannot be all things to all people. Get very clear on who you are trying to attract, where those people are most easily found, and what it will take to get them to engage with you.
  3. MAKE TRAINING AND CULTURE A PRIORITY! As soon as possible, decide what you want your company culture to be (even if you are an organization of one!), and from the moment you interview people to add to your team, teach them the culture and the expectations you have of them to respect that approach to business. Train consistently and routinely to get the desired result from your teams. The people you hire will make or break your business.

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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