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Archive for the ‘Entrepreneur’ Category

Nancy Boucher, Founder of Elegant Impressions Gifts |Collaborative Leader in Business Analysis & Resource Planning (Boston, MA)

 

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

 

http://linkedin.com/in/nancy-boucher-32697874

 

 

BSO:  Tell us about the inception of your business, Elegant Impressions Gifts.

NB:
When I started my gift basket business (15 years ago), I had twin toddlers at home.
I left a successful career in Merchandising for an apparel company to take care of my infant twins.  That was a full-time job in itself, but I yearned for something to satisfy my creative and analytical instincts at the same time.  I considered various ideas that would allow me to run a business from home on my own schedule, so I could balance the needs of the business and those of my children.  A gift basket business was the perfect solution.
BSO: What was your typical day when you ran your business while your twins (now teenagers !) were toddlers ? 
NB:
When I ran my business while raising my twins, no two days were the same
Some days I would create new designs, order inventory, work on my website, fulfill orders, and a myriad of other things, typically while the children napped or after they went to bed at night.  I was fortunate to have my parents nearby, and they would often help with the kids if I had a lot of work to do on a particular day.
BSO: What are your ‘can’t live without’ apps?
NB:
I used MS Excel for countless purposes in my business.
 In my current role as Purchasing Director for the Carpionato Group, I use Optimum Control to manage our inventory.
I’ve used several other inventory management systems in restaurant settings, and I find this program is the best of the bunch.  It is very flexible, allowing me to analyze data in numerous ways, and it is set up very logically.  It was easy to learn and is efficient to manage the database.
BSO: What’s the best advice you’ve received as an entrepreneur?
NB:
The best advice I’ve received in my business life, not necessarily when I ran my business, is to not give away my power.
There are several books written on this topic, but all have essentially the same message: do not allow others to get into your head and affect your thinking in a negative way.
By doing so, you are giving away your power.
BSO: What was your strategy for building awareness of your business ?
NB:
The best thing I did to build awareness of my business was to form a chapter of Business Network International (BNI).  It took a couple of years of hard work to get the new chapter off the ground, but it paid off.  We built a coalition of like-minded business owners who helped each other grow their businesses through networking and referrals.
 I got a lot of business through this group, and I gave a lot as well.
Additionally, I built friendships that will last a lifetime.
BSO: What are your proudest achievements ?
NB:
Professionally, I’m proud to have been promoted to Director of Merchandising and Planning at the age of 26.  I ran a successful department of talented individuals, and we accomplished great things with limited tools available.  For example, we had no enterprise planning system, so I built a system from scratch in Excel, modeling a planning and allocation system I had used at a prior company.  We used this custom solution for years, very successfully.
Personally, I’m most proud of my children, who have grown into smart, caring, successful teenagers.
I’m also proud of the things I achieved while I was raising my children: I ran a successful business, started a chapter of BNI, returned to college to earn a second degree,   and ran a large school fundraiser for 7 consecutive years.
BSO: What are you currently reading ?
NB:
Getting Past No: Negotiating with Difficult People by William Ury
BSO: What are your most rewarding charitable involvements ?
NB:
My father-in-law died from ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).
For five years after he passed, our family ran annual golf tournaments to raise money for ALS research.  It was a lot of work to put together a successful tournament year after year, but we always did, and we raised over $60,000.
BSO: Who has influenced you the most ?
NB:
I had a female boss many years ago when I first got into the apparel industry.  She was brilliant – she had such a mathematical mind, and she was really strong with computer systems.  She recognized my potential and took me under her wing. I learned so much from her, and she promoted me through the ranks as she progressed as well.  I have kept her in mind all these years, and use her example in whatever role I may be in at the time.
BSO: What’s your advice for starting a business ?
NB:
▪️Do you research.
▪️Have a plan.
▪️What are the realistic costs to get started?
▪️What is a realistic sales forecast?
▪️Assume your expenses will be higher than you think, and income lower than you think.
If you are prepared for that scenario, you will buy yourself time to get your business cranking.

