Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ranya Verson, founder of Performance Solutions Partners, located in Chicago, IL, USA.

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

We support mid-sized operations leaders to make an impact in their businesses in a way that engages the workforce – and makes work better. Our group of lean-experienced learning, performance, and organizational development professionals work strategically with people and processes. We solve immediate issues that are holding back operations. We create ways for supervisors and managers to learn to optimize performance and get results while keeping the cultural mood positive. Our solutions are designed to be both practical and, at the same time, inspire leaders, managers, and the workforce alike.

Our clients are forward-thinking owners and operations and people leaders with vision who want to uplevel their game and include their diverse talent as part of a talent and operations strategy. We offer customized training, performance improvement pathways, coaching, and leadership development.

Tell us about yourself

I began my business while I was still in school at Loyola University, Chicago, where I received my master's degree in adult education. At that time, I was very concerned about work/life balance, and I spoke to a lot of women to get their points of view on the matter. After decades of work and life-changing events, I realize there is no such thing as balance, only the ability to better manage transitions, ups and downs, and relationships to "ride the waves" while preserving inner peace and well-being. At the beginning of my vocational journey, in the 90s, I had the opportunity to do contract work based on a school project, and I just kept going. I didn't know what I didn't know. And for me, that worked.

Each day, I'm motivated by curiosity and expanding my abilities to serve others. Things look very different in the world currently than they did when I was coming up. As an entrepreneur, I've trained myself to embrace possibilities and focus on what I can create. Change equals opportunity. Focusing on solutions that have the potential to make even one person's life easier is what gets me up each day. Meeting a diverse set of people, knowing their story, rising to challenges, learning and growing, and helping others is what animates me.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment to date as an owner is making it through the Great Recession and a pandemic and with the fortitude to uplevel my skills and reinvent my business for the upcoming market and economy. All problems are opportunities, yet it takes consistent practice, energy, and the tenacity to keep showing up. I feel grateful and privileged that I get to keep growing as a human with my work and serve in a way that feels meaningful to me.

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

Not having reliable revenue or great access to the traditional medical system is hard. If you don't have a spouse whose insurance will cover you, this lack of access is a tough pill to swallow. It means that you are 100% responsible for your own well-being. The kind of well-being that comes before your high deductible kicks in. I lived in Ecuador with their "developing" systems and saw how people had to take 100% responsibility for their well-being. It wasn't perfect, but I saw 80-year-olds climb five flights of steep stairs at 3000 meters high, slowly yet consistently. I learned how to be fully responsible for my well-being, and this non-dominate view has served me and my business.

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

Manage the bottom line. My dad bailed me out of credit card debt in my 20s, just out of college. I didn't understand the impact of compounding interest and how debt could impact my spending – and my life. I took that lesson to heart and became financially literate. I've always managed my monthly SG&A expenses, including technology. Stay frugal and intentional about how you invest. Ask yourself, how does this expense increase business value? Include investment in your own well-being as part of that equation and invest accordingly.

Along those lines, I've always thought of my vendors and network as business partners. Supply chain disruption has highlighted why these relationships are so important. For me, business is community. One of the benefits of running a small business is that I get to work with people I like and respect.

Get comfortable with discomfort. Entrepreneurs tend to be renegades, dreamers, and explorers. You have confidence in a craft, a role, or a field, and you say, "Hey, I see this gap in the market that I think I can fill." Or, you fall into the entrepreneurial game, somehow. In either case, if you are used to being top of your game and/or driving hard, get ready to be a beginner. There is a lot to learn, and learning takes time. And, the learning does not go at the same pace as the doing. This is a key distinction. Get rock-solid in your personal habits, well-being routines, and support structures like you are training for a marathon. Discomfort is the norm.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Having your own business is a great adventure. Adventures have many tough spots, and there is inherent risk. Do not model yourself off of people who have had advantages that you may or may not have. Every person's journey is unique. Model yourself off your ability to stick to your values – what your mind/body/heart urges and your progress. As Ram Dass said, "We are all just walking each other home." Enjoy the path.

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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