Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kirsten Liston, Founder and CEO of Rethink Compliance LLC., located in Westminster, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We support corporate compliance programs at organizations large and small, from Fortune 40 titans to non-profits to high-growth, early-stage start-ups. We provide high-quality online training and communications, create or revise Codes of Conduct and other policies, and also provide a range of consulting support, all aimed at empowering our clients to have a real impact.
Tell us about yourself
I started Rethink Compliance after 15 years in the field. The early players (including my own employer) had matured and grown complacent, and we weren't serving clients as well as we once had. Clients were asking and asking for something new — and I knew we could deliver it. When I couldn't drive positive change where I was, I left and started my own company. From day one, my biggest motivation has been: The work our clients do matters — to people, companies, and society — and I want to help support them.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Rethink was created out of a vision that more was possible — that, for instance, you could create terrific, high-quality compliance training that genuinely spoke to people. We got traction right away — including with some of the biggest companies in the world. My biggest accomplishment has been seeing that vision proven out. Seeing Rethink grow means we got it right.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
What has been both challenging and also hugely fun for me is how much there is to learn. I started the company knowing a lot about the front-facing side of the business — product strategy, product creation, and working with clients to develop and deploy courses and Codes. I'd even done quite a bit of sales, marketing, and public speaking. But I hadn't had the same exposure to the back of the house work — things like finance and accounting, corporate governance, HR and HR law, or actually hiring and managing a sales team. So all those elements took time to figure out and put into place.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find out what your market wants to buy and focus on that.
- Hire people who are hugely talented (and give them a reason to want to work for you).
- Button up the back end — banking, contacts, accounting, governance, and HR. Having these things in order will make your life so much easier.
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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