Quentin Allums, TEDx Speaker |CEO, Urban Misfit Ventures | Video Storytelling (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

 

Quentin Allums is a speaker, community builder, as well as the CEO of Urban Misfit Ventures, a fast growing startup based out of Milwaukee (www.urbanmisfitventures.com). He has amassed over 10 million views on LinkedIn content and was one of the first video creators on the platform. He’s spoken at events such as VidCon, TEDx, and is an upcoming speaking at Inbound 2019.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

 

BSO: Tell us about the inception of your business.

QA:

I was at a point in my entrepreneurial career where I finally found something that was working after failing so many times before.

I had just gone into a large organization to do a training on personal branding for their executives and I had a handful of retainer clients. But I had an idea for another company. Something that excited me. Because I was tired of doing “work”. I wanted to have fun. I wanted to impact people. And do it alongside people that I cared about.

It’s kind of a crazy story honestly, but it goes back to college.

Izzy was one of my first friends in college. He was the reason I got into marketing in the first place. I remember there was an internship, that I really wanted, but was WAY underqualified for. I applied and didn’t hear anything back. Izzy went to a networking event and ran into a person that would later be my boss. Izzy went to bat for me. And I got an email to meet the next day.

I got the job.

Izzy also introduced me to a guy that was crushing it on Instagram, Optic.Legacy

Six years later,  I met him. His name is Brema, and we met through a group that was trying to do something similar (at least at the time that we started) as my company now. They ended up kicking myself and Brema out of the group for creative differences. I hired Brema to shoot video for that personal branding training that I had mentioned above. I loved his work.

And Eric, I met through Twitter. I reached out to get coffee because he was in Milwaukee and did great work. We talked about everything and it blew my mind that this guy didn’t see the talent and potential that I saw in him almost immediately. I pushed him to jump on LinkedIn. And at the time I had convinced a lot of people to do so (and most of them quit). Eric created for 90 days straight. Which impressed me. We started a YouTube channel together. That wasn’t enough so I asked him to start a company. This company.

We hired Brema to do our inital photo shoot. He liked what we were doing so he asked to join. And then Izzy, my old college roommate, was transitioning from a previous role as Director of Corporate Sponsorships. He joined.

The company has morphed and pivoted but that was our inception. And it’s grown faster than any of us ever expected.

BSO: There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Share with us your a.m. to p.m.

QA:

I’m typically up by 5am. I work best in the morning and late in the evenings. I listen to an e-book or my meditation app on my walk into the office. My dog is usually always with me as well.

I like to work alone for the first few hours of my day, so that’s usually in the office or just at my place. I usually focus on my major task of the day during this time.

We have a daily team meeting every morning at 10am. From there all structure goes out of the door for me. Meetings, calls, content, strategy, hires, emails, putting out a fire, more meetings, meeting with our business coach, client meetings when I am needed, etc. I lift every other day at 2pm as well. And my evenings, I am either with my girlfriend, at an event, speaking, or doing research on the e-sports industry (or just playing video games).

BSO: What are your ‘can’t live without’ software applications?

QA:

Google Calendar is all I need. To-Do-ist is also pretty rad. And my personal assistant. I would be lost without my personal assistant haha.

BSO: What was the best advice you received when you started your business ?

QA:

You don’t have a business until you sell something.

 

BSO: What has been your strategy for building awareness of your business ?

QA:

    1. Building a community.
    2. Bringing constant value
    3. Crafting a story that is about our followers and the lifestyle. It’s not about us.

BSO: What are your proudest achievements, professional & personal ?

QA:

Honestly, I feel like I am just getting started. I still have so much that I want to accomplish. It still shocks me every day that we employ people. We have changed lives and I will never take that for granted.

I’m proud of how far I’ve come. TEDx was awesome. VidCon was awesome. I’m excited to speak at Inbound 2019 in a month. I love the impact that we’ve been able to have on our clients.

BSO: What are you currently reading ?

QA:

    1. The Strategies of War
    2. This Is Not a T-Shirt: A Brand, a Culture, a Community–a Life in Streetwear

 

BSO: What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

QA:

The community that we are building. Honestly, it is just the beginning but seeing people achieve their dreams is more fullfilling that achieving my own sometimes.

