Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dorothy Enriquez, CEO of The Ellevate Collective, located in Irving, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The Ellevate Collective is a premier learning and leadership development firm. We make leadership accessible, relatable, and transformative. We offer solutions that help today's team members become tomorrow's leaders. We strive to develop leaders who can produce more leaders. We serve as a strategic partner to nonprofits, corporations, and small businesses. We seek to transform the way today's employee experiences the world of work through transformative solutions, activations, coaching, and cohort-style experiences.
Tell us about yourself
During my 15 years in Corporate America, I worked in a variety of industries. I focused on learning and leadership development and saw a gap: many organizations focus on the 'hard skill' of job competence and deem leadership as a soft skill. As a result, it's not a top priority. This led to the creation of The Communication Strategist in December of 2016. I sought to close the leadership gap through transformative interventions.
In 2018, I launched full-time, and in March of 2020, I rebranded and expanded the firm to include 4 Founding Partners and myself along as we build out a collective that combines the best of both worlds when it comes to being part of a cooperative and a trade association. We look forward to transforming the landscape of leadership across Wisconsin, DFW, and the rest of the United States.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
So far, the big things that stand out are being nominated in o the Forbes coaching council, rebranding and expanding the firm from 1 founder to 5, winning the Minority Enterprise Rising Star Award through the Wisconsin Marketplace, and being nominated into the BBB.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I think the biggest struggle was not having a crisis plan. While no one knew the pandemic was coming, I think having a crisis plan in place for hard times or unprecedented circumstances can be a game changer in business…contracts have a force majeure, so we should too. Is there anything you'd go back and do differently? I think the biggest change would have been going back to basics…I started my career as a virtual trainer. I think already having a virtual plan would have allowed me to truly maximize that skill and also monetize the fact that I was good at it and had learned tips and tricks plus best practices 15 years ago.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Make sure you have a pipeline of viable opportunities and that it's at least 4x the amount you'd like to make that year. And also have a strategic plan going into each year. Don't just make a plan and set goals, have the strategy behind it so that you have a full picture of what your business is doing and why so that when deterrents and distractions come, you still know the overarching focus even if goals or plans have to change. And have systems and processes. The sooner you operationalize your business—the better. You'll be so glad you did. Try to think of processes that would allow your business to run without you for a few days.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Getting my book published is finally on the horizon. Be Accountable & Be Fabulous: Growth Looks Good on You Girl! This has been almost a decade in the making, so I am jumping out of my skin. I wrote this book over 7 years ago. And finally…I get to share it with others. And then continuing to establish the details of what it means to be a collective so that, at some point, we can grow our team of expert consultants. I want us to be able to rival and compete with large leadership firms.
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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