Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in a service-based business but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jennifer Richardson, CEO of Spark Coaching & Consulting, located in Dallas, Texas, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Spark helps its clients create impactful and scalable business strategies and attractive brands that promote awareness, sustainability and revenue generation. Spark provides business and brand development through identity and strategy coaching and consulting. Whether for-profit or non-profit, Spark will help you build strong business and brand foundations by cultivating innovative mindsets, creating innovative solutions and developing innovative practices.
Spark provides services to service-based businesses from solopreneurs and small business owners to non-profit organizations.
After working with Spark, clients have the foundation of a recognizable identity, impactful messaging and can create transformations in their businesses by implementing innovative strategies. The customer experience is very important to Jennifer.
“ I ensure my clients’ business goals are reached and their flame is sparked for growth in the following ways:
- Mission Driver - I coach my clients through the business or brand development process and handle all the heavy lifting.
- Insightful Challenger - I challenge clients and their teams to push past personal preferences to create impactful business models and brand identities.
- Authentic Connector - I connect to the heart of their business and brand ensuring the business goals, identity, messaging and strategy are aligned for greater impact.
- Innovative Strategist - I use innovative skills, tools, resources and your feedback to create strategies that highlight my clients’ business value and brand impact.
- Brand Ambassador - I hold clients accountable for creating, owning and promoting their brand. As the brand cheerleader, I will create brand chants to drive key messaging that increases brand presence and appeal, which establishes credibility and value.”
Tell us about yourself
“I am a small-town girl that grew up in the country with plenty of time to use my imagination to be thoughtful and inventive,” Jennifer said. “As a child, I always challenged the status quo; I was inquisitive and always asked hard questions looking for new solutions. I had no idea at that time that I was naturally an innovator.”
Jennifer has gained 15 years of experience that has developed her skills as an innovator and strategist. These skills allow her to work alongside clients to develop businesses and brands innovatively.
“I am excited to do what I do every day, learning from other subject-matter experts, and trying innovative approaches allows me to help clients establish impactful brands and transformational strategies to reach their business goals. Using my real-world expertise, innovative business tools and approaches, and focused research methodologies, crafting personalized experiences and solutions to create business transformations.
I am also motivated to be an entrepreneur in service of myself. Today, I make it a point to protect my time in my business so I can have time to invest in myself, spend with my friends and family, and be self-reflective. Serving myself allows me the freedom to create the life I want to live while using my God-given talents, abilities and my years of experience. I am motivated to inspire my daughters, who are both entrepreneurs, and other business leaders that they have value, and their impact creates changes in the world around them.”
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
“My biggest accomplishment being Fearless,” Jennifer said. “I was determined not to let fear hold me back or make a prisoner to a certain level of success. When I started my business, the odds were stacked against me. The timing was perfect, I didn’t have a business plan. I didn’t have a clear vision of how to put my services together into a package. I didn’t even have human or financial capital in place to back my business. But this did not stop me, I leaned into my strengths of understanding the birds-eye view and the details of a problem and built a business that is true to who I am.” She added, “Through my belief in the value of what I have to offer and using my innovative skills and tools, I packaged services that are needed to create Sparks in businesses. Meeting a huge need of providing clarity in identity, structure and strategy, I have helped clients create more value and appeal for their business services.
Because of this, I have been able to maintain a steady flow of clients without advertising or marketing my services helping them to create an impactful business.”
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things about being a business owner is juggling all the hats to manage all parts of your business. Knowing how to start, how to maintain, how to grow, and when all of these things should happen can become burdensome to business owners.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The four tips that I would offer to a business owner are:
1. Self-Care- Put self-care before profits. Identify your self-care routine and stick to it. Building a business can be mentally exhausting, and your body needs to be recharged. When you are your best self you will be able to provide your best services to others.
2. Get Clarity- Before you jump into branding your business and offering services, build your business foundations first. “If you focus on getting the foundation right, you will be able to build a business you love that supports not only your professional goals but your personal ones as well,” Jennifer said.
3. Find Support- None of us know it all. That's why we have each other. Jennifer advises entrepreneurs to identify a business coach or mentor who can support them in meeting their business goals. She encourages them to look for entrepreneur programs that may offer a coach as a form of support.
4. Automate Everything- From discovery calls, client onboarding, and client engagement to offboarding, make sure every part of the client experience includes automation. This ensures your business operates in a way that respects your personal goals and is also scalable. Jennifer says, “Automation is transformative.”
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
“I would encourage any business owner to become an avid learner. Look for innovative approaches and create an impactful brand to support your business goals,” she added. You want to be recognized for your look, your unique offerings, and your client experiences. “Focus on creating unmatchable customer journeys that make your customer want to spend more money with you or at least shout your praises to everyone they know.”
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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