 

BSO: Who has influenced your career the most? 

    1. My friend Kendrick, who is the reason that I got into video. He also helped me out a ton when I launched my first venture.
    2. Izzy for pushing me towards marketing & showing me that age is just a number.
    3. Brittany Krystle has impacted me a lot when it comes to my personal branding ideology. She also is a main reason why I continued to speak after performing poorly.
    4. My mother.
    5. Kobe Bryant. For showing me that it’s okay to be “competitive”. And that you need to lean into who you are, it doesn’t matter what works for other people.
    6. Sophia Amoruso for showing me that being different is better than being better.
    7. Jason Silva, who is by far my biggest content inspiration.
    8. Jackie Hermes, who is now a client. But she was the second boss that I had in the marketing field. She taught me a lot. She still teaches me a lot and I hope I do as well in return.

 

BSO: What is your advice for starting a business?

QA:

Don’t listen (too much) to people giving advice.

Find what works for you.

You could read a million books and listen to a million podcasts. But at the end of the day you have to DO something.

Test. Try. Fail. Find something that works and lean into it. Again, you don’t have a business until you sell something. Go sell.

Dr. Ruchi Dass, Founder of HealthCursor Consulting Group |Serial Entrepreneur|Digital Health Expert

Dr. Ruchi Dass’s Biography 

(See BSO’s  Interview with Dr. Dass 👇👇👇)

Dr. Ruchi Dass

Dr. Ruchi Dass is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder of the HealthCursor Consulting Group.

She is regarded as one of the leading global innovators in the field of Digital Health. She has spearheaded development and rollout of Innovative healthcare programs across the world since 2005 using technology. Her work and recognition includes frugal innovation in healthcare, bringing innovations mainstream, maintain a continuum of care and facilitate coordinated care population health, build healthcare models that provide quality, cost-effectiveness, and timeliness of care.

Dr. Dass excels at conceptualizing innovative and relevant healthcare products and services, especially for emerging markets, and directing development through commercialization, roll‐out and on‐going product performance enhancement. Through her esteemed clients and partners, her efforts have also made to the PMNCH Forum of Healthworkers @ WHO, GSMA’s Best mHealth Awards jury in Barcelona, IPIHD Top innovators list with World Economic Forum and UN’s Millennium development goals expert committee volunteers as well.

In Addition to her work in Healthcare, Dr. Dass runs two charities named “ShantiKaustubh” and “Ananya” that are based on Girl Education and Preventive Healthcare. Her new venture Idealabslive incubates early stage companies working with technology, telemedicine and community health programs across the globe.

Dr. Dass was recognized by the Honorable President of India, Dr. Pranab Mukherjee and Noble Laureate Dr. Aaron Ciechanover as they unveiled her book on “Innovations in Healthcare” that talked about “Frugal Innovation” in Healthcare industry in India.

Dr. Dass got voted as one of the Most Influential Women in Health IT in the world by FierceHealth and Top 10 Impactful Tech Leaders 2013 by InformationWeek. Her many innovations have received international recognition most notably by the ASHOKA, INTEROP, IPIHD (World Economic Forum), Economic Times, GBCHealth Business Action on Health Awards and TED. She was also a member of the HIMMS Innovation community, Las Vegas (2012-2013)

Dr. Ruchi Dass holds a medical degree and has completed Postgraduate programs at Georgia Institute of Technology (Health Informatics), USA; Duke Fuqua School of Business (Healthcare Entrepreneurship), USA and is currenty pursuing her MBA from the London Business School.

 

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

 

BSO: Since our interview years ago, please share with us ways in which you’ve 1) challenged yourself and 2) grown, personally AND professionally.

RD:

First of all, Thank you Edith for giving me the opportunity to talk to you. There is so much we can do with our lives and there are so many possibilities. We know that we have the potential but we don’t do much as we have achieved quite a lot already. When we don’t do something for a long time that is challenging, requires discipline, commitment and serious efforts we develop inside us a memory of being complacent, weak and tired. And hence, even after having made a successful business when I would think of another start-ups, the same thought would occur to me.

