Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kyle Golding, Founder of The Golding Group, located in Oklahoma City, OK, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The Golding Group Strategic Growth Partners are professional consultants focused on strategic planning, business process management, and executive leadership. For over a decade, The Golding Group has been building, improving, and scaling businesses from the inside out. We start with people, then process. Profitability comes from doing things the right way for the right reasons. We provide expertise in all phases of operation, specific to each client's needs. Our creative, top-to-bottom approach makes working with The Golding Group a completely different experience.
We don't sell pre-packaged, one-size-fits-all systems. Instead, we empower leadership teams with informed decision-making processes and operational protocols. Our experts are not tied to a single concept, technique, or medium for achieving client goals. We take an all-inclusive, fact-based approach to brand, product, and audience development. The Golding Group focuses on creativity, adaptability, and listening to the wants/needs of your target consumer. We help you make decisions that lead to long-term, sustainable success.
Our customers are business owners, decision-makers, and economic development leaders who understand and value the growth process. Start-ups, small businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and corporations benefit from our consulting, coaching, and accountability measures. We make organizations better at what they do by focusing on the two paths to profitability: Effectiveness (more sales) and Efficiency (lower cost).
Tell us about yourself
I started The Golding Group as a side hustle in 2011 when I realized my last "corporate" job was destined to fizzle out the same way every corporate marketing job does. While working in in-house marketing, I always had a boss, manager, or salesperson throw out random requests for marketing like "I need a brochure" or "make the website better" with no real direction or idea of what was needed. Instead, they would blame me for sales not going up (or going down) without any way to explain why (my fault or not) or what could have been done better. I was just meeting deadlines and checking things off my to-do list.
I wanted to use my experience building organizations from the inside out. Providing expertise in all phases of operation, specific to each situation, not the ego of my boss or a "how we have always done it" mentality. I had freelanced before, but it was never sustainable. This time, I partnered with other professionals with similar but different backgrounds to cover an extensive business development area of expertise between us. By utilizing a decidedly different business model, we were automatically disruptive the moment we went from side hustle to full-time job.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Before the COVID pandemic, this answer would have involved 30+ marketing awards, high-profile media appearances, and an impressive client list. But our perspective has changed a great deal after going through the challenges presented in 2020 and 2021. We're most proud of post-COVID because we kept 100% of our clients in business through the pandemic while also partnering with local and regional economic development organizations to provide emergency support to small businesses in distress. Our COVID response of free/low-cost consultations, proactive engagement with our clients, community activism, and pandemic-specific advice podcast/video series has been credited for many small businesses making the changes necessary to survive shutdowns, restrictions, and limitations to standard operations. As we celebrate our tenth year in business, we hold these successes to be the most important and impactful.
On a personal note, I was elected as Chairman of the Oklahoma Venture Forum for the 2019-2020 session. Founded in 1987, OVF is Oklahoma's preeminent organization fostering innovation and economic growth. Unfortunately, COVID-19 impacted the second half of the session, but we adjusted to virtual meetings and other practices to keep our members safe and healthy. I'm proud to have led this essential economic organization during a pivotal time.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The sacrifice of time, comfort, and autonomy. Many people work long, hard hours. But business owners like me never actually stop working. My business, clients, and the "big picture" are always on my mind. It's a part of who I am. Every aspect of my life is affected by how well my business performs (or not). When things are going well, I make sure we're prepared for the future. When things aren't going to plan, I put extra effort into finding answers and making adjustments. My name is on the letterhead, so I have to be the first one in and the last one out.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- There is no perfect time to start, so get started. Experience is the greatest teacher so start learning by launching.
- You must have a deep, authentic passion for what you're doing. You cannot make the commitment necessary to be successful without a connection to your work. Find that passion, then figure out how to build a profitable business around it.
- Content is King, Attention is Queen and Conversion is the Accountant. A business must be profitable. Focus on attracting the right audience for the right reasons by offering real value plus a little extra. This creates the opportunity for more than a single sale but a business relationship with the potential for sustainable success. The numbers will work in your favor if you do more than just meet expectations but go beyond.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I love being an entrepreneur and business owner, but not everyone is built for this life. TV, movies, and social media only show the highs and practically never honestly discuss how hard it is to develop and maintain a business. Even worse if you own more than one. Great rewards only come from risk, effort, and dedication. Business ownership is not for the faint of heart.
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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