What do you love about being an Entrepreneur? I grew up in a family of Entrepreneurs and was introduced into the environment at the age of 10. I quickly realized that fixing and growing companies was in my DNA and I was hooked.
What makes your business unique? I was recruited by Venture Capital, Private Equity and Boards to companies that needed a turnaround and could not be sold due to low valuations. I was in 12 companies and we exited 9 successfully. Due to my hands-on day by day, 24/7 operational experience for 35 years I am uniquely qualified to prepare entrepreneurs for funding. I have a proven 20 step program and the deliverable is a 1-page Executive Summary and an Investor ready pitch deck.
How do you create a company culture? Leadership-Driven Culture. How you, the entrepreneur, and the executive team lead at the outset of your business and through “normal” times sets the tone for your culture that will carry you through times that are trying. As Frances Hesselbein so succinctly put it, “Culture does not change because we desire to change it. Culture changes when the organization is transformed; the culture reflects the realities of people working together every day.”
For the leadership team that truly prioritizes the culture of their organization, there are a few core values that will be emphasized down the management ranks to the front-line employees and a call to have the actions of all personnel align with these values. The top core values include:
- Two-Way Communication – Consistent and ongoing opportunities for the executive team to interact with staff (both speaking and listening) and for all team members to interact with customers (again, both speaking and listening)
- Engagement – Fostering a sense of ownership and a common purpose throughout the organization to energize all employees and get them working toward a uniting vision
- Organization Model – What is the composition of your workforce? Do you require staff to be on premises? Are you dependent on contractors or outsourced partners?
- Wellness and Balance – Setting policies that value employees’ work-life balance, mental and physical health, and general wellness
- Programs and Tools – Enacting programs and implementing tools that allow employees to thrive in personal and professional development, workplace collaboration, idea innovation, mobile and remote work setups, knowledge sharing and more.
Re-thinking how these core values that contribute to the corporate culture can be dealt with is critical.
What is the best advice you ever received? My mother taught me to be independent, fearless, self-reliant, and focused. You need to go after what you want, and No is not an option.
What is the hardest lesson you ever learned? As the only female Executive in technology companies I had to learn to navigate the politics. I learned that I had to go and ask for all the promotions I received over the years. I learned that to break the glass ceiling I had to work as harder and prove myself every single time.
What is an Important trend you are watching? I am following the investments by Venture, Private Equity and Angels during COVID so that my Entrepreneurs can get funding.
What advice would you give an entrepreneur starting out? There are many ups and downs in this journey. Learn to embrace rejection as only 10% of all ideas get funded. Could be 100 no’s and 10 yeses.Imagin e if JK Rawlings had given up after the rejection she received for her Harry Potter Manuscripts. What if, instead of his business taking off when he was 65 years old, after sleeping in his car while traveling and pitching his now famous chicken with the hopes of launching a franchise, Colonel Sanders has given up at “no”? Be relentless and never give up. Embrace the journey.
What are the best things about the DMV ecosystem and how can it improve? DMV is a great place for government funding and for the Bio health and Pharma industry. My suggestion for improvement would be for every large corporation in the area to form a partnership/ membership relationship and invest proportional to their size. This would give this coalition first shot at investing in Entrepreneurs looking for funding. The number one issue for Entrepreneurs in the DMV area is finding sources for seed funding.
Thank you Ines! For more information about Ines and Enterprise Transformation Solutions, click here.