I decided to challenge myself. 14 years in business, I decided to go for an MBA with London Business School. It wasn’t easy to be a student again (smiles). This year, I launched Digital IdeaLabs-live for incubating and mentoring exciting health technology start-ups and am also working on Prodentine a dental health technology aggregator. Constantly challenging myself brings out the best in me, it gives me a very strong “can-do” memory as well that helps in excruciating circumstances to sail through. If you don’t have a memory like that- you can’t do it.

In my personal life, in addition to putting on some healthy weight, I have started working on my book, joined GWI (Graduate Women International) as they are doing amazing work empowering women and girls with lifelong education and adopted two lovely baby elephants from the Sheldrick wildlife trust.

 

BSO: With what you’ve learned about yourself and all that you’ve achieved, what are 3 pieces of advice you’d give your younger self ?

RD:

Good question. I remember how making more money was important in the beginning and then growing and staying relevant. When I look back I realised that I neglected my long term goals for my short term wins. Like doing work that is not your core area of focus or interest or take up a lot on your plate etc. It is good to be disciplined and vocal about what you don’t want to take up as a project as it will not help you.

I always believed in my team and team work. Most of my team members are with me for over 10 years and I value them. However, in the pursuit of delivering best on quality I used to take up most of the work on my plate and didn’t do well on delivering through others.

And the third one is “me time”. Most of working women like me take “family time” as “me time”. Me time doesn’t mean holiday with family or friends. “Me time” is about you and your spiritual self. If you wish to stay happy which is pretty hard in a stressful work life like ours, you have to make more time for “me time”. It is important because when you live a life that you truly are, it gives you mindfulness, happiness and peace.

 

BSO: That never ending ‘balance’ question (wellness, career and family). What’s your typical day look like ? Or share with us a sample of 2 days. 

RD:

I wake up at 6.30 am in the morning and then exercise for an hour. I take light breakfast usually healthy smoothies and leave home to reach office by 8.30 am. I start my work by reading notes that I made before leaving work the previous evening and refer my calendar for the meetings scheduled.

I have lunch at 1.30 pm and I go for a stroll after that for 30 minutes. When that is not possible, I climb stairs. In Dubai, during prayer breaks, I get a chance to meditate as well which is perfect.

I leave work by 5pm and head home to cook. My husband and myself love to cook together. I spend family time by chatting, talking a bit about our extended family, my parents, his family and work. We play scrabble when there is not much to talk about.

Around 7pm, we pray and then go for a stroll. Dinner is served around 8.30pm. On weekends, dinner is 9.30pm as we welcome friends for get together or go outside to eat. I go to sleep around 10.30pm and usually read a book to bed.

 

BSO: To function at our highest level and to continue tapping into our creativity, Weekends should be restorative, physically and mentally. What does yours look like ?

RD:

I love to engage in some fun activities on the weekend and laying around on the beach reading a book always seems a possibility. I go for a swim in the morning and breakfast is always heavy on the weekend. We generally skip lunch for salads and small snacks and finish some household chores.

My husband and myself are not much into television except when Cricket is telecasted so we have mastered the art of doing nothing- no calls, no TV and no shopping. Whenever any of us has come back from a work related travel, we do indulge in spa or foot reflexology to relax. It may sound boring but going through old photo albums and smugmug is our favourite pastime.

 

BSO: Please share with us what we can look forward to in terms of projects you are working on or your next exciting venture. 

RD:

My current engagements are inter-related.

With IdeaLabs Live, I wish to engage with women business owners and provide them with the mentorship and guidance that is required to succeed. IdeaLabs as a platform is open for all to apply.

However, as a member of women in business club @ LBS, I promised to work for budding women entrepreneurs and connect them to impressive women business leaders. I am working with several development and finance organisations to identify best technology innovations in the industry and provide them with opportunities to pilot and gain commercial success across the globe. I am blessed with a very intelligent and supportive class at London business school. I am learning a lot and getting to network with the best. I have some ambitious plans for 2020 but for now, I am happy to be yet again in a transformative stage.

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